Update: Fez Studio Rereleases Save-Corrupting Patch

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Update: Fez Studio Rereleases Save-Corrupting Patch

Microsoft wants "tens of thousands of dollars" for Polytron to fix its game.

While patches for released games are normally meant to fix issues, they occasionally introduce new ones. Worst of these is the dreaded save killer, a patch that somehow corrupts existing saves when it's applied. Indie developer Polytron encountered this with its first patch for Fez, the colorful puzzle-platformer released on XBLA a few months ago. Microsoft pulled the offending patch a few weeks ago and Polytron promised to look into it. The good news is, the patch is going back online. The bad news is, it's the exact same patch.

Polytron cited the overwhelming costs of issuing a new patch, which requires re-certification and testing by Microsoft, which in turn would run the studio "tens of thousands of dollars." In its investigation of the bug, Polytron further determined that the savegame corruption affects less than one percent of players, only corrupting save files created without the patch near the end of the game. Polytron offered apologies to the players who are affected, stating that the move "breaks our hearts."

Polytron also expressed a degree of frustration with the situation, pointing out that this decision was necessitated by Microsoft's limited patching options. "Had Fez been released on Steam instead of XBLA," the developer stated, "the game would have been fixed two weeks after release, at no cost to us." The studio further explained that, rather than getting paid for exclusively releasing Fez on XBLA, money traveled the other way. "People often mistakenly believe that we got paid by Microsoft for being exclusive to their platform," Polytron stated. "Nothing could be further from the truth. WE pay THEM."

Update: Microsoft told Kotaku that it supports Polytron's and investor Trapdoor's decision to not release a new patch. It also stated, "while we do not disclose the cost of Title Updates, we did offer to work with Trapdoor to make sure that wasn't a blocking issue."

Source: Polytron, Kotaku

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While the honestly is appreciated I can't imagine his comments will be well received. Not a very intelligent business move.

Sounds like he went with the worst option for release, well he wouldn't be the first indie dev to get burned by ms.

Im sure this statement from Polytron will of course strengthen their ties with the Microsoft team.

Ultimately Polytron have had a lot of success from releasing from XBLA and while Microsoft's many layers of red-tape can be suffocating its something they would have been aware of before they decided to opt with an XBLA release. I do however doubt that MS are after "tens of thousands of dollars" to simply release a patch. I think there may be a tad more to whats happening behind the scenes here.

What is the mindset of people who pull shit this stupid?


There is NO WAY this could have gotten past testing, to bad the whole industry feels obliged to treat testers like shit these days.

kitsuta:
Polytron cited the overwhelming costs of issuing a new patch, which requires re-certification and testing by Microsoft, which in turn would run the studio "tens of thousands of dollars."

He should sue them for so obviously NOT testing it the first time.

Then again, he'd probably never win. It's a shame.

lacktheknack:

kitsuta:
Polytron cited the overwhelming costs of issuing a new patch, which requires re-certification and testing by Microsoft, which in turn would run the studio "tens of thousands of dollars."

He should sue them for so utterly and obviously NOT testing it the first time.

Certification != QA

kitsuta:
"Had Fez been released on Steam instead of XBLA," the developer stated, "the game would have been fixed two weeks after release, at no cost to us." The studio further explained that, rather than getting paid for exclusively releasing Fez on XBLA, money traveled the other way. "People often mistakenly believe that we got paid by Microsoft for being exclusive to their platform," Polytron stated. "Nothing could be further from the truth. WE pay THEM."

So, uh, why the Hell did you release Fez as an exclusive on the platform with less flexibility that forces you to pay them for the privilege?

kitsuta:
"People often mistakenly believe that we got paid by Microsoft for being exclusive to their platform," Polytron stated. "Nothing could be further from the truth. WE pay THEM."

Really? I suppose I get the attraction of XBLA, your game gets some free press if it's published there, but why would you pay them to be on there exclusively? Steam/practically any other method of distribution seems like it would be waaay better for this type of game. I agree with Fappy, seems like a dumb move on his part.

