We’ve talked before about how much it costs developers to patch their games on the Xbox Live platform. It’s a ridiculous sum that makes the baby Jesus cry. Especially if you’re an indie developer that barely can afford to pay two employees. Well, that ridiculous premium Microsoft charges has forced Polytron’s hand (the developer of Fez), and therefore, they will not be issuing a patch to their patch to fix the bug that unintentionally deletes 1% of their audience’s save files.
Polytron posted a blog on their official website outlining the situation. You can read it in full below (grammatical errors are their own).
"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"
For the 1% of people affected by this bug, this news probably sucks big time. And like Polytron, our hearts and prayers go out to you for your time wasted. Fez is a massive game and I can’t even imagine losing all my progress and having to start over. But look on the bright side: like chickenpox, this bug doesn’t strike twice (in theory).
Maybe Microsoft can look at this and readdress how they handle the cost of patching on their console, because this is ridiculous. But then again, they probably don’t care at all. Bummer.