An Interview about Fez
Fez is known for two things. One is the gameplay, an incredibly unique, world-rotating mechanic that works so perfectly in conjunction with its beautiful 2D design ascetic. The other is its long development history, first sighted all the way back in 2007 with little sign of the game since. We managed to get our hands on a playable build thanks to Phil Fish, the lead designer and artist of Fez. The man struck us as one of those rogue artistic geniuses, the strength of his concept present in the incredibly entertaining demo and the soothing, untraceable accent with which he described the game.
GameZone: What is Fez?
Phil Fish: Fez is a somewhat traditional 2D platforming game that stars a little 2D dude named Gomez, who lives in a 2D world and then one day realizes the world is actually three-dimensional and sets out to explore it.
GZ: Now you have a lot of really interesting elements here because you combined a 2D platformer with a 3D world, where you can actually shift your perspective to navigate the levels.
PF: That's basically the whole game. You explore these interesting 3D structures, but from four distinct 2D points-of-view. The gameplay is always strictly 2D platforming, but at any point you get to use the triggers to rotate in 90 degree increments and explore the side of the structure, the back of the structure ... And then most of the gameplay is navigational puzzles and regular puzzles that use that rotation mechanic--or the fact that the world has four sides.
GZ: It looks like a really fun game and it's a very interesting concept. How did you come up with something like this?
PF: Actually, the genesis of the game came from another game, which ended up never happening. It had a similar four points-of-view mechanic but was much more of an abstract puzzle game than a platformer. Then I came up with the idea of the aesthetic of the pixel becoming a cube and building everything around that, and I got really attached to that idea. Everything kind of grew from there. The lure of the game is based on this mechanic--the idea that there are four sides to everything.
GZ: And from what I've heard, just you and another guy are making this?
PF: Yeah, it's me and a programmer. He created the engine and the editor and absolutely everything that is code-related, and I do all the art and level design and game design. We also have a musician and a couple of animators that help us out, that we contract with.
GZ: Because it looks incredible. It looks incredibly polished for such a small team. Now what are your plans for this in terms of platforms?
PF: It's going to be released on Xbox Live Arcade toward the end of the year, fall-ish.
GZ: Well, it looks like a lot of fun. You're definitely getting some great press. I see a lot of guys coming by.
PF: Yeah, apparently! I haven't been keeping up too much, but yeah, we're getting really great reactions so far.