Fez Developer: Long Dev Cycle Hurt Sales

Fez is easily one of my favourite games of 2012 thus far. As far as we're aware it has been a decent commercial success for developer Phil Fish and his team, but speaking at a Nordic Game Conference, Fish claimed that the strung out development cycle of Fez may have hurt sales in the long term.

"The fact that the game took so long to come out I think ultimately hurt it," he said, as reported by GamesIndustry International. "I think it would have done better if it had come out two or three years ago rather than now, because things are kind of slowing down on Xbox Live Arcade - it's the end of that life-cycle."

As the opening years of the Xbox 360's launch, the LIVE Arcade section seemed to be a huge priority for Microsoft, but now it feels as though it's almost being buried beneath the sheer weight of Microsoft's media center aspirations. When I bought Fez I genuinely had difficulty finding where the game was, and where I had to go to find it. The Xbox 360's new user interface clearly isn't making indie gaming a priority in the same way it did in years previous.

It's a shame because — genuinely — Fez is one of the best games available on the LIVE arcade service, and it deserves a bigger audience.

Phil Fish: Long dev cycle hurt Fez sales [GamesIndustryBiz]


Comments

    Surely it would have been smarter to release it on more platforms like PSN and Steam...unless of course they were receiving funding from Microsoft and therefore had an exclusivity deal.

      I'm not sure what the deal is, but I suppose it might be possible that it'll come out elsewhere later, like Braid, Limbo, etc did. I'm not sure what the nature of their deal with MS is.

      Theres the issue that they would have had to spend more time developing the PSN port.

      Instead of the likely XNA based one that live arcade uses

    It certainly worked against the game for me. I got sick of hearing about it and constantly seeing it winning awards without actually being released. Coupling that with Fish's generally arrogant behavior and I had absolutely no interest in giving him money for the game.

      I wasn't bothered so much by the praise the game was getting, but Fish's attitude pretty much put me off the game completely.

        Same. He struck me as a dick.

      Far as I've heard, it's been selling pretty damn well. I think this whinge might be that arrogance rearing its head again. Last I heard he was also complaining about Microsoft giving Mojang preferential treatment for Minecraft, and how that probably hurt his sales.
      Creator's perceived dickishness aside, I'll probably give Fez a go anyway, just... later.

      Yeah, I think Fish being a rudely arrogant guy hurt sales more than a long development cycle.
      Although I guess the two are tied together in that it gave him more time to alienate prospective buyers. :P

      You'd deny yourself a good gaming experience because they guy involved with it seems like a bit of a jerk? There are probably a lot of people in this industry who have their heads up their asses. Be safe and never buy another video game again, lest you support a jerk.

      Frankly, I've never met him and have no interest in his personality. The game should purely be judged on it's creativity, game play, art style etc. He indeed might be a complete douche, but it seems entirely self-righteous to overlook a title because of your perception of Fish.

    My problem with games these days, and Fez has this too, the game is not the game. It's part of the game.

    Fez needed smartphone QR readers... AAA games now have facebook tie ins, or mechanics dependant on external influences... it's just not acceptable.

    Personally, I think Fezs sales were hurt, if they were hurt, was by its selling itself as so cerebral.
    I'm sure people looked at it and just figured it wasn't for them.

      There are alternative puzzles for anyone without a QR reader.

        But still, you can't solve all the puzzles and get the real ending without having a tonne of external help. The unsolvable nature of some of the puzzles is what put me off, it'd be fine if they were bonus puzzles but you need to do them to get the real ending. It's just poor puzzle design.

    I don't think it hurt the sales because I don't remember a lot of excitment over the game 3 years ago...

    Needed to be on more platforms. Im hanging out for a pc version (if it ever comes)

    I think what he's saying here is that he took so long to make the game, he missed XBLA at its peak, so he hasn't sold as much as he might have when XBLA was most popular.

    But what really hurt it was not releasing it on other platforms. Why would you let Braid be everywhere but restrict the next game?

      a few things
      a) Braid is by Jonathan Blow not Phil Fish and for the record Blow IS restricting his next game to PC only
      b) Yes in a sense he has missed XBLA at it's peak (2008-2010) but, perhaps it is in the middle of a new peak with the astronomical sales for Minecraft and Trials Evolution.
      c) A lot of people feel slighted by comments that Fish has made, even though what he said was patently stupid (Japanese games actually rock but anyway) you're all cheating yourself out of a good game, certainly one of the best on XBLA (Better than Braid or Limbo to boot)

        Wow that was a godtier retarded mistake I made.
        Why the blazes did I think Braid guy and Fez guy were the same guy?

    What I don't get is why the took 5 years to develop. What were they doing for those 5 years? There is not 5 years of content in Fez.

      the dev team only had 4-5 guys.

        Jonathan Blow has stated that only about 4 people worked on Braid (not including artists) and they had that knocked over in 3 years. Braid also released pretty much bug free right from the get-go and it has brilliant mind boggling puzzles. Fez only has gameplay hours over Braid. I re-iterate; there is not 5 years worth of content in Fez.

    It wouldn't have needed to be 2 or 3 years. Just getting in a some time before Microsoft completely mangled the XBox UI would have been sufficient.

    I only hate fez because it won awards over a couple of years, preventing newer games from winning.
    Namely, Iconoclasts

    "Things are kind of slowing down on Xbox Live Arcade – it’s the end of that life-cycle" ... Tell that to the people who created and ported Minecraft for the XBLA.

    7-20-12 - Minecraft has 3 Million sales in 2 months. FEZ probably doesn't have 200K and since they released a buggy game they will never see 1 million.

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