A final update for famed indie game Fez has been quietly released on Steam. The update was announced by developer Renaud Bédard more than a year ago on his personal blog.
During his time at Polytron, Bédard worked as the game’s programmer while Phil Fish worked as the designer and artist. Being known as Fez 1.12, the update served to correct over 120 bugs that have been discovered in the past year. As written on Bédard’s blog, the main aims were:
Cut dependencies to OpenTK, the platform framework used by FEZ on Windows. I have had problems with it from the start, from sound card detection issues to windowing problems, to VSync and fullscreen issues… I wanted to give SDL 2.0 a shot, to see if it fares better.
Have more efficient music streaming. PC + Mac versions of FEZ used a C# Ogg Vorbis decoder called NVorbis, which seemed like a good idea because it would run on all platforms. I also wrote the streaming codethat uses NVorbis and OpenAL, and it made its way into the main MonoGame repository! But it’s also very slow, resource-intensive and heavy on disk access. So I wanted to look into a better solution that wouldn’t break music playback in areas like puzzle rooms and the industrial world.
Have a single codebase for all PC + Mac versions of FEZ. As it stood with 1.11, there was a slightly modified codebase for Mac and Linux that ran on a weird hybrid of MonoGame and what would become FNA, called MG-SDL2. The PC version ran on my fork of MonoGame ~3.0 which I did not do a great job of keeping up to date with upstream changes, because when I did it usually broke in mysterious ways. This is not great for maintenance, and centralizing everything on a clean FNA back-end, with as little platform-specific code as I could, seemed like a good idea.
Make it the Last Update. Since I shipped FEZ 1.11 I had little intention of making additional fixes or features to the game because I simply don’t have the time with a kid and a fulltime job… and working on FEZ is getting old after 9 years. So I did want to address problems that people have with the game, but I don’t want to do it for the rest of my life. I had spent enough time away from the game that I was somewhat enthusiastic about coming back to it, especially if it’s at my pace, and that it’s my last time doing so.
On the subject of why Bédard released the patch in secret, the programmer explained that upon the release of Fez, he had little intention of working on the game past release, and up to this point had been working on it for roughly nine years.
Fez 1.12 is meant to be the final patch to put the developer’s concerns with the game to rest.