“We’re bringing the first FEZ patch online, it’s the same patch,” he said in a letter overnight. “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 yes, that sounds utterly bonkers, and it’s one of the things that makes Sony’s PSN stand out for smaller developers.
The problem with (the quite lovely) Fez is that the first patch actually introduced a fairly major bug – it corrupted the save games of a number of users. Phil says it’s “less than a percent” but that’s largely irrelevant, especially if it’s you that’s affected.
“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,” he adds, “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.”
“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,” Fish claims, saying that he believes “the current patch is safe for an overwhelming majority of players.”
The patch does fix a lot, save game corruption aside: framerate issues, loading times, death loops. It originally came out a few weeks back but was pulled when the save game corruption issues appeared.
“To the less-than-1% who are getting screwed, we sincerely apologize,” he says. “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.”
“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.”
Hardly an ideal situation, but where’s the real issue here? That Microsoft charge so much money for a patch to be certified, or that Phil Fish doesn’t want to pay it?