News Article

WiiWare, Fez Developer Does Not Like You At All

Posted by James Newton

Hence the cursing

Love it, hate it, WiiWare divides opinions even among the most ardent Wii fans. Its polarising effect goes much farther though, splitting developers down the middle like a samurai sword through a ripe watermelon. Falling on the juicy — if bitter — side is Phil Fish, developer of Xbox Live Arcade title Fez.

Fish told Destructoid about the possibility of Fez coming to WiiWare. His turn of phrase is sure to delight at dinner parties.

Right now we're only concentrating on XBLA, which makes the most sense for us at the time. PC and PSN would also make a lot of sense, but in my opinion, WiiWare just wouldn't be worth our time and effort. It's a dismal system that I don't want to deal with neither as a customer, nor a developer. No demos? F*** off.

According to Destructoid, Fish is aware that the service offers demos, though it's less clear why he chose to disregard them in such a linguistically colourful fashion. Share your theories in the comments section below.

[via destructoid.com]

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User Comments (58)

XCWarrior

#4

XCWarrior said:

Just watched a couple of videos. Looks like a $1 iphone game. So I'm not going to worry over not getting it.

JayArr

#5

JayArr said:

I'm sure a lot more developers feel exactly the same way. Anyone with multiple systems can tell you that Nintendo handles their downloadable service the worse......by far. Not to mention the sorry system constraints WiiWare offers.

CorbsAdmin

#6

Corbs said:

I think the WiiWare ship has sailed anyway. Plus with the restrictions, I'm sure it's not worth the hassle for many developers. Maybe he works out of his garage and Nintendo didn't want him anyway. LOL :D

daznsaz

#8

daznsaz said:

bit old fashioned but i prefer proper games disc or cart so not to bothered about that side of things

bonesy91

#9

bonesy91 said:

wow.... I'm not disappointed that this game wont come to the Wii (I barely even visit the wii shop channel) but What a Rude (insert words I that are naughty)!!!!!!!!!!!!!! jeez... I would never want to work with a developer if this is how they treat people.

PSICOffee

#11

PSICOffee said:

I feel his pain, most Wiiware has always been crap and takes away from releasing more good VC games. I knew Wiiware was a bad excuse to sell crap games for an inflated price for download, especially after having played many similar ones on Newgrounds for free.

Actually he comes off to me as a cheap ass trying to sell his normally free flash game at an inflated price. He only wants demos so he doesnt have to buy any of the games. These new game download things like Wiiware should have far better quality control then. I sense another crash with the market already oversaturated.

Lotice-Paladin

#12

Lotice-Paladin said:

He's a bit OTT with the demos thing, if your game is good, people will buy it through word of mouth (like a few WiiWare titles) but it doesn't matter if he won't add his game to WiiWare...there's always other places to go...like the iPhone.

TheGameSquid

#13

TheGameSquid said:

@Yasume
How very mature of you. The game's not coming to your favourite console? Then it must suck! If you had actually followed the development of Fez you probably wouldn't have said this. The game now boasts an incredible (and quite revolutionary, I might add) game engine, absolutely stunning graphics and a soundtrack that seems to be worth the price of the game alone. Everyone that has had some hands on time with the game so far seems to have liked it to some extent (most were blown away), and while this is in no way proof that the game will succeed, it seems to be an indication that it will. The game has performed quite well in the IGF too. It's been extremely high on my most anticipated list ever since it was first announced (which, unfortunately, was a LONG time ago).

