Fez Won’t Be Fixed Because Microsoft Wants Too Much Money

Fez Won’t Be Fixed Because Microsoft Wants Too Much Money
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Polytron, the developers of indie hit Fez, have issued a surprising statement regarding the potentially game-breaking patch they recently released, then recalled.

The full statement:

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 per cent 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 apologise. 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


  • I think its poetic justice to say in response “Phil Fish games SUCK” So take your excuses somewhere else little man because Japanese games dont release games with bugs. Thats a western thing.

    • That’s a pretty weeaboo comment. Plenty of famous Japanese games are bug-ridden. Nearly every 3D Zelda game has had at least one game-breaking bug. Final Fantasy I and VI are filled with broken code as well.

      Games are software. All non-trivial software has bugs. End of story.

    • Was there a publishing deal with Microsoft at all that secures exlusivity?
      I think there was something similar for Iron Brigade. I’d love to see both on Steam

    • I think that (if you’ve got a really good game) XBLA sales tend to be the highest out of all the download services – I mean look at the ridiculous amount of sales Minecraft and Trials Evolution racked up in a matter of weeks, already over 100,000 people have bought Fez if the leaderboards are a reliable guide.

  • I understand, but try explaining that to someone who’s getting screwed and doesn’t want to hear excuses. One would imagine Microsoft could look the other way with a patch to fix a boken game, if anything they should be paying the devs, by not fixing the patch, people who see the game and haven’t bought it will think “I remember hearing about that game, it’s broken” and not purchase it, losing sales for both parties. Where is the common sense?

    • Except if they look the other way on this one, then the next company who needs to patch their game will ask “hey they didn’t need to pay, why do I have to?”.

    • If Microsoft can find a way to nickel and dime anyone, they’ll do it. I’m playing my 360 less and less because of their attitude towards pricing.

      • I don’t know the guy, (Phil or jeevs), but Phil certainly came off as a whingy little opinionated guy who thinks both himself and his game are better than everyone else in Indie game: the movie.

        At least that’s what I thought of him in it.

  • Pretty sure we can legally demand a refund from Microsoft for selling a game that is faulty, that you know can not be completed as its defective and will not function as expected.
    At least here in Australia.

    Microsoft should allow them to patch the code to fix any game breaking bugs for free – it benefits not only the dev but them as well, and the consumers!!!!!!!!

    If the dev wants to put additional dlc ( new levels, avatars, music etc) then that’s different and they should have to pay as normal.

  • Forgot to mention, I downloaded this game from live about a week ago and I definitely have a bad taste in my mouth. I’m not going o get stuck into it knowing I might not even get past a certain point.

    I’m waiting a week and if there’s no announcement of a free fix I will be dema ding my money back.
    I hope anyone else who’s downloaded it does the same so they know gamers won’t tolerate this shit.

    • If you havent started playing it yet you wont have an issue.
      I thought the issue was that anyone with a saved game prior to the patch had the chance of the save becoming corrupt? so any new games after patch wont have this issue.

      • And on that note, FEZ is such an amazing game that even starting again, wouldnt upset me all taht much, i had planed to play it again anyway.

    • Maybe see if it breaks for you. I got 100% with no problems and lots of other people did too. Obviously if it breaks then go for your life, but don’t deny yourself one of the best games of the year out of fear.

  • This is a major problem I have with Microsoft that is seriously hurting their console. People are now under the impression that patches take every long amounts of time in order to be released and that they’re only willing to do so once because it’s taking up so much time with their new projects.
    This was a serious issue with Halo: Reach, they released a Title Update that was split right down the middle. For the people who hate it (like me) we were mostly annoyed because we wouldn’t be seeing another TU to help fix any problems they ignored and any new problems from the TU.

    Microsoft really needs to pull their head out of their ass when it comes to patches.

    • I just wish I didn’t have to re-download updates (if I hadn’t played a game in some time) they suggest to “clear the cache” but that does stuff-all and because I tend to rotate games rather than play one for an extended period I end up downloading the same updates over and over.

  • As far as I understand it, releasing a patch to fix bugs is costly, because Microsoft wanted you to have a bug free game in the first place. But if you release a patch with lots of new content, that’s no where near as costly.
    Can anyone in-the-know confirm this?

    • The argument then is why did Microsoft let the game be sold in the first place? Before they release the game it has to go through a Quality process with Microsoft themselves.

      They do reject people, the developers behind The Pinball Arcade have recently had a number of updates rejected by MS over the last few weeks.

  • How many years and it’s released with bugs that sound horrible? And how much money do you think they made from sales? Over 100k units sold? Please… poor, poor fish.

  • That sounds like a weak excuse. They’re blaming Microsoft when they clearly released a faulty game. Why not spend a few extra dollars for your paying customers to ensure you increase goodwill?

    I was going to buy this game after finishing off abit of my pile of shame. Seems like I most likely won’t now.

    • Because “a few extra dollars” is $40,000 for re-certification (or a figure in that area). Again if you read the actual statement you’ll find that they already owe Microsoft a lot of money just to be released on the platform. I don’t blame them for not wanting to increase that debt further.

    • That is what I was thinking… On the plus side stuff like this should drive more developers away from XBLA to Steam and into the arms of the PC master race.

