Fez creator Phil Fish has fiercely criticized one-time co-publishing partner Microsoft for doing "nothing" to help sell his game.
"Microsoft was our publisher on X360, and they did nothing. No promotion, no festivals," wrote Fish in a Twitter stream earlier today. "Not a single mention in a newsletter or conference. They put us up on their shitty dashboard and somehow fuck that up too. They put us up on the game marketplace with no cover image.
"The file was missing for a whole week," he added. "The first week, the most important week. That's what we got from our publisher Microsoft Game Studios. 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."
Fish, who heads up Montreal-based developer Polytron, was responding to a news report that Microsoft has ceased its policy of charging developers $10,000 for each game-fixing patch or update. In July 2012, a save rule corruption bug was discovered on Fez affecting, by Fish's calculation, about one percent of players. But Fish refused to pay the minimum $10,000 charge levied by Microsoft required to implement a fix.
Subsequent to Fish's observations, Microsoft confirmed to Polygon that the policy of automatically charging developers for resubmissions was scrapped back in April.
"Microsoft never told us anything about it," wrote Fish. "[I] will get in touch with them and see if their new policy is retro-active. But honestly, I feel it's kind of a long shot. Something tells me it won't be retroactive. You have no idea how much trouble I got into for talking about this and you never will so I'm pretty glad there's a happy ending here."
The criticism has once again sparked debate about Microsoft's intentions for indie games with Xbox One. Last month, the company confirmed that it would not be allowing game developers to self-publish for Xbox One. Earlier today, Microsoft announced a partnership with Unity to provide free tools for developers signed by Microsoft Game Studios to create games for Xbox One.
Last week Fish told Polygon that, whatever his plans for Fez 2, he would not be making the game for Xbox One.