If you haven’t played it, Polytron’s dimension-warping, 8-bit aesthetic puzzle platformer Fez is one of the very best games on Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade service. It’s also broken; a recent patch for the game could potentially corrupt save games – leaving people losing hours of play. That patch weas recalled. It’s now been reissued, as is, still capable of destroying your saved game. Why? Microsoft wants too much money to certify a new patch.
It’s something we’ve discussed before, when Double Fine’s Tim Schafer said it cost as much as $40,000 to issue a game patch on consoles. Because Polytron is a small independent studio, that kind of money (which could be used for, y’know…food) is just far too much to spend on issuing a small patch – so the game will remain broken on the Xbox 360 forever.
Here’s Polytron’s eloquent statement on the matter:
We’re bringing the first FEZ patch online. It’s the same patch.
We’re not going to patch the patch.
Why not? Because microsoft would charge us tens of thousands of dollars to re-certify the game.
And because as it turns out, the save file delete bug only happens to less than a percent of players. It’s a shitty numbers game to be playing for sure, but as a small independent, paying so much money for patches makes NO SENSE AT ALL. especially when you consider the alternative. Had FEZ been released on steam instead of XBLA, the game would have been fixed two weeks after release, at no cost to us. And if there was an issue with that patch, we could have fixed that right away too!
We believe the save file corruption issue mostly happened to players who had completed, or almost completed the game. If you hadn’t already seen most of what FEZ had to offer, your save file is probably safe. It doesn’t happen if you start a new game.
We believe the current patch is safe for an overwhelming majority of players.
The patch fixes almost everything that’s been wrong with the game since launch. The framerate issues, the loading, the skips, the death loops, everything! All that stuff is fixed! And right now, nobody can get to it since the patch was pulled. For 99% of people, it makes FEZ a better game.
To the less-than-1% who are getting screwed, we sincerely apologize. We know this hurts you the most, because you’re the ones who put the most times into the game. And this breaks our hearts. We hope you dont think back on your time spent in FEZ as a total waste.Microsoft gave us a choice: either pay a ton of money to re-certify the game and issue a new patch (which for all we know could introduce new issues, for which we’d need yet another costly patch), or simply put the patch back online. They looked into it, and the issue happens so rarely that they still consider the patch to be "good enough".
It wasn’t an easy decision, but in the end, paying such a large sum of money to jump through so many hoops just doesn’t make any sense. We already owe microsoft a LOT of money for the privilege of being on their platform. People often mistakenly believe that we got paid by Microsoft for being exclusive to their platform. Nothing could be further from the truth. WE pay THEM.
So we’re going to go ahead and put Title Update back online, and for a vast majority of people it’s going to make FEZ a better game.
Thank you for your understanding and continuing support.
The Polytron Team
Last Updated: July 19, 2012