Fez Teaser Trailer

By: Brandon McCartin (BMcC)

On: October 10th, 2007

At long last, the great Phil Fish has unveiled in-game footage of his IGF contender Fez.

Early on he had mentioned a big, secret element to the gameplay… but people say that kind of thing all the time, yeah? Usually it’s some gimmick, or something not as great as they imagined. Not so with Fez. Once you experience it, you realize it’s not only no gimmick — it’s an entirely new and compelling experience.

I cannot wait to play the finished game!

It’s fun looking back now and noticing the little hints Phil dropped along the way… If you had a keen enough eye, you probably could’ve figured him out.

Awesome job, Phil and Renaud!

Watch the video. DISCUSS.

UPDATE: Fish just released a new shot of the game showing off their 3D 2D rendering tech, which they call “Trixels.” (Not voxels, I swear!) Check it out here.

Notice how every “pixel” (trixel) is rendered in 3D. Very cool.

UPDATE II: Fez programmer Renaud explains Trixels vs. voxels, and a bit of Fez’s gameplay, on the Kokoromi blog. (Thanks Petri!)

  • Mruqe

    I just love how the “trixels” look. The thing I hate the most about modern gaming is the lack of pixel art in favor of 3D graphics. This, however, looks just enough pixel-artish for me :) Great idea, nice implementation!

  • Lim-Dul

    Hey – Echochrome has been mentioned only twice so far, so I’m gonna mention it again. :-D

    Anyway – I’ve played some kind of tech demo of the wacky M.C. Escher style physics, but Fez looks as if it might be better by LIGHTYEARS, since it doesn’t rely on a sole gimmick but seems to actually have some meat in it.

    Can’t wait to play it…

  • Lim-Dul

    Ah – anybody remembers a game called “Hexplore”? One of the last titles to use Voxels. It looked friggin’ craptastic but you could rotate everything etc. in a time where this was quite rare in games (since 3D games other than shooters were also rare =).

  • PHeMoX

    Loool, I should have known better by now.

    At first I thought; “ah, that’s a pretty neat game with sweet graphics and all”, untill I saw the 2D to 3D flipping. I was like “wow!, that’s awesome!” instantly.

    Great looking game, totally want to try it out sometime.

    Unfortunately, I’m guessing Fez is going to be endlessly compared to SPM now.*

    Yup, I hope not, but I think it’s going to happen anyways.

  • http://gnomeslair.blogspot.com/ gnome

    Amazing! Better than the 3D-2D bits of Paper Mario, I’d daresay…

  • Al King

    Dom White: A key difference with Crush is that you *can’t* play in 3D – as edenb said, much like the contrast between PoP and Braid, in Fez the dimension issue is always present.

  • http://www.cursesfoiled.co.uk BenH

    I think I just did a special wee

  • Jimbob

    Didn’t Tombi do the whole 2D in 3D with switching perspective puzzles way before Paper Mario nevermind Super Paper Mario?

    This looks lush though.

  • http://www.g4g.it FireSword


  • http://internetography.freeforums.org Zeno

    Looks pretty sweet. I hope there’s at least one Escher-esque level.

  • http://doomlaser.com Golds

    Some people have mentioned Echochrome, but I don’t think its a fair comparison.

    Echochrome is Escheresque mind/sight puzzles at its core, whereas Fez comes at 3d perspective shifting from a basis of a classic 2d platformer.

    Oh, and with Echochrome, it looks like Sony snapped up the developer of the Object Location Environment System by Jun Fujiki. Gravious found a page of information and a download for it here. Looks cool!

    I’m anxious to play Fez! And I’m intrigued with how things like enemies and powerups in changed perspectives will behave.

  • http://doomlaser.com Golds

    Some people have mentioned Echochrome, but I don’t think its a fair comparison.

    Echochrome is Escheresque mind/sight puzzles at its core, whereas Fez comes at 3d perspective shifting from the basis of a classic 2d platformer.

    Oh, and with Echochrome, it looks like Sony snapped up the developer of the Object Location Environment System (Jun Fujiki?). Gravious found a page of information and a download for it here. Looks cool!

    I’m anxious to play Fez! And I’m intrigued with how things like enemies and powerups in changed perspectives will behave.

