Indie Game: The Follow-up

After Wednesday’s post on Indie Game: The Movie and the incredible response it got — surprising even me — I’ve decided to write a follow-up post to respond to the main feedback I’ve gotten (most of it through Twitter, although I received a few emails as well). These are not direct questions I was asked, but just a way for me to frame all of the clarifications.

Aren’t you just being vindictive?
Vindictive? I’ve remained quiet about Fez out of respect for the privacy of everyone involved, but after seeing the film, I couldn’t let this one-sided portrayal — which is being seen by tens/hundreds of thousands of viewers — be the only thing out there. I wanted to make a public show of solidarity for my friend, especially since I felt there was nothing being said publicly on this — I later found out that Shawn McGrath (Dyad) has also spoken out, and you can read what he had to say here and here.

Isn’t Phil just telling it like it is, as seen from his perspective?
Yes, absolutely. What I feel is unfair is that he uses a public — and I mean very public — forum like this to disparage someone, and there’s no effort by the filmmakers to try and put things in perspective.

What else could the filmmakers have done?
Whether my friend would or wouldn’t have wanted to participate, they could have easily interviewed dozens of people in the indie dev scene who could have commented on the situation. Many also suggested that since that portion of the film focuses on this one man, there’s no need to look at all angles of the story, since it’s supposed to be subjective. In theory I get that, but unlike the Super Meat Boy guys and their beef with Microsoft — a corporation — the result of this subjective coverage is to have put one person in an extremely bad light, possibly damaging his reputation and ability to work in the industry.

Aren’t you being one-sided too?
Please keep in mind, this was a post written by one person, on his personal blog, about something he felt was done unjustly to one of his friends. That’s how that post should be read. Yes, it’s one-sided, it’s a reaction — a public comment, if you will — to the film I had watched. It was not my intention to write a proper article on this whole situation. I was contacted by one of the major gaming sites about republishing my post, but I preferred it not to be, because I didn’t think it would be appropriate.

Who says you’re right?
I don’t really care if you think my take is the right one or not, my purpose in writing what I did was mainly to bring up the fact that the story behind Fez is much more complex than the way it was portrayed in the film.

So why don’t you tell the whole story?
It’s not my place to air other people’s dirty laundry. My purpose here was just to say that there’s another side to this story.

Shame? Really? Isn’t that a bit childish?
Yes, and it’s the only part of my post that I think was a bit over the top, but I wanted to end things on a note that summed up my feelings on what I felt, emotionally, coming out of watching the movie.

Don’t you think the audience is smart enough to understand there are two sides to this story?
A lot of commenters told me they actually never really had a bad impression about the “business partner,” and that they clearly understood that they were being presented with just one side of the argument. That makes me happy, and relieves some of the concern I had after my viewing.

By Jean Snow

Production Services Manager at Ubisoft Shanghai. Before that, half a life spent in Tokyo.