Everyone who bought FEZ on Xbox Live Arcade is going to have to swallow a bitter pill, as a game-crippling “patch” isn’t going to be fixed by the developers. Instead, the patch will be re-released as it was originally released.
Phil Fish, the leading man for indie studio Polytron, explains that fixing the patch, which occasionally deletes save files without notice, would take an extreme amount of money that just doesn’t make sense. According to a prior speech at the Gamelab Conference in Barcelona, certifying a patch through Microsoft costs a developer roughly $40,000 a pop.
Moreover, the patch issue reportedly affect less than 1 percent of users. So, if you’re in that camp, you’re out of luck for now.
In launch sales, FEZ racked up 100,000 copies sold, which would translate to roughly $1 million in raw dollars (its XBLA price is 800 Microsoft Points, which is equivalent to $9.99 in USD). Despite the impressive numbers, Phil Fish claims that he still owes Microsoft a ton of money:
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.
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.
There is some silver lining, though. According to Polytron’s Twitter feed, the XBLA exclusivity period is almost over.
Hopefully, FEZ won’t have such a distaster on its hands when (and if) it comes out for other platforms. At the very least, it can’t cost the studio nearly as much to release an all-new version for PlayStation Network or Steam.