Indie Dev to Epic's Mark Rein: "F**k Off"

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Indie Dev to Epic's Mark Rein: "F**k Off"

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The one man band that runs independent developer Positech Games had a less than favorable encounter with Epic Games' Mark Rein.

Cliff Harris's Positech Games, known for titles such as Gratuitous Space Battles, is as independent as independent videogame studios get. It's based in the UK and made up of him and him alone. According to a post on Harris's blog, Mark Rein of definitely not indie studio Epic Games (of Gears of War fame) took a shot at Harris and other indie studios during the Develop Conference in Brighton, UK, leading Harris to believe he should "Fuck off."

While Harris was on a panel with other indie developers Robin Lacey (Beatnik), Sean Murray (Hello Games) and Mark Morris (Introversion), the topic of personally responding to customers came up. Harris said how he liked that "someone can email you as an indie dev, and you can reply personally back to that potential customer, and hopefully, that way you have converted that guy to buying the game."

Apparently this was followed by "this derisive snort from this guy in the front row, who said something to the effect of 'one guy? who cares, that's a waste of time'. He then started to lecture us on how that's a silly way to do it." This man was Mark Rein, the vice president of Epic Games. Harris says he "got the impression [Mark Rein] was there to laugh at the little guys, or to just inform us how we are all wrong," and that he's a "jerk," but the language got much saltier after that.

Harris wrote:

He may laugh when me and Mark [Morris] 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 headache, combined with the dizzy excitement of exactly what shade of grey our next game's space-marine would wear as he kicked alien butt.

After a few more jabs at how anti-indie Mark Rein is, Harris finished with: "But Triple-A studio bosses trying to lecture me on how to communicate better with gamers? Fuck off." Epic designer and rock star Cliffy B tweeted in Rein's defense with "I've personally seen Mark Rein reply to tons of random people who email him. He blind copies me *constantly*," and "I haven't spoken with Mark today, but I'd wager he thought the comment was silly that only indy devs reply or interact to customers." Rein himself hasn't responded to the indie heckling allegations.

I get the feeling that from a big business point of view, making sales by replying to emails isn't necessarily going to make anyone rich, but it does help a company's image especially when the news spreads that a developer cares about its customers enough to reply. I'm reminded of the situation with Torchlight where Runic Games manually helped a single player get unstuck. Assuming Rein's comments weren't taken the wrong way, he may have been incorrect about the effect a personal response can have on a player base and the willingness it can create for people to purchase a developer's games, especially in the indie sector, even if an immediate sale of one copy doesn't earn a life-changing amount of money.

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Judging from the information here, I probably would have done the same.

Lots of badmouthing in this industry this week

Interesting. I would have also preferred to be an indie developer than into some gaming company.

Well this'll get interesting soon.

Gears 3 might have some red shirts modeled after this guy.

EDIT: Cliffy B responded fairly well, I have to say.

ABout time someone told them to bugger off. Epic makes great games but the success have gone to their heads and now are a bunch of A-Holes.....and the BIGGEST one is Cliffy B with Mark as second.

THey need to start co-operating more with other companies and actually LISTEN to their fanbase.

The facts are, it doesn't matter what the facts are.

A big time developer mocked a little indie developer, so, the inteir world is going to rally behind the little developer and tell the big developer to fuck off.

So right or wrong, Epic better put on it's PR pants and apologize for any 'misunderstanding', even if it was just that - a complete misunderstanding.

Well, judging from the complete and utter piece of crap that Unfinished Tournament 3 is (no! I will not let it go!) I will most certainly side with the Indie developer. Props to him standing up for himself, his business and Indie developers.

Gears of War is shades of brown, not grey. Other than, rock on indie dev!

Is Cliffy B some kinda rapper?

More to the point: yeah, they're indie, which means they do this not for the moneys (I guess they do it for that too, but if that was the only motivation, they would be much better off just joining, say, Epic or some company like that), so they have the right to tell everyone to fuck themselves. /half-sarcasm mode

Ironic Pirate:
Well this'll get interesting soon.

Gears 3 might have some red shirts modeled after this guy.

EDIT: Cliffy B responded fairly well, I have to say.

How'd you know about his response?
OT: Nice move epic, real nice.

I have to admit that having someone personally reply to your problems makes you feel a lot better about them, like they actually give a damn about you, and even if it is just so they look better, at least they try.

Is it just me or is game development becoming a bit to "daytime soap"?

Some of those comments, wow. It sounds like Mark Rein isn't used to speaking to people who don't have anything to lose by talking about how he behaves.

reg42:
Judging from the information here, I probably would have done the same.

