UK indie developer Cliff Harris is pissed. Harris is the one man team that makes up Positech Games, a prolific developer that has created such indie hits as the Kudos series, the Democracy series, Gratuitous Space Battles and a handful of other games.
Harris got angry at Epic’s Mark Rein, who he claims heckled him and a panel of other indie developers discussing the future of micro-studios. That panel, which feature UK developer Introversion and several other indie developers put forth the notion that smaller studios have an advantage over bigger studios because they create personal relationships with their customers through direct contact.
This didn’t sit well with Mark Rein, who allegedly heckled the panel and argued with those around him. Harris was not pleased, and a day later, took to his blog to wage verbal war against Rein. You can read some colorful excerpts below:
"Mark Rein is a jerk.
Now I suspect this is not groundbreaking news, although it is to me, because I’ve never met him or even seen him before. However, this experience seems to confirm my opinions on Epic and companies like them in general. Now Mark may well look down on humble indies like me. He may well think I’m doing it wrong.
He may laugh when me and Mark discuss the pitiful money our companies make, and giggle at the fact that we reply to gamers on a one-on-one basis… But fuck him. I would rather earn minimum wage making indie strategy games for the PC, as my own boss, with an original game, satisfying a hardcore niche of friendly customers (the one-thousand-true-fans-philosophy), without a publisher telling me what to do, and without having to leave my house to go to work, without having to do ‘crunch time’ (because, dude… its like so macho to work until 3AM and never see your family)… Than I would work at epic for megabucks.
The sheer overwhelming stench of testosterone would probably give me a headcahe, combined with the dizzy excitement of exactly what shade of grey our next game’s space-marine would wear as he kicked alien butt. (I feel bad working on Gratuitous Space Battles for almost 2 years, but it seems like that old ‘wisecracking space marine with big muscles and chisel-jaw’ idea has been stretched out longer than the hundred years war).’
I have absolutely no doubt mark would just naturally assume me feeling like that is jealousy, which, as anyone who knows me personally would testify, is just fucking funny. I really don’t care about Epic, and their games, as they are way way too macho and ‘dude’ for my liking, and don’t have demos, so I just assume they haven’t changed since Unreal Tournament. I try not to comment on games I don’t like, as each to their own tastes etc. The only reason I’m moved to give a damn enough to state my opinion, is that I resent having some triple-a studio jerk come and tell someone whose run a microstudio for thirteen years that he is doing it all wrong. If Mark from introversion suggests I’m doing it wrong, thats cool, he does what I do, and has some serious experience, ditto anyone on that panel, or anyone with long indie experience. And I listen carefully, often over lunch.
But Triple-A studio bosses trying to lecture me on how to communicate better with gamers? Fuck off."