Although Polytron have already developed the appropriate patch for its Xbox Live Arcade hit, Fez, the developer decided not to release it to players in order to avoid paying Microsoft’s expensive certification fees.
Fez is a platform puzzler that was released on Xbox Live Arcade in April 2012. The game was braised by critics and well received by fans despite suffering from several save file corruption and game crashing bugs. The game received an update in June that fixed most of those bugs; however the update was taken down a few hours later after discovering that it has corrupted some users’ save files.
A second patch was developed and tested but the studio decided not to release it. “We’re not going to patch the patch,” the Polytron Team explained on their blog. “Why not? Because Microsoft would charge us tens of thousands of dollars to re-certify the game.”
The team reasoned that the bug introduced by the first patch affected less than 1% of the 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.”
“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,” the team pondered.
“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.
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.”