Fez Creator Responds to Xbox Live Policy Change

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Fez Creator Responds to Xbox Live Policy Change

Fez creator Phil Fish has taken to Twitter to explain in greater and more profane detail why he's not interested in working with Microsoft no matter which policies the company changes.

The conflict between Phil Fish and Microsoft is usually attributed to Microsoft's demand for "tens of thousands of dollars" to issue a patch for Fez on Xbox Live, needed to fix a rare but infuriating save-killing bug. Because of that huge fee, the patch was never issued, the game remained broken and everyone went away mad. But in a Twitter blowup today following reports that Microsoft has now dropped those fees, Fish made it clear that there's a lot more behind his refusal to work with Microsoft on future projects than just that patch business.

The wheels started turning when Fish wrote that he'd contact Microsoft to see if its new policy regarding patches is retroactive, which would presumably allow him to issue an update for Fez. But before long, he'd moved on to other aspects of his experience that had nothing to do with the patch business.

"microsoft was our publisher on X360, and they did NOTHING. no promotion. no festivals. not a single mention in a newsletter or conference. they put us up on their shitty dashboard and somehow fuck that up too," Fish tweeted. "they put us up on the game marketplace WITH NO COVER IMAGE. the file was missing for a whole week. the first week. the most important week. when you went to buy fez, there was just a big empty rectangle with a file missing icon in the middle. for a whole week. that's what we got from our publisher microsoft game studios."

Comparing his experience to that of Hotline Miami developer Dennaton Games, Fish continued, "look at what devolver did for hotline miami. ads everywhere, website skins, festivals, PROMOTION. that's what a publisher is supposed to do. we didnt have SHIT. i had to do EVERYTHING myself. we had no budget for advertising whatsoever. nothing."

It's an amusing blowout, in a juvenile, "swearing is funny" sort of way, but it's also an interesting insight into just how wrong things went between Fish and Microsoft. And not to be overlooked is the statement that despite it all, Fish is looking into the possibility of issuing a patch for Fez despite his distaste for the idea. It likely won't happen - Fish called it a "long shot" - but better late than never, right?

Source: Twitter

Permalink

thanks fish.i knew you we're gunna be a cunt about this and i was right.now my friend owes me 30 bucks because he had faith you would act mature about this.

Heh, Fish being Fish. Anyone who saw Indie Game the Movie knows this is par for the course. You can argue with his methods/delivery, but the guy has a point. Why go through the trouble of having a publisher if all it means is that you have to do the promotion yourself and you're limited to X360/Windows 8, and have to pay over 10 large to patch the game and make it better for everyone.

I can imagine Microsoft with the one saying "you can't self publish, but we'll publish for ya!", when it's clearly an agreement that benefits Microsoft almost exclusively.

It may be an immature rant, but Fish has a point. Take all this 'We're trying to change' stuff from Microsoft with a grain of salt.

Ooohooo boy, he mad.

Can't say I blame the guy, though. Quite frankly, I don't know what to believe anymore. I love my 360 to death, but I still have no desire to purchase a One. I can't explain why, either. Microsoft keeps backpedaling on their policies and being so fickle.

It's such odd behavior for such a huge company.

I take it that he had to sign up with Microsoft as a publisher?

If you can make better milk for the customers who buy your milk, why refuse to do so out of spite toward the milkman who merely makes deliveries?

He could stand to use less swearing in his posts, but he has some good points there. It seems like the publishing deal with Microsoft had no upsides at all.

Interesting, I wonder if this is true (emphasis mine):

"It wasn't an easy decision, but in the end, paying such a large sum of money to jump through so many hoops just doesn't make any sense. We already owe microsoft a LOT of money for the privilege of being on their platform. People often mistakenly believe that we got paid by Microsoft for being exclusive to their platform. Nothing could be further from the truth. WE pay THEM. So we're going to go ahead and put Title Update back online, and for a vast majority of people it's going to make FEZ a better game."

--Fish, oxm.co.uk

Surprisingly, despite Fish's reputation and Twitter rants, I'm still interested in getting Fez for PC.

Houseman:
If you can make better milk for the customers who buy your milk, why refuse to do so out of spite toward the milkman who merely makes deliveries?

If the Milkman keeps pissing in the bottles of milk, I would rather quit selling the milk instead of being known as the guy who sells piss-milk.

I would sympathize.