Now, I can understand that people react negatively to Fish's odd behaviour. His secrecy about the game has made me angry quite a few times as well. But can you in all honesty claim that you DON'T understand his reaction? This is about someone who's simply trying to make a living out of making videogames, and Nintendo is effectively making sure he can't do this via their console. Whatever Nintendo's stance REALLY is, there is no mistaking that WiiWare itself is set up in a way to absolutely discourage indie developers from attempting to put their game on the service. And he's sort of correct about the no-demo part. If you don't have a 360 or a PS3 you might not understand this, but every single game on Xbox Live Arcade has a demo. It's required by Microsoft. Say whatever you want about MS, but the way they set up XBLA this generation (with its international releases and mandatory demos) is great. On WiiWare, there's a faint possibility that there will be a demo. I don't even think the developers have a whole lot to say about that. If Nintendo wants a demo, they'll take care of it in an awkward way. If they don't, well... tough luck! So in theory, Fish doesn't really have the ability to put a demo on the service. And having a demo for your game can be EXTREMELY important for an indie developer. Developing an indie game without publishing a demo is basically the equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot.

We all know that the Wii could have been the ultimate Retro machine. The Virtual Console and the GameCube Backward Compatibility means the game covers the entire history of Nintendo home consoles. Because so many Retro gamers were interested in the Wii, WiiWare could have been the ultimate home for new, yet retro-styled games that couldn't appear on retail shelves. Since Fez does seem to have those "New Retro" aesthetics and design ideologies, WiiWare could have been a great place to deploy Fez. And this makes it even more frustrating for developers like Polytron to see the service in such bad shape. And it saddens me too.

Golgo

#14

Golgo said:

He's right. Lots of quality indie devs have been put off Wiiware because of limitations like download size, etc.

Machinarium was once destined for Wii. Likewise Super Meat Boy. Likewise Braid.

I know Nintendo feel their ongoing successes mean they can ignore what critics are saying, but it would benefit them in the long run to listen a little.

nick_gc

#16

nick_gc said:

The game does look good but last time I checked WiiWare does provide demos. Although it is a relatively new feature. I also agree it's a mess of a system to navigate. But still. Developer sounds like he's getting a bit of an ego.

SMW

#19

SMW said:

lol. Way to respond professionally; his response sounds like something I would expect to hear in high school or on a message board. (No offense to him, but thats not the kind of thing to say if you want to be a respected developer.)

I realize that the way Nintendo handles WiiWare is not the best, but the way he rejected it just sounds immature. :P

Splat

#20

Splat said:

I find 80% of WiiWare to be pretty bad my self I have way more misses then hits when it comes to downloads. I just stick with VC for the most part any more.

TrueWiiMaster

#22

TrueWiiMaster said:

Eh, whatever. WiiWare is awesome. No matter what anyone says about other systems having better download services or the Wii being technologically behind, I've gotten a LOT of fun out of the service, and the system for that matter, and I know I'll only get more as time progresses. In the end, that's what makes a service good or not: how much fun you can get from it. For me, WiiWare wins that category hands-down. There are extremely few games on the competing system's I'd even want to buy, even if they were on WiiWare. This guy's game is just another one I don't want.

BTW, Is it ironic that the guy exclusive to Xbox loves to use colorful language? I think he's right about the 360 being the right fit for him.

Odnetnin

#24

Odnetnin said:

Even Gaijin Games admitted WiiWare was a mistake and they shipped 7 games for it!!

I do hope this comes to PC. Like Super Meat Boy and VVVVVV, this is one of those awesome indie games that just wouldn't work on Nintendo's abysmal WiiWare service.

liammiller18

#25

liammiller18 said:

I don't feel like the way he treats WiiWare is immature. WiiWare has horrible restrictions and is technically unimpressive and behind the times. I love many a game on the service, but it's no surprise that people publish on XBLA and PSN, simply the file size restriction is insane for some.

Morpheel

#26

Morpheel said:

He could always say:
"The dev kit is very expensive and I can't afford it."
:P
That way noone would question him.
But yeah, wii ware isn't all that great either.

The_Fox

#27

The_Fox said:

Not the most tactful answer he could have given, but he's absolutely right about Wiiware.

outrun2sp

#28

outrun2sp said:

Good post number 13. Whenever games dont get released on WII they are rubbish. I think nintendo fanboys have become the worst recently and they are so defensive of the system, people should grow up, its only game after all. I have both a wii and a 360 and happily enjoy them both. To own just a wii though that would be painful, machine cant be defended at the moment.