The bug only happens to less than 1%. Sometime you can have the best QA testers in the world, but it would not show up until it is released into the wild.

Somehow I actually think that the fact that the bug seemingly occurs for people near the end of the game is even worse. The frustration of seeing hours and hours disappear has made me so frustrated before that I didn't finish a game.

The Droog:

lacktheknack:

kitsuta:
Polytron cited the overwhelming costs of issuing a new patch, which requires re-certification and testing by Microsoft, which in turn would run the studio "tens of thousands of dollars."

He should sue them for so utterly and obviously NOT testing it the first time.

Certification != QA

Correct. Microsoft tests the patch so it passes some basic quality standards - like making sure it doesn't somehow steal users' MSP, or something - but the developer still has some responsibility for the patch working smoothly. In this case though, the patch corrupts late-game saves that were created before the patch was applied, making it a pretty rare use-case and unlikely to be caught, even with thorough QA.

Microsoft is being an asshole again? Who's surprised!?

You reconsidering releasing this on steam yet, Fish? Because then there will at least be community patches.

Saying the patch only corrupts saves near the end of the game is like saying the car's brakes fail only at speeds above 30 mph. No matter what the situation is, it sounds bad. Don't say that if you're trying to reassure your customers, ever.

The certification fees are not the big deal. It is the distribution fees. Microsoft doesn't really charge developers for bandwidth for distribution. They also don't want developers continually releasing patches for games, that eats up bandwidth on the XBL servers. They want developers to really get it right the first time.

Allthingsspectacular:
Microsoft is being an asshole again? Who's surprised!?

I'm curious; how are MS being arseholes?

I see a developer with no business sense whatsoever and a shitty excuse for releasing a patch that fucks up the game completely for some of the players. Where does MS enter into this?

Azuaron:

kitsuta:
"Had Fez been released on Steam instead of XBLA," the developer stated, "the game would have been fixed two weeks after release, at no cost to us." The studio further explained that, rather than getting paid for exclusively releasing Fez on XBLA, money traveled the other way. "People often mistakenly believe that we got paid by Microsoft for being exclusive to their platform," Polytron stated. "Nothing could be further from the truth. WE pay THEM."

So, uh, why the Hell did you release Fez as an exclusive on the platform with less flexibility that forces you to pay them for the privilege?

Yup, came here to say that same thing. RELEASE IT ON STEAM!!!! Indie games get huge love on Steam.

Elcarsh:

Allthingsspectacular:
Microsoft is being an asshole again? Who's surprised!?

I'm curious; how are MS being arseholes?

I see a developer with no business sense whatsoever and a shitty excuse for releasing a patch that fucks up the game completely for some of the players. Where does MS enter into this?

Exactly. It's striking that people are so quick to jump in on the side of Polytron and blame a problem with their game on Microsoft!

I personally find it quite childish of Polytron to whine now about terms they happily signed up to when they released the game. It smacks of trying to distract everyone from the fact they're not fixing the save-destroying problem.

"Well, we're not going to fix that problem because it would be too expensive... But you know who's a bunch of arseholes? Microsoft! Yeah, we made the decision to release on their platform and we agreed to the terms governing any patches. But they're still arseholes so yell at them instead of us!"

Elcarsh:

Allthingsspectacular:
Microsoft is being an asshole again? Who's surprised!?

I'm curious; how are MS being arseholes?

I see a developer with no business sense whatsoever and a shitty excuse for releasing a patch that fucks up the game completely for some of the players. Where does MS enter into this?

It's because of Microsoft's shitty policies regarding patches and new content.

I'm not on Polytron's side, I just hate Microsoft.

Allthingsspectacular:
It's because of Microsoft's shitty policies regarding patches and new content.

All of which Polytron knew before ever signing the agreement with Microsoft. Again, we come back to their bloody lack of business sense, which isn't Microsoft's fault.

