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245 Comments

Maybe Go Ahead and Download That Fez Patch After All

The developer says the costs associated with releasing another patch via Xbox Live were just too great, so what you've got is what you've got.

Don't worry, the Fez patch is "good enough" for Microsoft. So it's probably fine. No, really.

Remember a few weeks back when Polytron released the first patch for its Xbox Live Arcade title Fez? And then that patch turned out to have a save file corruption issue that destroyed saves for players who had completed, or were close to completing the game? And then Polytron took down the patch so that it could fix the issue and release a new patch? Right, nix that last part, and you're officially up to speed on where things are at.

Posting late yesterday on the official Polytron blog, Polytron designer and mouthpiece Phil Fish announced that it would not be making a new patch after all. The reason? Costs. According to Fish, Microsoft would charge them "tens of thousands of dollars" to submit the new patch and have it approved.

"The save file delete bug only happens to less than a percent of players," Fish added. "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."

Fish says because of the low number of players affected, Microsoft deems the old patch "good enough." But obviously that wasn't good enough for Fish, who seemed pretty pissed off about having to make this choice.

"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."

This is far from the first time we've heard a smaller developer complain about the costs associated with patching games on Xbox Live. Hell, back at Harmonix, I remember even then, with MTV money being tossed around, we still had to crunch the numbers pretty hard to figure out what things we were going to patch, and when. Some might view Microsoft's re-certification cost as something of a deterrent to developers releasing buggy or unfinished projects, but for a team as small as Polytron, it kinda screws them over, even if their game is in "good enough" shape.

Fish also lamented that had Fez released on Steam, this would all have been taken care of quickly and at no cost to them. Though Fez is currently an Xbox Live exclusive, Fish remarked on Twitter that there are "Only a few months left to our XBLA exclusivity!" Sounds like a man counting down the days, if I ever heard one.

Alex Navarro on Google+
245 Comments
Posted by Alex
Don't worry, the Fez patch is "good enough" for Microsoft. So it's probably fine. No, really.

Remember a few weeks back when Polytron released the first patch for its Xbox Live Arcade title Fez? And then that patch turned out to have a save file corruption issue that destroyed saves for players who had completed, or were close to completing the game? And then Polytron took down the patch so that it could fix the issue and release a new patch? Right, nix that last part, and you're officially up to speed on where things are at.

Posting late yesterday on the official Polytron blog, Polytron designer and mouthpiece Phil Fish announced that it would not be making a new patch after all. The reason? Costs. According to Fish, Microsoft would charge them "tens of thousands of dollars" to submit the new patch and have it approved.

"The save file delete bug only happens to less than a percent of players," Fish added. "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."

Fish says because of the low number of players affected, Microsoft deems the old patch "good enough." But obviously that wasn't good enough for Fish, who seemed pretty pissed off about having to make this choice.

"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."

This is far from the first time we've heard a smaller developer complain about the costs associated with patching games on Xbox Live. Hell, back at Harmonix, I remember even then, with MTV money being tossed around, we still had to crunch the numbers pretty hard to figure out what things we were going to patch, and when. Some might view Microsoft's re-certification cost as something of a deterrent to developers releasing buggy or unfinished projects, but for a team as small as Polytron, it kinda screws them over, even if their game is in "good enough" shape.

Fish also lamented that had Fez released on Steam, this would all have been taken care of quickly and at no cost to them. Though Fez is currently an Xbox Live exclusive, Fish remarked on Twitter that there are "Only a few months left to our XBLA exclusivity!" Sounds like a man counting down the days, if I ever heard one.

Staff
Posted by Morningstar

Pity =(

Posted by smitty86

* patiently waits for Fez on Steam*

Posted by SpaceDandie

shitty business...just shitty business.

Posted by TruthTellah

The end to that Xbox exclusivity can't come soon enough! Share this game with even more people. :)

Posted by mropinion

Oh Phil Fish.

Posted by Woodwater

That's messed up on a few levels.

Posted by Beaudacious

A patch costing tens of thousands of dollars? Really Microsoft?

Posted by kerse

thats kinda shitty

Posted by mattman734

wow that's crazy I assumed that it would just be free to patch stuff considering that they aren't putting development time into it and are collecting money on the sales. But hey say what you will Microsoft dose have pretty good standards for the stuff that goes down on Xbox live.

Posted by DeanoXD

the mouthpiece comment wasn't needed alex but i guess its just the pot calling the kettle black.

