A final update has been released for the Steam version of the highly acclaimed 2012 platformer Fez by its programmer Renaud Bédard — the first in over two years. Bédard dropped the patch yesterday after commencing work on the update in secret a year ago.
During Fez’s five-year development, Bédard handled the programming side of things while Phil Fish served as the game’s designer and artist. About seven months after shipping Fez on Xbox 360, Bédard left Polytron for Capybara Games. Fish began work on a sequel to Fez before its highly-publicized cancellation in 2013.
One of the main goals of Fez version 1.12 was to place the Mac and Windows PC versions of the game under a single codebase which would run on the open source FNA library. The update was developed in close collaboration with Ethan Lee, FNA’s creator. Among other things, it resolves many back-end issues, makes the game run smoother at higher framerates and adds increased options for controller mapping and aspect ratio scaling.
On keeping the update a secret, Bédard stated:
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. [...] 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.
Development on the patch wasn’t totally silent, however. Bédard tweeted in November of last year that work had commenced on Fez 1.12. Around the same time, Lee began posting weekly updates on the patch’s progress to his Google+ account, even setting a tentative release date of holiday 2015. Speedrunner Juikuen also ran a Twitch stream in January of the game’s updated version, then still in beta.
The patch has been in beta testing by what Bédard refers to as "an army of fans, speedrunners and friends" since January. With their assistance, Bédard managed to isolate and squash over 120 game bugs.
After the update went live, Bédard tweeted "I did consider calling it FEZ 2.0 but then that’s like asking for trouble."
Bédard plans to release the patch on the Humble Store and GOG versions of Fez soon, and is currently working at Square Enix Montréal on an unannounced project.