I agree, it doesn't even matter how he "supposedly" meant what he said, a "snort and a giggle" makes the intention pretty clear.

Yeah I would tell that guy to fuck off too.

That "Shades of grey" bit was pretty funny. Although as someone said earlier it is just more brown.

Cody211282:
Is it just me or is game development becoming a bit to "daytime soap"?

My thoughts exactly.

Ironic Pirate:
Well this'll get interesting soon.

Gears 3 might have some red shirts modeled after this guy.

EDIT: Cliffy B responded fairly well, I have to say.

mhmm more or less my thoughts heh

hopefully things don't get too messy. don't need anymore scats in the games industry right now

Yay Indie developers.

"Fuck off". That's the sort of straight talking I like.

Also, Epic? Who are those guys? Never heard of them. They can't be very good. Maybe they should take some tips from Taleworlds.

Yes, I've heard of them. Only game I've seen by them is UT3, and that was shit. Why does anyone buy AAA titles any more? I'm not the sort of person who refuses to buy a game if more than three people have heard of it, but all the AAA titles coming out seem to be complete shite.

Maybe the next in the line of three billion identical FPS/ Over The Shoulder games will change that? I think not *snort and giggle*

I am Omega:

Cody211282:
Is it just me or is game development becoming a bit to "daytime soap"?

My thoughts exactly.

Just about every week we hear about what so and so said to whats his face, or developer x bashing on game y, and so on. Honestly I don't care as long as they make good games, the only news I want to hear from them is "wow look at this awesome thing you can do in our new game".

They should make a reality show about this.... it will make millions

EDIT: Also why would you criticize some one who you don't even have to worry about in the market? It doesn't seem right so from the smaller persons point of view I would say fuck off too.

The sheer overwhelming stench of testosterone would probably give me a headache, combined with the dizzy excitement of exactly what shade of grey our next game's space-marine would wear

Man, he actually said that to one of the Gears of War devs? I would consider buying his games just for that O.o

This is what happens when the large company with brainwashed robots encounters a human who thinks for himself lol. I totally agree with Cliff. And am going to break down and grab all the expansions for GSB. We need more people like him in the industry.

They're both assholes.

A big corporate elitist and an indie hipster elitist.

iGiac:
They're both assholes.

A big corporate elitist and an indie hipster elitist.

This made me laugh. Cliff Harris seems to be about as far away from being a hipster as you can get.

To Epic/Mark Rein: You're an idiot.

To Cliff Harris: Good retaliation, but it seems that you're stereotyping some game companies a bit too much. Try to work on that for me, will you?

Am I the only one who's sort of reminded of that ENN sketch, the truly indie developers?

Did someone slip the games industry some bitchade this week?

Though to be honest I can see where the Indi guy is coming from when he talks about being small, speaking for myself, I would much rather work for a small company, earn a decent wage, do what I love then work myself into the ground for the big $$$. How much money does one person really need?

I remember conversations I had with people earning $2-300k a year complaining about tax and how they were looking forward to their bonus, all the time I was thinking "dude... I'd be happy with $50k a year... that's enough for me... what's with all this greed?"

In summary: "GET THAT WEAK ASS SHIT OUTTA HERE!"

I understand that making the BIG $$$ through immensely popular high-end products might make you entitled to think of yourself as the biggest fish in the pond... but deriding (and that's exactly what snorting and giggling constitute) the little indie dev like that? That's just bad form, Mr Rein.
Nicely done, Mr Harris.

Well thats someone who certainly knows what he wants! I can admire him for that

As long as he is happy, doing what he does. Thats great!

Antari:
This is what happens when the large company with brainwashed robots encounters a human who thinks for himself lol.

So true. This guy must be a real dick to go to a panel he has no Interest in, just to criticize someone who's not even competing with him. I'm not sure what he thinks he's achieving, but if he's saying that sending thousands of automated emails to advertise products is better than having a human being directly respond to you, he's more of a dumb fuck than I thought. There is no chance of me Buying Gears of War now.

i'd just like to ask wtf was mark rein doing there in the first place if he was just taking the piss i mean did he go to the panel just to troll or what i mean whats the backstory to it.

As far as I am concerned Cliffy and Mark, and all of Epic can simply drop the PC dev part of thier portfolio... Epic is a console sellout, the PC platform shot them to the lofty heights they attained but the consoles offered them the money... and in Epics case its all about the cash, the money , the dough , the green.

... the bottome line. Its a business, so I add my own ' Fuck off Epic , go design 360 games we PC lot dont want your rubbish '.

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