Arthouse Games
by jcr13Tuesday, October 16, 2007 [7:15 am]

I am aware that Super Paper Mario and Crush do something similar with a switch between 2D and 3D.

However, both of those games let you run around in 3D space---you need to switch from 2D to 3D, back and forth, to solve puzzles. If you're stuck in 2D, try 3D. If you're stuck in 3D, try switching back to 2D. Even comparing those two games to each other, we see major differences (SPM only offers you one 2D projection, as I understand).

Fez is different, because it's all about 2D projection. Though the world is 3D, you are still a 2D creature "stuck" in 2D space. You can pick one of four 2D projections of this space to navigate through, but you're never allowed to navigate in 3D.

You might say, "well, that's just a subset of Crush's functionality, like taking that game and lopping off some features." (Crush, from what I've seen, offers five 2D projections {front, back, left, right, and top}, along with the navigable 3D view).

But that view of game design is off the mark, I think. It's not about features or functionality. We're not talking about cars with or without airbags, AC, overdrive, and anti-lock brakes. We're talking about games. We don't compare Go th Checkers and say, "Checkers is better because you can jump."

Fez has a very specific purpose (in part, to put you in the shoes of a 2D character in a 3D world). Everything about it, all the way up to pixelated art style, speaks to that purpose. My guess is that Fez was not inspired by either SPM or Crush, even though those games were around first. It has a completely different goal than either of those games. Of course, we shouldn't speculate about inspirations---we should go ask the Kokoromi folks directly, and I will, in an interview that will be posted here soon.

Why didn't I talk about this issue in the preview? Didn't you think the preview was long enough already? Besides, this issue had been beaten to death (100+ comments) on TIGSource before I even got my hands on Fez to play it.

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