  • Robert

    @Pigbuster & Everyone else

    Basically I’m hearing that the dimension transition in SPM was just a gimmick while it’s going to be an actual mechanic in Fez. I really think everyone’s romanticizing the differences here. Let me start be saying the flipping mechanic in SPM isn’t simply a powerup that you activate when you’re stuck.

    The earlier levels of the game have you moving on an essentially straight path. Here if you come across a pit too large to jump or a wall too high to clear, then yes, you’d simply flip and usually find the solution. As the game goes on however, you see that the 3D mode isn’t a cure-all troubleshooting powerup.

    The 3D perspective doesn’t always provide the “correct” path. If there was a large horizontal platform in the 2D mode, you may find that it’s disjointed and impassible in the 3D perspective. Therefore, you have to utilize the 2 perspectives in unison creatively to advance. It isn’t simply a case of “maneuver around the gimped perspective and flip to the good one for a few seconds when you hit a wall”. There is no “true world” in SPM.

    As the levels go on, they become more intricate and less linear. They become more like areas. Here it isn’t simply a case of flipping when stuck, because you’re not entirely sure where you got stuck. You really have to give some thought about what you should try flipping around. The game isn’t overbearingly difficult, but there are some genuinely clever levels and boss fights. It’s also incredibly charming if you’re in a room with 2 other “flat” 2D characters. One of them is oriented along the x-axis (only visible in the 2D perspective) while the other on the z-axis (only visible in the 3D perspective). Both characters might move around and chatter about parallel dimensions, yet they’re completely oblivious to one another. Also consider Mario, Peach, & Bowser’s unique abilities along with the “pixl’s” and there’s a lot of room for depth here.

    The most notable difference between Fez and SPM is that Fez has 4 different perspectives. What would the additional perspectives provide gameplay-wise that SPM couldn’t do? It could give additional areas to hide the solution in or provide more areas to scatter a multi-part solution in. Essentially, it amounts to more perspective swapping; not necessarily anything new. Sure this could make the puzzles a bit more complex, but it’s certainly not unique.

    Now let me say, I think that Fez looks awesome, and I plan to play it. The issue I’m getting at here is larger than how similar or dissimilar Fez is to Super Paper Mario. It seems to me that not many people had a deep understanding of SPM (or even Fez for that matter), yet they felt it was OK to jump to conclusions to support Fez. Everyone rushed to join the indie support brigade because Fez is “a little guy” with a pretty glaring similarity to “a big guy”. Naturally the indie gaming community wants to support indie game developers. I think that’s fine. However, I’m not OK with lowering our expectations or only selectively paying attention to certain things in order to cut indie games a break. To give Fez or any other indie game special treatment is to do a disservice to indie gaming as a whole.

  • robolee

    agreed robert, well said, however although you say “the flipping mechanic in SPM isn’t simply a powerup that you activate when you’re stuck.” well, 1. yes it is a power-up and 2. the game even says that “if your stuck… flip” (along those lines)

    It would be far greater if your whole party had it and THEN it wouldn’t be a gimmick, I played the whole thing as Mario almost and only had to swap about 10 times for brief periods(of time)

    as soon as I saw this game I knew there was something hidden (and no I’m not just saying that, it seemed too ‘run of the mill’), and I can predict that this game if executed well will be a ‘gem’

  • I Like Cake

    Guys, let it go.

  • http://ptoing.net ptoing

    I totally did not expect this!!!

    Can’t wait to play.

  • Kale


    First off, SPM was a good game. Not a spectacular game by any stretch, but decent. The art design was very slick, but the gameplay felt like a step back.

    SPM never seemed to figure out what type of game it wanted to be… RPG or platformer. The entire jump & gravity system felt very sloppy, especially for a Mario game. The first two Paper Mario games had better feeling jumps and they were used just for traversal, not as the main battle mechanic. The items felt completely tacked on, which other than gaining levels was the only rpg element.

    The biggest area where SPM fell through is that the 2d/3d switch wasn’t as deeply integrated as it should have been. Mario was the only one who could do it, so you constantly had to switch to Mario, flip to 3d, switch back to the character you wanted to use. On top of that was the fact that the player was punished for being in 3d, though the timer was pretty slow, it still acted to keep the player from staying in that view.