Elcarsh:

All of which Polytron knew before ever signing the agreement with Microsoft. Again, we come back to their bloody lack of business sense, which isn't Microsoft's fault.

Um, have you been blind for the past few years? This story has been repeated many a time. Where an independent developer releases a game on consoles saying they prefer consoles over PC, gets screwed by Microsoft and then ducks into the Steam vault where they make a lot more money.

The same thing happened with the Braid creator and the Super Meatboy creator.

These aren't dumb people. Something is up.

Allthingsspectacular:
Um, have you been blind for the past few years? This story has been repeated many a time. Where an independent developer releases a game on consoles saying they prefer consoles over PC, gets screwed by Microsoft and then ducks into the Steam vault where they make a lot more money.

The same thing happened with the Braid creator and the Super Meatboy creator.

These aren't dumb people. Something is up.

Sounds like they made bad business choices, got burned and then decided to do something smarter. Again, how in hell is that Microsoft's fault? Or do you think Microsoft are somehow forcing them at gunpoint to sign the agreements?

Besides, the guy who made Braid is a pretentious shithead. Saying he's not dumb is inaccurrate.

Allthingsspectacular:

Elcarsh:

All of which Polytron knew before ever signing the agreement with Microsoft. Again, we come back to their bloody lack of business sense, which isn't Microsoft's fault.

Um, have you been blind for the past few years? This story has been repeated many a time. Where an independent developer releases a game on consoles saying they prefer consoles over PC, gets screwed by Microsoft and then ducks into the Steam vault where they make a lot more money.

The same thing happened with the Braid creator and the Super Meatboy creator.

These aren't dumb people. Something is up.

They were either dumb enough to not know how much MS charges for patches, or dumb enough to know and go through it anyway.

And why? Because, according to them, "Fez is a console game, not a PC game" and that putting it on a console rather than PC "matters more than sales or revenue".

Elcarsh:

Sounds like they made bad business choices, got burned and then decided to do something smarter. Again, how in hell is that Microsoft's fault? Or do you think Microsoft are somehow forcing them at gunpoint to sign the agreements?

Besides, the guy who made Braid is a pretentious shithead. Saying he's not dumb is inaccurrate.

Simple: Weasel wording.

Things that may not sound like a big deal suddenly do become a big deal.

And it's still Microsoft's fault for holding these ****ty policies in the first place.

Elcarsh:

Allthingsspectacular:
Um, have you been blind for the past few years? This story has been repeated many a time. Where an independent developer releases a game on consoles saying they prefer consoles over PC, gets screwed by Microsoft and then ducks into the Steam vault where they make a lot more money.

The same thing happened with the Braid creator and the Super Meatboy creator.

These aren't dumb people. Something is up.

Sounds like they made bad business choices, got burned and then decided to do something smarter. Again, how in hell is that Microsoft's fault? Or do you think Microsoft are somehow forcing them at gunpoint to sign the agreements?

Besides, the guy who made Braid is a pretentious shithead. Saying he's not dumb is inaccurrate.

Actually, with SMB MS broke the contract. Part of the agreement to keep it away from PS was that MS had to advertise it. MS did not fufill their end of the deal.

RaikuFA:
Actually, with SMB MS broke the contract. Part of the agreement to keep it away from PS was that MS had to advertise it. MS did not fufill their end of the deal.

And this relates to Fez how, exactly?

MetalMagpie:

Elcarsh:

Allthingsspectacular:
Microsoft is being an asshole again? Who's surprised!?

I'm curious; how are MS being arseholes?

I see a developer with no business sense whatsoever and a shitty excuse for releasing a patch that fucks up the game completely for some of the players. Where does MS enter into this?

Exactly. It's striking that people are so quick to jump in on the side of Polytron and blame a problem with their game on Microsoft!

I personally find it quite childish of Polytron to whine now about terms they happily signed up to when they released the game. It smacks of trying to distract everyone from the fact they're not fixing the save-destroying problem.

