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.
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, Dishonored, Thomas 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.
- A new map for Toylogic’s free-to-play adventure title Happy Wars, called Zodiac, released November 16. PlayXBLA also has tips to ensure players are seeing all maps available while matchmaking.
- This month, several former 4J Studios developers have broken off to create their own development studio, Scotland-based Stormcloud Games. Former studio director (and co-founder) Frank Arnot steps into the role of Stormcloud’s managing director, Andy West will tackle coding and ex-senior artist Pat McGovern is set to head Stormcloud’s art section. The three have such titles as Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and the XBLA port of Perfect Dark under their belts. Arnot tells Polygon the three branched off to make projects they were passionate about a reality.
- One half of the team that created the critically acclaimed Fez has a new place to call home; Renaud Bernard joined the Capy Games team early this month. The developer is currently working on Super Time Force and was previously responsible for Might of Magic: Clash of Heroes HD and Superbrothers: Sword and Sorcery EP. Fez dev Polytron wished Bernard well on Twitter.
- SEGA has released the soundtrack for NiGHTS into Dreams… earlier this month, which was recently re-released on XBLA. With a total of 52 tracks over three volumes, the soundtrack is available on iTunes and Amazon MP3.
- 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.
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 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
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.
Update: According to Polytron, the update has been pulled by Microsoft.
The long awaited Fez update has finally surfaced but with a huge caveat that’ll spur people away. While the update has a huge list of fixes, Polytron updated the post saying after installing the patch, the save file will be seen as corrupted. The only current workaround is deleting your system cache but other than that, there is no fix. While you may want to put the blame on Polytron, Microsoft did pass it and didn’t find this bug while testing so it sucks for all the parties involved. We’ll keep you updated on whether this patch will be rectified in the future.
Back in May we reported that Polytron had sent their first patch for mind-bending puzzle-platformer Fez to certification. The update was set to rectify many issues that had popped up after the games release, such as frame-rate dips and crashing. Unfortunately a couple of problems caused the update to fail cert and it was sent back to Polytron, who then ran into their own issues trying to reproduce the error. Thankfully those have finally been resolved the the update is now back in cert, meaning it should hopefully appear in a few weeks. You can find the full Facebook post about the issue below, if you’d like just a little more detail from the developer themselves.
Developer Polytron has handed the first patch of platformer Fez off to Microsoft for certification. The studio promised that the update will mean “crash fixes, recovered save files and a generally smoother Fez experience before the end of the month.” Specific details aren’t available at this time, but Poly says it’ll unveil the exact release date and full list of included changes “soon.”
After many, many years in development, Fez released to heavy fanfare and a strong critical reception back on April 13. It even snagged the top spot in XBLA activity for its first week on the market. Unfortunately, there were a number of reports of corrupted save files, games that crashed for a number of reasons and even incompatibility with certain older Xbox 360s.
Update: Polytron, following up on Mojang’s reporting of Minecraft figures based off of Xbox Live leaderboards, tapped Microsoft on the shoulder and questioned them as to whether or not the leaderboards are a legitimate gauge for sales numbers. As it turns out, just as the Fez developer had earlier alleged, they are not. “Hey so, Microsoft got back to us about sale
figures,” the studio tweeted. “Turns out the leaderboards ARE inaccurate!”
Quickly following that news was another statement by the dev elucidating that Microsoft showed no favoritism towards Mojang in terms of handing out sales data. But that doesn’t mean the studio believes the entire playing field is even. Earlier, Polytron expressed its discontent over Minecraft being granted the ability to receive free post-release content. Sticking to its guns, Polytron stated that favoritism was shown by the publisher in the way of “the free updates.”
Still, Poly, in a tweet directed at the media, called upon caps lock to underscore its belief that Microsoft’s actions were “NOT A SCANDAL.” It should also be noted that Polytron extended public congratulations to Markus Persson for having a successful launch on XBLA. Further details can be found in the primary story below.
Original Story: An hour was all it took. Within 60 minutes of Swedish developer Mojang’s XBLA port of its mega-popular PC world-building title Minecraft releasing yesterday, a profit had been turned. Studio owner Markus “Notch” Persson relayed the news over Twitter earlier today: “Well then. Saw the official sales numbers for the first 24 hours of Minecraft Xbox 360, and it’s very, very good. Profitable in an hour.”
After selling in excess of five million copies to date over on the PC, according to IGN, Minecraft managed to smash “all previous digital sales records” on the Xbox 360, Microsoft revealed in a statement that surfaced shortly after Persson’s tweet. Microsoft, who published the Arcade version of the game, said that no other release in the history of the platform had garnered as many sales as Mojang’s debut effort did in its first 24 hours of availability. The publisher declined, however, to identify just how many individual sales that record equated to.
Yet not everyone was silent on that matter. After having some public discussion over Microsoft’s policies regarding the divulging of precise sales numbers with Fez developer Polytron, Persson gave a ballpark figure. “It seems it sold over 400k copies in 24 [hours],” he tweeted. The creative brain behind Minecraft apparently had to rely on leaderboard participation in order to extrapolate that number, a method which he admitted “might be off.” If his calculations are correct, that would mean the port, developed in part by 4J Studios, has already brought in more than $8 million USD in revenue.