Video Game Devs, Twitter, and a Lesson in Professionalism

Have you ever heard the saying, “No publicity is bad publicity”? Well, that doesn’t exactly hold up any longer in this day and age. In a sea of anonymous trolls and floods of raging comments, public figures find themselves having to maintain composure in some heated climates. Sometimes it’s hard for mere mortals to maintain steady composure in their personal lives without it leaking into the instantaneous world of social networking. The video game community is no exception, especially with the concentration of highly intelligent and passionate participants who often find themselves lashing out rather cruelly in all of the various forums.

A prime example of this would be the scrutiny of Phil Fish for his most recent online outbursts. Most notably they have led to the cancellation of a highly anticipated sequel to Fez; Fez II. But there is much more to be examined beneath that surface. Although this has been a true hot button topic over the course of this past week, Fish hasn’t been the first to publicly humiliate his professional persona. In the age of public relations and a super sensitive anonymous internet community, one can not be too careful when addressing the public. Calm and collected is key, and those who have not kept their composure under the limelight’s stress have seemed to shoot themselves in the foot; ultimately ending their industry careers.

To analyze some of the detriment that Fish continually brings upon himself, one must simply look back at his first appearance to the public in Indie Game: The Movie. The hit documentary catapulted Fish into indie developer infamy, but from the start he didn’t seem quite ready for the close examination. In the film Fish described his desire to tell every commentator to ‘F-Off’ after they articulated raw displeasure for Fez’s constant delay. So it should be of no surprise that when a GameInformer journalist, most commonly referred to as the Annoyed Gamer, attacked Fish for declining an interview, that Fish naturally took it that extra mile into insanity.

In the now deleted Tweets, the two battled back and forth with profanities, and at one point Fish even invited the journalist to go ahead and kill himself. In the end, Fez II is canceled and those who actually care about the game are losing out, but more interestingly Phil Fish’s 15 minutes of game fame is over.

Adam Orth also found himself in a sticky situation a few months back. Orth took to Twitter to express his distaste for change-resistant Xbox fans. Rumors of an always-online next generation of consoles were circulating and angry DRM threads popped up all over. Orth, knowing what was in the future for the console, took the defensive stance and began to pompously address the situation telling everyone to “Deal with it”. Orth’s tweets teased the would-be-consumers about their narrow views holding them to the limited technology of the last generation. In the process he turned many against the system even before it was official revealed.

Despite the fact that Microsoft’s initial intention for the Xbox One was in fact to be always-online, in a sense, and to enforce harsh DRM policies, Orth was unassumingly forced to step down from his position. His brash comments represented the Microsoft in a harsh light and put even die-hard fans on the defensive against the newer features. In the end, the Xbox One didn’t have a fighting chance, and Orth would need a miracle to break back into this industry.



To be fair, not everyone even within the industry believes these high and polished standards are right or even honorable. Industry celebrity Cliff Bleszinski came out publicly in favor of Phil Fish on July 29, 2013, begging the developer to come back and praising Fish for his honesty. In his open letter Cliff wrote, “The industry needs people like you to speak with their hearts before their brains because I’m tired of hearing the PR approved appropriate response”. However, Cliffy B. is notorious in his own right for sticking his foot in his mouth.

Although some fans find him exciting, like that person on your friends list who blasts all their personal problems, the fact remains that he isn’t always conveying professionalism. Fans deserve to be taken seriously and respected at all times. Yes, even despite the massive amounts of trolls who spout insults like air.

Public relations are so important for anyone looking to be a public figure. Nothing which gets published on the internet seems to ever really disappear, and it’s even worse if the author publishes such on forums the likes of Facebook and Twitter. The need to express yourself is important to any human’s sanity. But when there is a job to do, like any job on the planet, acting like a stubborn child has its consequences. Including the likely possibility of termination.

Cover Image Source: Geekosystem


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Categories: Lists and Editorials, Video Games

Author:Paige Six

Blogger at The Product Manager & Chief Operating Officer over at Another Castle. A Writer & Editor for Ladies of the Roundtable. Contributor to Aggressive Comix, Attack of the Fanboy, and so many more!

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