Then I remembered that it's Phil Fish, and anything bad that happens to him is probably deserved.

Houseman:
If you can make better milk for the customers who buy your milk, why refuse to do so out of spite toward the milkman who merely makes deliveries?

If the milkman's an asshole who you feel has lost you business, would you really want to meet with him again? Or would you try to get a different milkman to sell your milk?

Tortured analogies, ho!

Did he ask for these promotions? I mean, if you don't say what you want, it's hard to give you it. Everything isn't obvious.
I find this quote from Disney's The Recess fit perfectly:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUTOdwx8C3U#t=588s
- "But, it's not fair, he only had to be the New Kid for a few days. I had to do it for three whole years!"
- "Hey, you should have said something"

Ugh.

I've always been a person who felt that the work is what is important. I mean, I didn't like Axl Rose but I still enjoyed Appetite for Destruction (as an example).

But each time Fish gets someone to listen to him, each time he cries out like the least professional person on the planet, I can't help but have my image of Fez and the upcoming (in 6 or so years) Fez 2 take a bit of a hit. He's tied himself to his work in such a way that it's making me remember that game less fondly. Which is sad, because I should be able to keep the two separate.

The real test will come when his second products ships. I wonder how awful Sony or Steam will be when he doesn't have the "big evil corporation" to call out and blame all his frustrations on.

I'd also like to point out that the market has drastically changed since Fez shipped. Indie devs are being courted in a way they weren't when Fez came out. It's a fools errand to compare how they are marketed today, with how they were marketed even one or two years ago.

kailus13:
He could stand to use less swearing in his posts, but he has some good points there. It seems like the publishing deal with Microsoft had no upsides at all.

Kinda funny, since shows like Jimquisition and Zero Punctuation make many points with a variety of swearing. :p

bringer of illumination:
I would sympathize.

Then I remembered that it's Phil Fish, and anything bad that happens to him is probably deserved.

Then what about other indies that have had similar problems?

Liggliluff:
Did he ask for these promotions? I mean, if you don't say what you want, it's hard to give you it. Everything isn't obvious.
I find this quote from Disney's The Recess fit perfectly:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUTOdwx8C3U#t=588s
- "But, it's not fair, he only had to be the New Kid for a few days. I had to do it for three whole years!"
- "Hey, you should have said something"

Since they acted as his publisher, I like to think that's a given. Just putting a game out with no mentions anywhere does not give you much in sales, and they want the game to sell. They didn't even fix the cover image for his game on the marketplace.

He may be a jerk but I respect him for having the guts to speak his mind. Microsoft is way too cold to indie dev's, and is the second biggest reason I will never buy their products anymore. First being faulty hardware.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't actually look for a professional public face when it comes to indie developers. When companies greet you with a professional front, it is generally just that: a trained, paid front. I expect PR to act professionally. I expect customer service to act professionally. I expect developers to develop good products.

One of the often encountered benefits of dealing with indies is that you get a more transparent view into the development process. An occasionally encountered side effect is a more transparent view into why developers need a PR department.

This is how Microsoft does business. Combine that with their original idea for the Xbone and you'll see that there was never anything consumer friendly about it. Imagine if those guys have a monopoly? This is why no one should trust Microsoft and no one should buy their product. The threat of failure is not enough to change them. They need to fail hard and Steve Ballmer needs to resign from Microsoft.

Brussels:

kailus13:
He could stand to use less swearing in his posts, but he has some good points there. It seems like the publishing deal with Microsoft had no upsides at all.

Kinda funny, since shows like Jimquisition and Zero Punctuation make many points with a variety of swearing.

Jim Sterling could also benefit from not swearing. Zero Punctuation isn't really meant to be anything other than entertainment though, so it gets a pass.

ZZoMBiE13:
I'd also like to point out that the market has drastically changed since Fez shipped. Indie devs are being courted in a way they weren't when Fez came out. It's a fools errand to compare how they are marketed today, with how they were marketed even one or two years ago.

I think it was less how it was marketed, and more the fact that Microsoft didn't promote it at all. And the cover image thing is unforgivable.

Andy Chalk:
It's an amusing blowout, in a juvenile, "swearing is funny" sort of way,

kailus13:
He could stand to use less swearing in his posts, but he has some good points there. It seems like the publishing deal with Microsoft had no upsides at all.