Posted by Vitor

Him, Team Meat and Jonathan Blow were all guys who signed a deal with MS and have come to regret it after the fact.

If MS don't sort out their cert issues and advertising for indie games for their next box, that whole scene is going to move to PSN or, more likely, Steam.

Posted by wilsonk

This is garbage, if i know how stupid Microsofts patching system is then Phil Fish sure as hell should and if he wasn't happy with it he shouldn't have sold people a game he was going to patch once or twice and then abandon.

Posted by TooWalrus

I haven't played FEZ yet, but I'll gladly wait for the Steam version.

Edited by Codeacious

Maybe that'll give him incentive to bring it to another platform where they don't charge developers thousands just to fix a mistake. Granted, some would argue to not make it in the first place, but then they've never apparently tried to debug something as complex as a videogame.

Seriously, 360 cert + patching costs is the worst.

Posted by Quarters

Man...this does not paint MS in a good light. Super lame.

Edited by dvorak

Basically the idea is that we can just wait for Steam. I'm cool with that. It had such terrible performance on my Xbox, even after going through the list of things to try and fix it, I just decided to wait. I think I got to around 140% and the game was just locking up and slowing down so much, it just became way too frustrating to continue.

Also, the first time I got to around 50%, when the game locked up and I had to restart because my save became corrupted.

Everything else since seems to be fine, so I must be one of those outside cases.

Posted by NinjaBerd

I'm confused, Microsoft is charging literally millions of subscribers $60 a year for Gold accounts, and gets ad money from those people, and it costs "tens of thousands" of dollars to patch a $15 game I bought??

Posted by Alex

@DeanoXD: He's literally the company's mouthpiece. He's the only spokesperson for that company.

Staff
Posted by TadThuggish

Let's stop pretending the earlyCoDmaps/Zunerentals/IGNbabez! machine is for exclusive video games.

Posted by 2HeadedNinja

@smitty86 said:

* patiently waits for Fez on Steam*

+1

Posted by MatthewSerious

Weird, but I'm starting to like Phil Fish. He's being fairly sane and pragmatic about this, but apologizing quite humbly to the players the bug still affects

Posted by vonFlampanker

After Limbo and Bastion, I adopted a policy of having patience and waiting for the Steam releases of these types of games. Appears to have paid off in this instance.

Edited by DeanoXD

@Alex: I agree with that point but say the developer, the spokesperson but why be derogatory by using mouthpiece?

Edited by Abendlaender

I remember how Fish bascially freaked out when someone asked him about a PC Version before the XBLA release. Doesn't seem like such a bad a idea now, eh?

Hypocrit

Posted by FateOfNever

So.. still waiting on that Steam version! Let's hope it's in the relatively near future.

Posted by LoktarOgar

"Especially when you consider the alternative."
 
Wait, what? Maybe I'm just tired, but what's the alternative?

Posted by WrenchNinja

But I thought this was a comfy couch game, Phil.

Posted by Fireburst

The massive cost required to issue a patch for games on xbox live is ridiculous when there are companies like Valve letting developers patch their games for free via Steam.

Posted by Alex

@DeanoXD: Because he's a mouthy guy? I mean, dude talks a lot. Dude's opinionated. Dude spouts off a lot via the company's official twitter account. I think it's aptly descriptive.

Staff
Posted by Undeadpool

@DeanoXD said:

@Alex: I agree with that point but say the developer, the spokesperson but why be derogatory by using mouthpiece?

Mouthpiece isn't inherently a derogatory term. You're reading something into it that's not there.

Posted by san_salvador

Well, they had the money for a five year developement and a patch - and still failed pretty hard in terms of programming quality.

Making Microsoft the bad boy here is shameful and dishonest,

Posted by Phatmac

Man, with so many reports of Microsoft's shitty treatment of indie games on xbox arcade it makes me wonder why so many indie devs ride their hopes on XBLA. This situation is ridiculous and hopefully other devs decide to publish their games on steam or PSN.

Posted by MrXBob

I love the fact that everyone here seems to be hating on Microsoft as if they're the only people to do this. Sony do it. Nintendo would do it if they allowed as many patches as other systems do.

Fact of the matter is, they cannot let patches fly out for all games whenever the developers decide to do one, for many reasons - the main one being that if something fucks up, it makes the console manufacturer look bad. Patches need testing and certifying, and that costs money to pay people to do.

The Fez patch was tested for what it was made to do - the problem is, nobody seemed to check what happened to older saves, and that is why the corruption error slipped through.

Please, enough of the circle-jerk.

