Josef Fares

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Josef Fares
Josef Fares, Gamelab 2018 (43100922332).jpg
Fares in June 2018
Born (1977-09-19) 19 September 1977 (age 45)
Beirut, Lebanon
Occupation(s)Film director, screenwriter, actor, video game designer
Years active1996–present
RelativesFares Fares (brother)

Josef Fares (born 19 September 1977) is a Swedish-Lebanese film director and video game designer of Assyrian descent.[1][2] His brother is the actor Fares Fares, who has appeared in many of his films.[3] He is the founder of Hazelight Studios.


Fares in 2013

Josef Fares moved to Sweden when he was 10 years old, fleeing the Lebanese Civil War with his family. Variety declared him one of ten upcoming directors to watch in 2006.[4] The same year he won the Nordic Council Film Prize for his film Zozo.[5] In 2013, he directed his first video game, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. The game was well received by critics. Its focus is on the interaction between two brothers and on their journey to save their father. He then formed his development company named Hazelight Studios, and partnered with publisher Electronic Arts for his next video game, A Way Out, which was released 23 March 2018.[6]

On December 7, 2017, Josef appeared on The Game Awards 2017 and gave a "passionate" speech while on stage with host Geoff Keighley, where he covered many topics including EA's microtransaction controversy with Star Wars Battlefront II, and his game A Way Out; he also spent time to heavily criticize the Oscars due to their dispassionate take on video games, in what became known as his "fuck the Oscars" speech.[7] Because of his speech, he has received international praise among fans and his speech has created a new Internet meme involving mass vandalism of relevant Wikipedia pages, usually to reference the 2003 movie The Room, as many people compared him to the movie's director, Tommy Wiseau.[8][9][10] Fares includes his "fuck the Oscars" speech as an Easter egg in his 2021 game It Takes Two[11] and referenced the speech while accepting the game's Game of the Year Award at The Game Awards 2021[12]

Industry perspective[edit]

In an interview to The Washington Post following It Takes Two's win at The Game Awards 2021, Fares expressed his perspective on several topics in the game industry. He said he would "rather get shot in the knee" than include NFTs in future games, he also put forward that adjusting game design to make the player pay is wrong, and stated "For me, gaming is art". Fares has also commented on the topic of sexual harassment within the gaming industry which was brought up at The Game Awards 2021 with respect to Activision Blizzard and its CEO Bobby Kotick, saying "I think sometimes you need to go through some shit to get to the other side. That’s what’s happening", as well as that unions help "but that’s just one of the things. I don’t think it solves everything. Education and knowledge, I think that’s most important."[13]



Video games[edit]

Year Game Role Studio
2013 Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Director Starbreeze Studios
2018 A Way Out Director Hazelight Studios
2021 It Takes Two Director Hazelight Studios


  1. ^ "Josef Fares – The Swedish Film Database". Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  2. ^ "Josef Fares – Svensk Filmdatabas". Retrieved 2018-03-23.
  3. ^ Mahardy, Mike (2013-10-27). "Brothers: How a film director shook up Starbreeze". Polygon. Retrieved 2017-10-27.
  4. ^ "Consulate General of Sweden New York - Zozo by Josef Fares at Scandinavia House". Archived from the original on 2009-08-08. Retrieved 2010-01-28.
  5. ^ "Zozo wins Nordic Council Film prize". Cineuropa - the best of european cinema. Retrieved 2017-10-27.
  6. ^ "A Way Out | Metacritic". Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  7. ^ Sarkar, Samit (December 12, 2017). "Developer defends 'fuck the Oscars' rant from The Game Awards". Polygon. Retrieved March 29, 2021.
  8. ^ GameSpot (2017-12-07), A Way Out: Josef Fares says "F**k the Oscars" and Reveals Gameplay | The Game Awards 2017, retrieved 2017-12-08
  9. ^ Fares, Josef (7 December 2017). "So exited for A way out! Boom and have a great day!". @josef_fares. Retrieved 2017-12-08.
  10. ^ Kim, Matt (2017-12-08). ""F*** the Oscars" - Fans React to A Way Out Director's Wild Game Awards Rant". USgamer. Archived from the original on 2017-12-09. Retrieved 2017-12-08.
  11. ^ Makuch, Eddie (March 29, 2021). "It Takes Two Has A Great "F**k The Oscars" Easter Egg". GameSpot. Retrieved March 29, 2021.
  12. ^ Van Der Velde, Issy (December 9, 2021). "It Takes Two Wins Game Of The Year At The Game Awards". Thegamer.
  13. ^ "Years after viral Game Awards rant, 'It Takes Two' director says he doesn't hate the Oscars". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2021-12-30.

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