    Having a realistic expectation of what a team of two can do, as opposed to a team of 30-40 is necessarily ‘lowering’ your expectations.

    So far I am quite impressed with what they have managed to put together, though I would like to hear a better description of how their system is different from Voxels. It shows the potential, a good style, and a stronger core-mechanics for a platformer than SPM had.

    I do agree that just having things hidden by different perspectives won’t be enough to carry the game, but it doesn’t seem like that is what Fish has in mind.

    Show us some gameplay examples, and let’s get awesome!

  • http://www.shotbeakgames.za.net/niche Tr00jg


  • Jacob

    Wow, didn’t see that one coming.

    Better make sure Mr. Blow (Jon, not Joe) doesn’t take a cue or he’ll have you trumped by a whole D.

    and then came the inferno.

  • Jason Rohrer

    Just a few links to contribute:

    First, a one-minute video review of Super Paper Mario (so we’re all on the same page about the flipping mechanic):


    Second, the 1884 book Flatland, which was referenced a few times:


  • ChrisSketch

    The 3D reveal really took me by surprise.

    I think this looks better than SPM, personally. My main beef with SPM, is that it never really lived up to its platforming roots (granted I didn’t play the whole game). But it was funny and charming, I’ll give it that, but it could have been so much more. I’m sure they’ll make another Paper edition in the series though.

    But I am SO SO much more excited about Fez now. It really looks legendary.

  • Jonathan Blow

    Heh, I already have 51 games on my To-Do list, I’m not about to add another one.

    Fez looks cool. I will definitely buy a copy when it is done. I liked Crush, though I felt that it didn’t really mine its core mechanic in the way that it could have… it fell back too readily to the philosophy of making puzzles ever-more-complicated. (Though it is still a really good game that everyone should play).

    Though Crush definitely does do the 2D/3D thing much better than Super Paper Mario. You can sign me up on the “SPM dimension swapping was a gimmick” bandwagon. I really felt that the designers of SPM were out of their depth.

  • http://www.tscreative.net BMcC

    Robert: That post would be well and good if it didn’t misunderstand Fez’s gameplay. Not that the gameplay was showed off in the trailer, really. But still.

    How about being excited about a new game by default, instead of whining about its similarities to other games? Would that be so bad? Do people rant this much about the vast majority of games that are much more similar to many more titles than Fez?

    Fez doesn’t look, play, or feel like SPM at all. And I honestly doubt the creators have even played Crush. This is a new game with real soul. Appreciate it, for God’s sake, people.

  • Advenith

    Oh, wow. Just… Wow.


  • konjak

    BMcC, people haven’t played it like you! We only have this to judge on so far so we can’t really understand until we see more.

  • smoothy

    cave story and underside rip off D:

  • Petri Purho

    There’s a post on kokoromi.org explaining the trixel / voxel / pixel thing (a.k.a. The tech behind the game).

  • fish

    its human nature to compare things to other things, to make associations. so i understand why about half the things being said about the games are of the “its like SPM/CRUSH!!! LOL” nature.

    i was expecting that, of course.

    but i do wish people could just let it be as its own game. i didnt like SPM and i didnt even play CRUSH for fuck’s sake.


    regarding the critics about how the teaser dosent show off actual gameplay… its a TEASER. i am TEASING you with my TEASER.
    i TEASE.

    i think i will however, make a little walkthrough video of the IGF level, just to shut you all up ;)

    the IGF level is the most basic level i could make. you run, you jump, you rotate. and THATS IT.

    its an introduction to the mechanic, and a little taste of what the potential is.

    that should give you all a much better idea of what the game is about.

    and even then, its still SO EARLY.

    i have big plans.

  • Robert

    BMcC: I’m not whining about how similar Fez is to SPM at all. The purpose of my post wasn’t to try and say “SPM is awesome & Fez is a rip-off”. I even said I’m more concerned with something other than how similar/dissimilar the two are. The only reason I bothered was to deviate from everyone else preemptively getting uppity and defensive about Fez.

    I thought I was pretty clear when I said I thought Fez looks awesome. It definitely impresses me. My real gripe was with everyone’s initial reactions. It’s almost as if I’d walked into a kitchen to see a mangled chocolate cake and a little boy covered in frosting. Before I can finish saying “What happened to the-” the boy yells “I didn’t touch the cake!!”