You know, I'm really getting sick of the knee-jerk reaction of "swearing is immature". As I often say in regards to the much-dreaded "N-word", that God forbid I ever say anywhere in ear-shot of anyone lest it cause me to get fired 30 years from now; a word can only have as much power as you give it. Seriously, if there's one thing I've learned from studying other languages, it's that I quickly realized how much a word only has meaning because I have assigned it a meaning. There are probably thousands of words in my vocabulary that I cannot define, yet I know perfectly well how to use them in a sentence in such a way that everyone around me knows what they mean. And why? Because we gave those words those meanings. Seriously, it's amazing how a sentence can go from being absolutely gibberish to making complete sense, and all because I now know what sounds to associate with what words, and what meanings are generally given to those words.

So it begs the question: If you were the one who had to assign a meaning to a word, why does a word offend you unless you want that word to offend you? And why would you want a word to offend you unless you could somehow twist that offense which you placed upon yourself to make the other person sound like the bad guy? The only reason swearing is "offensive" is so that people who don't swear as much can pretend that they are somehow better than the people who do swear more often simply based on some arbitrary "standard" that the former party has agreed to follow.

In other words, calling someone out for swearing, regardless of how much or how little, is little better than calling someone out for liking the wrong video game console. In closing, I'll leave you with Steven Fry, who probably explains it all better than I do, or at the very least sounds better explaining it because of his sexy accent. Seriously though, watch both of them. He explains in two very different ways why it's completely absurd to be offended by swearing.

Liggliluff:
Did he ask for these promotions? I mean, if you don't say what you want, it's hard to give you it. Everything isn't obvious.
I find this quote from Disney's The Recess fit perfectly:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUTOdwx8C3U#t=588s
- "But, it's not fair, he only had to be the New Kid for a few days. I had to do it for three whole years!"
- "Hey, you should have said something"

I do believe it was part of MS's publishing deal that the game required X amount of advertising.

Ugh. Fish's comments really speak volumes about his general attitude. Seriously, all devs, indie or not, have to go through it, but he's the most whiny about it. Furthermore, it seems as though this doesn't happen with just MS. Which makes sense and also ties to his complaint that he didn't get paid to put the content there, he had to pay to do it. Hmm, duh? XBLA and PSN provide means of distribution and an audience, they incur costs to provide this, like any other distribution platform, from games to the 30% cut Apple gets on app store purchases, etc. It's just how it works. Without this, no matter how good Fez was, it would be just a blip on the radar (yeah, I know, Minecraft, but that's a whole beast altogether, a combination of the best conditions possible).

Regarding the promotion: yeah, I'll give him that. But c'mon, it's MS, they don't even promote their own products properly.

But the worst part is this: "a long shot". Yeah, Phil? A lot of people put trust and money into your game, and got stuck with a broken product. No matter your personal disputes, you owe these people your livelihood, and should swallow your pride and bend over backwards to them for it. And more than ever, now that money's not an obstacle anymore. They deserve that respect. Instead, you're too obsessed with your petty squabble to remember them and your debt to them.

This is definitely the worst part of this outburst. No matter how good his reasons might be, he just lost any possible foothold with this. And I'm not even excusing MS, that's not the point. Fish could have taken the high road here, and shown he cares about the people that like and pay for his games. He totally blew that chance.

WhiteTigerShiro:
SNIP

I'm just saying that his swearing makes him come across as unprofessional. Swearing is fine in an informal context, but when it's in a formal context then it comes across as immature.

Take his first two tweets for example. Don't they seem better than the last two?

kailus13:

WhiteTigerShiro:
SNIP

I'm just saying that his swearing makes him come across as unprofessional. Swearing is fine in an informal context, but when it's in a formal context then it comes across as immature.

Take his first two tweets for example. Don't they seem better than the last two?

Yeah yeah, blah blah blah. "Professional" this and "Formal" that; simply excuses to make elitism sound like something else. The only reason that not swearing is considered "professional" and "formal" in the first place is because of the aforementioned non-swearing group being in the majority and forcing their standards onto everyone else.

Swearing in a tweet is often a bad idea just because of the 240 character limit. It's senseless to throw away characters on useless filler words.

P.S. Thanks

The dude seems like a bit of a twit, but he's 100% correct as regards Microsoft's policies towards indie game devs. Hopefully those policies continue to recede and vanish to a point where every indie dev can reach every potential customer without jumping through ridiculously expensive hoops.