I bet all members of staff have either a 360 or PS3 as well and play them more than the WII.

I really feel alienated with nintendo the way that they have been operating the last few years as they arent the nintendo I know anymore. Its just sales targets, sales targets, make new machines, profits and no love for the consumers anymore.

Robo-goose

#31

Robo-goose said:

It's true, sometimes I won't buy a game that looks great specifically because it's on WiiWare. It's hard to navigate, takes forever to get through, and has really annoying music.
Also, WiiWare is severely lacking in demos, and the few demos it has require you to download them to the Wii/SDcard.
WiiWare is WorthLess.

RaylaxStaff

#32

Raylax said:

Lol, what The Fox said. From a developer standpoint, Wiiware blows. The dev kits are expensive, the pricing is fixed, the marketing is near non existent, the demo system is run like some bizarre competition, your product will be lost within the bowels of the strictly-alphabetical Wii Shop within days, and Nintendo are largely uncooperative. I think I'd share his sentiments if I was asked if I wanted to dev for Wiiware.

Token_Girl

#34

Token_Girl said:

He's got a point. WW BARELY has demos. You have to fight to be one of the couple released every week, they're in a separate section, and they only stay up for a month so only a small percentage of games have demos at any given time. At that point, is it even worth taking the time to make one? M$oft, PSN, and Steam will keep them up permanently. Even the iPhone lets you make free "lite" versions that also stay up forever for people to try.

With so much else out there, I wouldn't bother either.

accc

#35

accc said:

I was going to buy Fez when (if?) it comes out, but now I'm not. I'd rather play games that weren't developed by whiny man-children.

grenworthshero

#36

grenworthshero said:

WiiWare may "suck" from a developer's viewpoint, but the fact remains I like games on WiiWare loads better than those on PSN. I don't know anything about XBLA, so I can't say much about that. Though a game featuring a wiener dog in a fez would be freaking awesome.

@outrun2sp
It's all a matter of preference. I don't know about the staff here, but I have a PS3 and I still play the Wii a LOT more than the PS3

Hardy83

#38

Hardy83 said:

Can't wait to see what the limitations for 3DS Ware are. If Nintendo hasn't learned their mistakes by then, then we may as well just give up on online being anything remotely good with a Nintendo system.

MasterGraveheart

#39

MasterGraveheart said:

I'd have given Fez a chance, but if it's developer is going to be like that, I'm not even going to bother with this dope or his Super Cave Story Bros. wannabe game, even if it hit 3DS Ware. It's just like when NBA Jam's developer and reps nixed our exclusive and talked trash about it afterwards.

CanisWolfred

#41

CanisWolfred said:

^I still don't see how you can compare it to a flash game in any manner.

Anywho, I completely agree with what Phil, JayArr, liammiller18, The Fox, Robo-goose, Raylax, and Tokengirl are saying. It's really not that good a service, especially for developers. I also agree with tbd and Odnetnin that it needs to come to the PC.

@Starlight

On a system that gets very little advertising, word of mouth doesn't amount to much. Demoes are the best and easiest way to convince people. Trust me, nothing knocks you over the fence quite like actually playing the game, even if it is just a small portion.

Knux

#43

Knux said:

I agree that WiiWare is not developer-friendly, which leads to angry developers.

imapterodactyl

#44

imapterodactyl said:

The man is absolutely right, and I'm sure there are boatloads of developers out there who feel exactly the same way; boats that Nintendo missed this time around for sure. I can only hope that they've learned a lesson and are planning on a hugely improved online strategy for the next go, or I'll almost definitely be skipping the system's next iteration.

And what's with all the shock over Fish's language? People should be able to be candid in interviews.