  • fish

    as long as fez is the cake.

  • http://www.tscreative.net BMcC

    Robert: Sorry, not all of that post was directed at you. Just that first bit, really. :P

    Admittedly, I am a bit touchy about this kind of stuff lately…

    Konjak: Sure, fine, but why default to doubt with something lovely like this?

    Petri: Cheers, mate! :)

  • Jonathan Blow

    The cake is a lie!

  • Jacob

    American Pie 5: “One time at FEZ camp…”

  • http://http:://www.tscreative.net BMcC

    Haha, thanks for that, Jacob. :P

  • Nikica

    Amazing !!!

  • Kale

    @Petri Purho

    Thanks for posting the stuff about the Trixels. Fish, those sound pretty awesome, figured you had do be doing something special with them cause they look a hell of a lot better than the voxel based weapons pickups I remember from Shadow Warrior.


    Has the Kokoromi’s ‘Gamma 256’ been written up here yet? It sounds wicked awesome and I may have to work something up for that.

  • http://www.tscreative.net BMcC


    No respect. :P

    Yeah, it’s been written about! I’ll have another post related to it shortly…

  • garsh

    I’m kinda disappointed. It might still be good, but a 3D game will be more demanding on my poor little notebook. My expectation was some kind of unusual gameplay mechanic, not just a 2D game that burdens me with a camera. I hope there will be surprises later that make it worthwhile.

  • http://www.tscreative.net BMcC

    It doesn’t burden you with the camera. The camera flips to four set angles. It’s no trouble at all to get used to (and a lot of fun).

  • Dominic White

    garsh: Watch the video again, the gameplay mechanic is that the actual shape of the level changes depending on which angle you’re looking at it from. When the camera isn’t moving, the world is entirely 2d.

    Seriously though, this is the EXACT same thing that Crush did, only Crush let you run around in 3d as well, and view from a top-down perspective too.

    Here’s a gameplay video:

    As cool as Fez looks, if it WAS an original concept during development, then it’s a very unfortunate coincidence that another recent game did the exact same thing.

  • http://jayenkai.socoder.net/ Jayenkai

    Nice idea but, as Garsh suggested, that’s going to kill my system rendering all those pixels.
    True, my system mostly sucks, but it’d be a shame to miss out on a decent platform/puzzler because of the lack of hardware.

    The same thing could’ve been done with simpler textures, no need for fancy pixel rendering. True, you might not get the full “retro-pixel” look, but.. ..
    I dunno.
    Seems a little overboard to me.

  • Tanner

    Super Paper Mario + Crush + Cave Story= Fez? HELL YES!

  • http://www.tscreative.net BMcC

    Jayenkai: Phil mentioned this, but the game only renders the Trixels it has to. I imagine there’s some nice optimization algorithm that combines flat surfaces into single quads. It ran fine on my machine, which isn’t a nice machine by any means.

  • fish

    we’re working on something that should make it playable on older systems.
    its not that heavy, i mean, yes, there’s a lot of polys, but there’s no complex physics or crazy AI or real time lighting. all the resources can be spent on polys.

    right now it runs at 60fps on a decent machine.
    we’re aiming for a good 30 on even older machines.

    ill let you all know.

  • BreadCultist

    Best thing I’ve seen this week.

  • DestronPrime

    http://fc03.deviantart.com/fs18/f/2007/189/0/a/haus_by_phishy.jpg looking at this picture would have been a HUGE hint at what was to come, but because we didn’t expect anything it wasn’t.
    When I saw it I first thought “AWESOME”, but then I realised the door was impossible to get to… So now I understand! There could be anything behind there. So there is a great example of what it could do.

  • SuperHotChick

    Well that’s all good, but will there be any indoor locations? I mean it does work in the sky and stuff, but if it’s in a cave?

  • fish

    if it was in a cave id get even more “looks like cave story lol” comments.

    there are going to be other “worlds” tho, of course.

  • Skaldicpoet9

    I definitely cannot wait to see the actual gameplay. I don’t know what the whole Cave Story deal is though, it looks decidedly different then Cave Story. Kudos on the game fish….keep up the great work man :)

  • flynn