Fair enough, I say. If Microsoft does a poor job of publishing a game, the developer has every right to let it remain an inferior product to itself on other platforms.

As for the swearing, who CARES. I'm not about to pretend I don't swear. The PM of Australia once said "shitstorm" on TV and everyone lost their fucking minds. I say good on him. It's his choice of words and I'm fine with it.

Microsoft's still requiring all indie games on the Xbone be published by them, correct?

While a lack of personal interest in their games is, of course, my chief reason for giving a pass on the Xbone, I've always found that particular publishing exclusivity shit to leave a sour taste in my mouth. As an aspiring developer myself, it just seems offensive. I'm kind of livid with that decision.

Being unable to self-publish is bad enough, but if these are the implications of being publish by Microsoft then this is a whole new level of insulting.

Fish is still a bit of an ass, yeah, but horrible business practice is horrible business practice.

kailus13:

WhiteTigerShiro:
SNIP

I'm just saying that his swearing makes him come across as unprofessional. Swearing is fine in an informal context, but when it's in a formal context then it comes across as immature.

Take his first two tweets for example. Don't they seem better than the last two?

I wouldn't exactly call 156 character tweets as "formal"

Sounds to me like Mr. Fish needs to learn to read the contracts he signs. It's not Microsoft's fault that Mr. Fish failed to pay for the service he desired.

Oh Phil, we can always rely on you to be a bitter immature Asshole, however I take his point, paying that much money for a simple patch is plainly ridiculous.

The guy may be a dick, but that has absolutely no bearing on whether he's right or not. Argumentum ad hominem anyone? Judge what he says on what he says, not who he is. As for the swearing bit, I agree entirely with Fry (I wondered how long it'd take for someone to post those vids), but I might go on to say that I consider them to be just another tool in my box - devices to be used as the job requires, according to one's preferred methods. The fuss around them is frankly absurd. Furthermore, if someone does wish to offend you, the best insults don't need swears to cut close to the bone.

OT again, I have don't really know who this Fish guy is but I can respect a fellow who speaks his mind and speaks it plainly. No PR filter, no corporate double-talk, no putting on airs - in short, refreshing honesty. Plus he gives further evidence to shake off this "look at us, we're so indie-friendly" fabrication that MS has been pushing recently. I find being assailed with utter bollocks far more offensive than using a naughty word in my presence.

Houseman:
If you can make better milk for the customers who buy your milk, why refuse to do so out of spite toward the milkman who merely makes deliveries?

because you will have to pay the milkman double the wage for it and last time he delivered half the bottles empty. if anything, the milkman would be fired and another found. If only game industry followed logic that is....

SquidSponge:
The guy may be a dick, but that has absolutely no bearing on whether he's right or not. Argumentum ad hominem anyone? Judge what he says on what he says, not who he is. As for the swearing bit, I agree entirely with Fry (I wondered how long it'd take for someone to post those vids), but I might go on to say that I consider them to be just another tool in my box - devices to be used as the job requires, according to one's preferred methods. The fuss around them is frankly absurd. Furthermore, if someone does wish to offend you, the best insults don't need swears to cut close to the bone.

OT again, I have don't really know who this Fish guy is but I can respect a fellow who speaks his mind and speaks it plainly. No PR filter, no corporate double-talk, no putting on airs - in short, refreshing honesty. Plus he gives further evidence to shake off this "look at us, we're so indie-friendly" fabrication that MS has been pushing recently. I find being assailed with utter bollocks far more offensive than using a naughty word in my presence.

Actually personality has a huge impact on your place in the game industry. The only thing people care about in this industry a bit more than personality is talent. He probably wouldn't have had the problems he's encountered if he had a nicer personality.

Strazdas:

Houseman:
If you can make better milk for the customers who buy your milk, why refuse to do so out of spite toward the milkman who merely makes deliveries?

because you will have to pay the milkman double the wage for it and last time he delivered half the bottles empty. if anything, the milkman would be fired and another found. If only game industry followed logic that is....

Actually, last time the milkman didn't deliver the milk bottles because you had pissed in them.
[Fish released a patch that broke saved games. Microsoft pulled the patch, and he threw a temper tantrum because he'd paid them to release it] (I am fully aware that the moment you need to explain an analogy it's gone too far)

He does have a general point, but the manner he expresses it in just destroys any credibility he had. Of course, he didn't actually have any before this, so no damage done.

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