Polytron Archive


Fez creator cancels sequel, exits game industry


If you haven’t heard by now, Fez II was officially put to pasture. The news came via Fez‘s polarizing creator Phil Fish, who took to Twitter over the weekend, responding to the latest round of harsh criticisms by saying he was done with the industry. In a subsequent post from the indie developer’s studio, the official statement confirmed that the surprise sequel would never see the light of day.

When the news broke, we were hesitant to pick it up for a few reasons. Firstly due to the nature of the announcement, which was delivered swiftly in the midst of an obviously emotional moment for Fish, and over Twitter no less. We’ll spare you the details of who said what, that information is out there if you’re interested, but in an effort to avoid perpetuating the he-said-she-said circus it’s not relevant to this story.

Secondly, it’s no secret that Fish and Microsoft (and by extension, Xbox Live Arcade) aren’t on the best of terms. Following turbulent post-release support, Fish has gone on record regularly to condemn Microsoft and their indie-facing practices. It’s unlikely that Fez II would have ended up on the platform, but a small ember of hope remained with the confirmation title patches would no longer carry fees, and the long-sought move for independent self-publishing on the Xbox One.

Unfortunately the future of Fez is all but a pipe dream now, not only for Xbox Live Arcade, but every platform. It’s a shame, but Phil Fish knows what’s best for Phil Fish and regardless of his contentious online persona, if his decision to exit the game industry means an obviously talented creator gets to keep on keepin’ on, that’s a decision everyone should respect.

Source: Polytron


Much-needed Fez patch on the way


After a year on the market with game-breaking glitches, Fez developer Phil Fish of Polytron announced on Twitter that he is hard at work getting a proper patch on the way for last year’s mind-twisting platformer. It should be ready in a few months.

This comes hot on the heels of the now-confirmed rumor that Microsoft would forgo patching fees. Fish kicked up quite a storm when he publicly berated Microsoft for allegedly charging exorbitant fees for patches, ultimately forcing him to leave Fez broken and incomplete. Microsoft sternly reminded him that they didn’t make the broken patch.

The first patch (which is free for developers) fixed most gameplay problems that got players stuck throughout the game. However, a small but significant 1% of players began losing their save files to corruption. The patch was quickly pulled, but Polytron had missed its chance to make the game right without ponying up thousands of dollars. Finally, that can all be water under the bridge.

Source: Twitter via Joystiq


Fez 2 announced

Fez 2 is in development, according to a surprise announcement and teaser trailer revealed at the Horizon indie game press conference at E3. Nothing is known about the dimension-shifting sequel so far, except that it will retain the original’s developer, Polytron, and musician, Disasterpeace. The original Fez released in 2012 after five years in development. According to the trailer’s description, Fez 2 is “coming to ???? in ????”.


Newsbits: A new Fez soundtrack, Transistor multiplayer and poor sales


  • Fez had an outstanding soundtrack, and we were all spoiled last month with the release of the remix album. Well, it looks like we’ve been given another gift, as a second remix album for Fez has popped up seemingly out of nowhere. It has already been released, and you can give it a listen or download here.
  • For any fan of Bastion, you’ll be well aware of Supergiant Games new title, Transistor (re-watch the awesome reveal trailer here!). While it will be taking a lot of influence from Bastion, it looks like Transistor will enjoy quite a different approach with the inclusion of multiplayer. Before you get angry, let us clarify that it won’t be a traditional multiplayer mode, but something more subtle. You can read more about it over at Rock Paper Shotgun.
  • Have you been following Ascend: New Gods? Well, if you’d like to continue to do so, you’ll have to search for it by its new name Ascend: Hand of Kul.
  • Darkstalkers Resurrection hasn’t exactly been lighting up the sales charts, and Capcom U.S. senior vice president Christian Svensson took to the Capcom Unity forums to express his disappointment. He also brought up the possibility that the lack of success could potentially mean an end of Capcom bringing out new digital releases of their fighting franchises.

Fez sells 200,000 in its first year on XBLA


Polytron Corporation updated their blog over the weekend, detailing the adventure that the critically acclaimed Fez took over its first year on XBLA. While it had its fair share of ups and downs, the positives prevailed and Fez sold over 200,000 copies. Phil Fish, the creator of Fez, hasn’t exactly made himself the most likable of figures in the game industry, but it is hard to deny the effort and energy he put into the project. A viewing of Indie Game: The Movie showcases that fact, and highlights how great of an accomplishment this really is.

