by Joseph Leray
At the Venus Patrols Horizon event last week, dubbed "the alternative E3," outspoken indie Phil Fish announced the sequel to Polytron's perspective-bending hit "Fez." Details have been predictably scarce, but after a follow-up interview with Polygon, we can all rest assured that "Fez 2" won't grace the Xbox One with its presence.
"Not Xbox" is Fish's official line on the matter.
When pushed further, he explained that, "Whether or not I would develop for it comes down to how the platform holder treats me. With Microsoft they've made it painfully clear they don't want my ilk on their platform," referring to the company's self-publishing policies. Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade policy, as it stands now, requires developers to secure a publishing deal with either Microsoft Game Studios or a third-party company, and there are no current plans to change that going forward.
While Microsoft recently backpedaled away from some of the more controversial features of the Xbox One -- e.g., online checks and game licensing -- their publishing policy remains unchanged.
"I can't even self-publish there. Whereas on PlayStation 4, I can," Fish continued. "It's that simple. Microsoft won't let me develop for their console. But Sony will."
The original "Fez" was released last year on Xbox Live Arcade after a long development. Polytron's business relationship with Microsoft quickly and publicly soured when "Fez" needed to be patched. "We're not going to patch the patch," read a statement on the Polytron blog that has since been removed. "Why not? Because Microsoft would charge us tens of thousands of dollars to re-certify the game."
"Fez" was released on Steam earlier this year when Microsoft's exclusivity contract was up, and Polytron is reportedly working on Mac, Linux, and PlayStation 3 versions of the game.
Incidentally, the Penny Arcade Report has a great breakdown of the quagmire that is Xbox Live Arcade publishing. Meanwhile, Sony has positioned itself as a great platform for small developers, scoring games like "Transistor," "Don't Starve," "Mercenary Kings," and "Oddworld: New 'N Tasty," an HD remake of "Abe's Odyssee," for the PlayStation 4.
To circle back: "Fez 2" won't be coming to Xbox One, which is the least surprising news of the day.
The full Polygon interview also has a few choice bits on Fish's reaction to the Xbox One as a whole, his vision for how "Fez 2" will be different from its predecessor, and whether or not the "indie" label is useful anymore. Do check it out.