          • Every time I hear someone refer to PC gamers as the “Master race” it just makes me think less and less of them. It comes across as being incredibly narcissistic and up yourself.

          • I get the logic of trying to “take something back” but in this case it still comes across to me in the way I said above.

            Just play games on the platform you want to and enjoy them. Why pigeonhole yourself into the hardware you happen to be embracing at that moment?

          • Because of the discrimination that comes from OTHER people pigeonholing us. Go play Deadspace on the PC after playing it on the 360 and try to tell me that developer/publisher/gamer perceptions of platform choice aren’t hurting the experience for some people.

            “Discrimination isn’t big deal, just go about your business and don’t give a shit about what other people think,” was a pretty common denial argument from groups not discriminated against in employment, too. Sucked the big one for people who couldn’t get the jobs, though.
            This isn’t anywhere NEAR that scale, but it’s the same underlying principle – discrimination exists. You can ignore it and hope it will go away, or you can deal with it. (HOW you deal with it is another story.)

          • At this particular moment in time, purchasing console games is tantamount to supporting the eradication of creativity and innovation in gaming. The big publishers completely dominate the console market and they are mostly producing shovelware (albiet with massive production budgets). Hell, the entire console model of gaming is slowly killing our hobby…

    • You have to remember that when the deal was signed, XBLA was in it’s prime. It was considered “the place to be” for independent game development. When FEZ signed the deal, Steam wasn’t considered the prime distribution method for independent games that it is now. Since Polytron can’t reign on the deal, and the deal enforces exclusivity, they really don’t have much of a choice in this area.

  • What a cop-out.
    If they were going to use the players as beta testers, they should’ve started on Steam so they could patch it easily.
    They knew what they were getting into when they signed with XBLA and now they’re having a cry that they have to spend money to fix a problem that shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

  • So this is basically Phil Fish saying to gamers “Suck my dick” like he said to the people who thought he didn’t deserve winning an Indie Gamer award for the same (unreleased at the time) game 2 years in a row?

    Hey, don’t moderate me. Those are Phil Fish’s words.

    By the way, he didn’t release the game because “PCs are for spreadsheets”. You reap what you sow.

  • I’m with Microsoft on this one.

    Consoles are not PC’s… I remember a time when games couldn’t be patched.
    I’m sure it’s not their intent to change the QA procedures of companies… but if a certification fee prevents developers from releasing broken games, then so much the better.

    • Consoles are glorified PC’s. Games can now be patched very easily.

      Issuing updates shouldn’t be this much of a pain in the ass and shouldn’t cost ANYTHING to put online. The way this works seems really backwards to me and just ends up screwing consumers more than anything.

  • Ok, look, I know we all hate ” big business”. I hate how Microsoft has ADS on my Xbox live that I pay for. When companies like Penny Arcade are trying to get rid of them. But, Phil Fish KNEW what he was getting in to. He KNEW that Microsoft CHARGES you fees to not only put your game on the marketplace , but also to patch it. I’m going to be very blunt about this. This was a profit deal. Phil Fish studio would get more sales on XBL than PSN and Steam because Microsoft would try to push it. There are a ton of people who log on to XBL so you have a good chance at getting a sale.

    Phil Fish shouldn’t be blaming Microsoft and trying to pass the buck to them. All he’s trying to do is get people to not blame him. Sadly, it is all his fault. Business isn’t like surprise sex. You have a contract that explains everything to you. You know the risk/reward of going to someone like Sony/Microsoft (Oh btw, it isn’t just Microsoft who has this practice, it’s Sony as well.) If he wanted to not be greedy, he should have went to steam. Would he have made as much money? Doubtful, but the community over at Steam is WAY more forgiving than XBL/PSN because they never really do “sales” or take forever to get a fix to game bugs.

    Have I played Fez? No. Do I think Fez is a bad game? No, I think it looks like fun and it would have been a nice change instead of Halo, CoD, GoW, and BF spam we get every/other year. I’m just simply saying instead of blaming Microsoft/Sony for this “we can’t patch it because it cost too much” it should be put on Phil Fish and his studio. My advice to all of you is that if you ever see a Phil Fish game on XBL/PSN to avoid it like the plague and wait till it’s on steam. That way if there is a problem, it seems like they WILL do the right thing and fix it.

      • ‘because they never really do “sales” ‘
        Steam do heaps of sales man! Where have you been! 😀

        I agree with what you’re saying. Although I can’t help question why microsoft would make it so hard for developers to get their patches up, as well as costing money. The arcade section of the xbox is mostly devoted to indie developers and games, who wouldn’t always be able to afford the price for fixing a bug in their game (as is evident from this article). Seems a bit counter-intuitive to the best experience possible for their gamers.

  • without jumping into this too in depth or taking any sides. It’s understandable for the price to be a deterrent for rushed games and for the final sold product to be near/ bug-free. However you can’t always directly blame the developer for not patching everything. As noted in the excerpt, the problem occurs in less than 1% of users, which is a very small amount which may not be easily picked up during beta testing and instead may only pop up after reaching the market where there are a lot more people playing.

  • just a thought…
    test the game before launching it to ensure there are no bugs in it to begin with?
    crazy, i know.

    • the problem is you get assigned a slot into the xbla release windows and then you gotta stick to it. and yeah the game should be done after 4 years but it obviously wasn’t quite there.

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