Polytron’s Fez had a patch go live last month to fix a slew of small errors and visual bugs, only to find out that the patchÂ inadvertentlyÂ killed the save files of a small percentage of players. The patch was pulled and Polytron promised to look into a fix. Now the patch is back, only it can still cause save file corruptions. Why is the patch going back online with a known bug? According to Phil Fish of Polytron, it’s just too expensive to fix.
The patch for Fez went live a month ago and purported to fix several known glitches and bugs, including a pretty nasty infinite death loop. However, when the patch went live and was installed and played by thousands of Fez players, Polytron soon found that their patch perhaps wasn’t as good as it had first seemed. While the patch fixed several bugs for the game, it also corrupted the save game file for a number of people. Polytron and Microsoft immediately pulled the patch and promised that a follow-up would be on the way shortly.
A follow-up has been announced, but it isn’t what many were expecting. The original patch has been re-uploaded to Xbox Live as it was, with no changes, and it doesn’t look like any further patches will be made to Fez..
Posting on the Polytron site, Phil Fish cited financial reasons for re-uploading the patch as it was. “Paying so much money for patches makes NO SENSE AT ALL,” wrote Fish. “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!”
It has been suggested that the number of people affected by save file corruption due to the patch is “less than 1%”
“For 99% of people, it makes Fez a better game.” Fish says. “To the less-than-1% who are getting screwed, we sincerely apologize.”
“ItÂ wasnâ€™tÂ an easy decision, but in the end, paying such a large sum of money to jump through so many hoops justÂ doesnâ€™tÂ 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 byÂ Microsoft for being exclusive to their platform. Nothing could be further from the truth. WE pay THEM.”
The ire against Microsoft and their policy of charging for title updates after the first has once again become a talking point for developers and fans. Speaking on Twitter, Double Fine’s Tim Schafer came out inÂ defenseÂ of Polytron: “This situation sucks @Polytron should be able to patch his game as much as he wants for free. So frustrating.”
Other developers weren’t so sympathetic, with Tim Browne, who is working on Assassin’s Creed III, tweeting “I’m really not liking howÂ @PolytronÂ are blaming MS for their problem. If you can’t afford the 2nd patch make sure you fix it all in the 1st. Every dev has the same rules to abide by. MS do this to help increase the quality of games and avoid it being treated as the PC market.”