And finally, why do so many people turn a discussion of Wiiware's limitations into a "PSN SUCKS THO!" rant? For one, it doesn't even make sense. I actually picked up a PS3 specifically for the downloadable content. Just off the top of my head:

Pixeljunk Monsters
Pixeljunk Eden
Pixeljunk Shooter
Pixeljunk Shooter 2
Hard Corps: Uprising (blows the roof off Contra Rebirth, btw)
Stacking
Costume Quest
Echochrome
Echochrome 2
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Pac-Man Championship Edition DX
Critter Crunch
Super Stardust HD
Lumines Supernova
Joe Danger
Trine
Flow
Braid

.... heck, the list would be way longer if I actually went and looked at my PS3, and if I counted upcoming releases. So quit being butt-hurt because somebody doesn't like the way your system of choice handles it's DLC and responding by complaining about the other services just because you got your feelings hurt. It's silly. Wiiware's got some good exclusives, yes (Bit-Trip!! Art Style!! Fluidity! etc), but it's pretty much guaranteed that if a game is released on all 3 services, the Wiiware version will be gimped. Or Wiiware just won't get a release at all because 40MB and no advertising or demos is simply not worth most developers' struggle.

meppi

#45

meppi said:

Well, I could easily buy Fez on PSN when it comes out, but looking at how he comes off as a , I'm not going to support his games.
Just like I don't buy anything that has Activision on the cover.

WaLzgiStaff

#46

WaLzgi said:

All I have to say is "Don't insult Nintendo. There shall be consequences." "Bleh." and "Like anyone cares" :)

Supremeist

#49

Supremeist said:

Well.
Good luck with your developing, Fez.
We here at Nintendo are having fun with decent WiiWare titles.

Mystic_Kirby

#52

Mystic_Kirby said:

Honestly, he speaks the truth. The only reason I liked Wiiware was because of the BIT.TRIP games. The limitations and overall poor quality control of the games released for the service really impact it. I hope Fez comes to Steam or the PSN because while I can see this as a wiiware title, I know it can't be done.

Wheels2050

#54

Wheels2050 said:

I can't comment on the XBox and PS3, but I have used Steam and in comparison WiiWare is terrible. Don't get me wrong, I've downloaded my share of games from WiiWare and enjoyed it greatly, but it just isn't a great system from a consumer's standpoint IMO (lack of demos, lack of sales, the great disparity between software availability between regions - I understand that isn't all Nintendo's fault though).

Having said that, Mr. Fish's comment was extremely unprofessional. Good luck with your burning bridges...

Sakura_Moonlight2421

#55

Sakura_Moonlight2421 said:

I haven't owned an Xbox or Xbox 360 so sorry but you've just been an insignificant little speck on my screen. :P Good luck getting any profits from me.

Alfred_ENG

#56

Alfred_ENG said:

Thank you Phil Fish. XBLA is a billion times better than WiiWare. Don't get angry at Mr Fish for telling the truth. It's all Nintendos fault.

SilverBaretta

#57

SilverBaretta said:

Lol, this is funny for no apparent reason at all.

I gotta go with JumpMad on this one. Is this really worth getting into a whole "My download service is better than yours!" argument? All the man said was that he didn't like the service (granted, it wasn't in the best way, but still). This has just been one long comment stream of "WiiWare sucks!" "No, PSN sucks!" "No, XBLA sucks!" "No, they all do!" You know something? I've been hearing this same thing for the past 3 years and frankly, it's getting old. :|

@outrun2sp: I own just a Wii, you don't see me complaining (except about this argument :D)

bboy1

#58

bboy1 said:

I've had a Wii since launch and the WiiWare service was great when I first got it. It's still a good service that provides some very good games. I did however get a 360 about 6 months ago and once experiencing XBLA after being oblivious to it, I have to admit that WiiWare is behind in a technological and services standpoint. I mainly get games on XBLA these days since it's just more accessible. Haven't touched WiiWare since getting my 360 but I still do browse it now and again to see if there's anything interesting. I do after all have 6000 Wii Points still in my balance from the Ambassador Program + free Virtual console downloads since I got Platinum status so it's not all bad :P

Of the 14 WiiWare games I've bought though, I''d say only 2 of them I regret buying. Lot of great games like Excitebike, Swords & Soldiers, Onslaught, NyxQuest, FFCC Darklord that I've had a lot of fun with.

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