Source: Polytron via IGN


The Walking Dead walks away with Best Story at BAFTA Games Awards

The Walking Dead Ep 3 Screen 2

This past Tuesday saw the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) spotlight the third pillar of the moving image medium at its annual Games Awards ceremony in London. Though noticeably absent from the academy’s already lengthy title, video games held a role in the organization as early as 1998, flirting with varying levels of legitimacy before BAFTA announced in 2006 that it was giving video games equal status with the established arts of film and television.

Though this year marked an unprecedented level of independent nominees across the many categories BAFTA honored, the notable favorites were quick to stand out, having already performed handsomely throughout the awards season. Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead, was nominated for Best Story in a category comprised of Mass Effect 3, Far Cry 3, DishonoredThomas Was Alone and thatgamecompany’s award-magnet, Journey. Despite the stiff competition, The Walking Dead ultimately took home the prize no doubt thanks to its emotive and powerful storytelling, which we celebrated with our own Game of the Year Award.

While The Walking Dead was nominated for a slew of awards and ended up taking home at least one piece of hardware, Telltale’s entry didn’t solely represent the Xbox Live Arcade banner. Honorable mentions go to Polytron’s Fez and its nomination for Game Innovation. Also receiving a nod was Tequila Works’ Deadlight, nominated for Debut Game. Though neither title walked away with an award, in what was arguably the best year of gaming to date, there might be some truth to the saying that it’s an honor just to be nominated.

You can find all of the categories, nominees and winners by visiting the official British Academy Games Awards recap.


Newsbits: November 21 – pre-Thanksgiving edition

  • Compulsion Games‘ upcoming platformer Contrast won’t make its planned winter 2012 release, the developer recently announced – the new goal is first quarter of 2013. Announced in March, Contrast looks to blend platforming and puzzle elements with gameplay based on the relationship between light and shadow.

Three XBLA favorites contend for Spike TV’s Best Independent Game Award

It’s that time of year again — SPIKE TV’s annual Video Game Awards. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the tribute show, showcasing the big names of the industry and offering a glimpse of what we can expect in the upcoming calendar.

Among the usual suspects, the Best Independent Game category is chock-full of fantastic Xbox Live Arcade titles that made a big splash this year. Mark of the Ninja, Dust: An Elysian Tale, and of course, Fez, occupy the majority of the ballot while the PlayStation exclusive Journey rounds out the list. Though this category is voted on by a panel of judges, you’re encouraged to visit the site and let the advisory board know which title you think deserves the award.

Head on over to the Best Independent Game category to cast your vote, or check out the panel of judges. SPIKE TV’s “Video Game Awards” will air live on both Spike TV and Spike.com, Friday, December 7 at 9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT.

Which title do you feel should take home the trophy?


Fez ‘lost’ features revealed

Fez was a huge success in our eyes. It has some of the most interesting and mind bending game mechanics we have ever seen. Recently programmer Renaud Bédard of Polytron described some of the things that didn’t quite make it into the game. It turns out there were a lot of other game mechanics in the works at different points in development. Some were early versions of the mechanics we saw and others were abandoned because they just didn’t work for the game as Phil Fish had envisioned. Apparently laser puzzles involving strict box placement were completely functional but they simply had no place for them in the game. “Heavy groups” involved large groups of blocks that would fall after supporting blocks were destroyed. This feature worked hand in hand with TNT crates but again, both features were dropped because they simply didn’t have a place in the final game. Motor blocks were a neat idea but they were too difficult to get working properly in the hybrid 2D/3D environment. We really liked the way the 3D bridge sections looked but they gave too much of how the environment was actually constructed away. It is always interesting to see what was left out of a game as much as what made it in. With Fez it feels like the possibilities are almost endless.

Source: Renaud Bédard of Polytron

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Microsoft responds to Fez patch re-release

 Fez developer Polytron recently made a public statement saying they are not fixing the game’s broken patch due to the cost of certification. While gamers may not agree with leaving a game-breaking bug in the game, Microsoft has spoken out in support of Polytron’s decision.

“Polytron and their investor, Trapdoor, made the decision not to work on an additional title update for Fez. Microsoft Studios chose to support this decision based on the belief that Polytron/Trapdoor were in the best position to determine what the acceptable quality level is for their game. While we do not disclose the cost of Title Updates, we did offer to work with Trapdoor to make sure that wasn’t a blocking issue. We remain huge fans of Fez.”

The patch is currently live and can be downloaded by most players without worry. The patch has caused save file corruption for less than one percent of players, and only occurs if there is a complete or near-complete save file.

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