Posted by MariachiMacabre
@Undeadpool

@DeanoXD said:

@Alex: I agree with that point but say the developer, the spokesperson but why be derogatory by using mouthpiece?

Mouthpiece isn't inherently a derogatory term. You're reading something into it that's not there.

I mean, it definitely could be there because Phil has said some seriously dumb thing in the past. But, in this case, I think DeanoXD is reading too much into it.
Online
Posted by dr_mantas

Should have put it out on Steam to begin with, I would be itching to buy it. And the Summer Sale is going on right now.

You made a mistake, Fish.

Posted by UncleBenny

With my xbox on the fritz, I am perfectly happy to wait for fez to come out on steam.

Edited by DeanoXD

@Alex: @Undeadpool: I guess it bugs me because i have never seen anyone on GB write mouthpiece in reference to Jaffe (who i love) and you want to talk about someone who expresses his opinions and if they did i would find it disrespectful so, i think i will agree to disagree.

Posted by AaronChance

@Phatmac said:

Man, with so many reports of Microsoft's shitty treatment of indie games on xbox arcade it makes me wonder why so many indie devs ride their hopes on XBLA. This situation is ridiculous and hopefully other devs decide to publish their games on steam or PSN.

Other devs didn't say that their game had to be played from a comfy couch, and computers were only good for spreadsheets. Phil Fish said all that.

Posted by Alex

@DeanoXD: Yeah, I think you're just reading something different into it than I intended. Agreeing to disagree is probably all we can do right now.

Staff
Posted by Ravenlight

@DeanoXD said:

I agree with that point but say the developer, the spokesperson but why be derogatory by using mouthpiece?

The word "mouthpiece" is not being used in a negative context in Alex's article. I'd argue that the word has never traditionally been used as a derogatory descriptor.

Posted by Gunslinger0130

Last time I checked this was Fish's baby, a piece of art he poured his soul into for years and now he's saying that he's not going to patch it into a solid product because it's too expensive? Fuckin' sellout.

Posted by Skooky
@MrXBob said:

I love the fact that everyone here seems to be hating on Microsoft as if they're the only people to do this. Sony do it. Nintendo would do it if they allowed as many patches as other systems do.

Everybody's doing it!
Posted by Xer0Signal

Signing a contract that says "you'll need a lot of money to patch it" and then complaining about needing a lot of money to patch it is a bitch move.

I guess I lucked out and didn't run into this problem when I played it, and, it's a shitty situation, but, MS isn't the only one to blame here. They shouldn't be charging money like that, but, they do, so, them's the rules. If you agree to that, deal with it.

Posted by DeanoXD

@Alex: Maybe, but hey i am Canadian so i am inherently over sensitive to manners :)

Posted by dvorak

@Ravenlight said:

@DeanoXD said:

I agree with that point but say the developer, the spokesperson but why be derogatory by using mouthpiece?

The word "mouthpiece" is not being used in a negative context in Alex's article. I'd argue that the word has never traditionally been used as a derogatory descriptor.

Yeah I don't think that he understands the connotations of the term "mouthpiece".

But who really gives a shit, right? I can't even believe I'm posting this comment.

Posted by Gunslinger0130

Not only does this shed a negative light on Microsofts policies but also on Phil Fish himself. After spending hundreds - scratch that, thousands of man hours sweating over making his "masterpiece", his unwillingness to drop the final polishing patch on his product to bring it to 100% seems.... I don't know, like bullshit. Sometimes, in art there are hiccups, you either deal with them and make the creation you envisioned from the outset or you give up and move on, seems like he's giving up at the finish line to me.

Edited by mnzy
@LoktarOgar said:

"Especially when you consider the alternative."  Wait, what? Maybe I'm just tired, but what's the alternative?

I guess having buggy or broken games out on XBL? Microsoft cannot want that.
Posted by VargasPrime

@Gunslinger0130 said:

Last time I checked this was Fish's baby, a piece of art he poured his soul into for years and now he's saying that he's not going to patch it into a solid product because it's too expensive? Fuckin' sellout.

I...

don't think that's what "sellout" means. Not being able to justify spending what he says is "tens of thousands of dollars" to re-certify the game is not something I can really fault him for. They're a small indie developer. They're not Ubisoft or EA. They don't necessarily have a spare $20k to plunk down.

Posted by TheLastGunslinger

I can't imagine how much it must suck to get hit with that bug. Fez is a game that gives more as you put more into it. To get deep into the game and then lose it all would turn me off of it for good.