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'Indie Game: The Movie' filmmakers resolve dispute by revising end credits

"I wanted to bring attention to the lies in the movie, not start a lot of drama" Shawn McGrath

Phil Fish & anonymous business partner
Phil Fish & anonymous business partner

The filmmakers behind Indie Game: The Movie updated its credits sequence to fix a mistake in a subject's representation, according to NeoGAF.

Indie Game saw a digital release on the web, iTunes, and Steam on June 12th, and the film's original end credits contained a note saying that Fez creator Phil Fish's ex-business partner "asked not to participate in this film." Yesterday, June 14th, the film's Steam application received an update that delivered a revised credits sequence, which now says that the ex-partner "was not asked to participate in this movie." It's a subtle but important distinction. (We verified the change by capturing the following stills directly from copies of the film downloaded on June 13th and June 15th, respectively.)

June 13th (original release version):

June 15th (revised version):

Fish's struggle to bring Fez to PAX East 2011 is a major story in the film, and one particular interview with Fish, conducted in a Boston hotel the day before the convention, portrays his former business partner at Fez studio Polytron in a negative light. Fish was in despair, furious that the ex-partner was apparently dragging his feet on paperwork that, if left unsigned, would have prevented Fish from showing the game at PAX.

However, Indie Game doesn't give any screen time to the ex-partner's side of the story; in fact, he only appears in the film alongside Fish as a blurred-out face in a photograph, as shown above. The former partner is believed to be Jason DeGroot, a musician who contributed to Fez, Dyad, and Sound Shapes. Dyad's creator, Shawn McGrath, declined to confirm the ex-partner's identity, but told Polygon in an email that Dyad was the "other game" Fish mentions in the film as the reason for DeGroot's attendance at PAX East last year.

According to Destructoid, DeGroot had discussions with the filmmakers, James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot, on how to address his lack of participation in the film. They eventually agreed that he would not be identified, and that the credits would contain a note saying he was not asked to participate. It's understandable, then, that he would be unhappy upon seeing the incorrectly worded note in the original version of the credits.

McGrath is a close personal friend of DeGroot's, and he felt he needed to defend him. McGrath took to Twitter two nights ago, calling the filmmakers "exploitive [sic] liars" for their sympathetic portrayal of Fish and for the error in the credits. "Its [sic] not ok to present the rambling lies of someone (Fish) as truth with no hint of another side of the story," he wrote. Aware of the potential of bad publicity for Dyad, McGrath had not planned on speaking about this issue until after his game's release, but told Polygon that "there was some bullshit in the movie that basically forced me to talk" — the error in the credits.

"there was some bullshit in the movie that basically forced me to talk"

It remains unclear whether the original wording of the note in the credits was an honest mistake or something more. Swirsky and Pajot have not responded to repeated requests for comment, but Independent Games Festival chairman Brandon Boyer, a friend of the filmmakers, said on NeoGAF that the error was unintentional. "It (the error) was brought to their attention last night, and they've been preparing a new, corrected version," he wrote.

For his part, McGrath is satisfied with the correction. "I wanted to bring attention to the lies in the movie, not start a lot of drama," he said.

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