It's all kicked off at this year's GDC, as Fez creator Phil Fish responded to a question asking for his opinion on modern Japanese games by saying that they "just suck".
The question was put to a panel that included Fish and Braid creator Jonathan Blow, following a screening of Indie game: The Movie. Fish's rather blunt response was "your games just suck", with Blow reportedly agreeing, calling modern Japanese games "joyless husks".
Fish has since come under fire, from the likes of developer and filmmaker Zack Guido, who tweeted a rebuke to Fish: “It's shameful to sit on a panel discussing an inspiring heart-felt film and then arrogantly disrespect someone's culture”.
Fish himself has taken to Twitter to defend himself, saying "I made a statement about modern japanese games, not their whole entire fucking culture. [...] I made a statement about modern japanese games. not the country, not the culture."
It's a statement he also stands by, with the operative word being "modern". "I stand by what i said. most modern japanese games are terrible. you can quote me on that. [...] Me and jon blow went into more details, comparing the first zelda, and the latest one...and citing a few examples of why we don't like most modern japanese games.[...] I like oldschool japanese games. it's the new ones i think are terrible."
Of course, the point is arguably not whether Fish was wrong to say what he said, lord knows this industry is rife with tactless, profanity-filled flippancy, but rather if his arguments had any merit. He's certainly not the first to criticise the current state of development in Japan, with Keiji Inafune having slammed modern Japanese development for regularly for the last few years.
"I look around Tokyo Games Show, and everyone's making awful games," Inafune said at last year's TGS. "Japan is at least five years behind."
At the show a year earlier, Inafune had also said: "Japan is dead."
One wonders what the likes of Platinum, Q-Games, Nintendo, From Software and Grasshopper might have to say about that. [Develop]