Perhaps no other game in the XBLA catalogue tells the sad state of affairs, as it pertains to indie developers, better than “Fez“.
The Xbox 360’s marketplace is where many mainstream gamers got their first real taste of the wild world of indie gaming. Thanks to early hits like N+, Braid, Castle Crashers, Minecraft, to name a few.
It was also a dream come true for many indie developers, a chance to have their games playable on the same machine that’s normally reserved for big time publishers and AAA development houses.
But eventually, things changed. All of a sudden, there were other, more attractive avenues. Like the PlayStation Network, even the Nintendo eShop. Though the biggest issue is how Microsoft was not quite the friend to all indies that many had believed.
Nothing illustrated this fact when Polytron released a patch that was supposed to fix several issues in the original XBLA release of “Fez,” one that ended up causing even bigger problems (despite being certified by Microsoft’s own testing process). The patch was eventually pulled, but later reinstated, sans any fixes.
Polytron would explain that it would cost them “tens of thousands” to repair and re-certify the patch, which the studio simply could not afford (never mind how the buggy patch should have never been okay-ed in the first place). Since then, more and more indie developers have come forward to criticize MS’s practices, with Xbox One’s proposed ecosystem getting plenty of flack as another example.
Though Microsoft recently decided to make things easier for developers, perhaps in an effort to counteract Sony, who has gone to great length to attract indie developers, by dropping the fee that 360 developers need to pay to apply patches. Which begged the question: will “Fez” finally be fixed? Something that no doubt was asked to Phil Fish, creator of the game, about a billion times.
And the answer, delivered via Twitter, and on the 4th of July, is something many players have been aching to hear: “GOOD NEWS EVERYONE: we’re going to patch “FEZ” on XBLA!”
Fish also states, “it’s going to take a few months, though. but we’re doing it!” He’s also made it clear that the upcoming sequel, “Fez 2,” will not be on the 360, nor the Xbox One. Which is definitely less surprising to hear than the upcoming fix for part one.