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.