"Well, we're not going to fix that problem because it would be too expensive... But you know who's a bunch of arseholes? Microsoft! Yeah, we made the decision to release on their platform and we agreed to the terms governing any patches. But they're still arseholes so yell at them instead of us!"

I absolutely have to say this: Your Name/Avatar is fucking awesome.

I kind of agree here. I can see a little annoyance with Microsoft, as such patches probably shouldn't cost this much to release, and expecting everything to be perfect (Especially with the industry standard today, why pay for QA?) is a little foolish. But I understand why we need this is a major deterrent, and furthermore bitching and moaning about the policies, as you've stated is absolutely abhorrent. If they're going to threaten Microsoft with Steam because they can't release a game-breaking patch for 1% of it's users, why even go in this business in the first place? (If Fez had gotten 100,000 sales, that's 1,000 people affected. Unacceptable in my industry.)

It seems Polytron is good for not much else other than complaining. We get it, your vocal about being bottom on the list because your new to the world. So am I, get the fuck over it.

Good.
I hope you burn, Fish.

Buretsu:
And why? Because, according to them, "Fez is a console game, not a PC game" and that putting it on a console rather than PC "matters more than sales or revenue".

Is there a source for this quote? I hadn't heard that and a rudimentary Google search didn't come up with anything worthwhile on the topic.

Surely he must have known about these things before hand and budgetet for it. I'm not saying tht Microsofts system is good, but It is my understanding that Fez has sold quite well and will most likely continue to do so for some time. Would it not then seem fair to take that financial hit to enable that 1% of fans who actually payed for your game and helped make it prosper?

I of course know nothing about the numbers for Fez, but just assume that it has/will over time have sold 500,000 copies. In that case 1% is 5,000 people that have bought the game for somewhere around 10 bucks. That is 50,000USD. Even if he only gets to keep half of that it is still 25,000 USD and should surely be enough to cover costs for another patch (and if he has sold 500,000 copies then 50% of that whole profit would be somewhere around 2,5 million USD, surely he could have budgetet 5% of that (125,000USD) for patches since he knew about the cost beforehand?)

This just smells of shittyness. I realize there will always be bugs, but as a developer you should at least aim to make the game-breaking bugs as few as humanly possible, if you sit there with a game you can't play that you payed money for you don't want to be told the developer can't be bothered to try to fix it because it costs too much.

Ne1butme:

Buretsu:
And why? Because, according to them, "Fez is a console game, not a PC game" and that putting it on a console rather than PC "matters more than sales or revenue".

Is there a source for this quote? I hadn't heard that and a rudimentary Google search didn't come up with anything worthwhile on the topic.

Yeah, here:

http://www.nowgamer.com/features/950149/fez_interview_polytrons_phil_fish.html

Elcarsh:

RaikuFA:
Actually, with SMB MS broke the contract. Part of the agreement to keep it away from PS was that MS had to advertise it. MS did not fufill their end of the deal.

And this relates to Fez how, exactly?

You asked how is MS is bad in these events and I pointed out that SMB did not get advertised despite the fact that MS was supposed to.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/112912-Team-Meat-Wont-Go-Back-to-Microsoft

The Droog:

lacktheknack:

kitsuta:
Polytron cited the overwhelming costs of issuing a new patch, which requires re-certification and testing by Microsoft, which in turn would run the studio "tens of thousands of dollars."

He should sue them for so utterly and obviously NOT testing it the first time.

Certification != QA

I know, but it said "certification AND TESTING". I even highlighted it.

So uhhh... why didn't you released the game for PC in the first place?, oh!, I remember, because "the gaem is meant to be played in a couch", right?, I hope you burn. Idiot.

lacktheknack:

The Droog:

lacktheknack:

He should sue them for so utterly and obviously NOT testing it the first time.

Certification != QA

I know, but it said "certification AND TESTING". I even highlighted it.

The number of copies affected by the save glitch is less than 1%. If testing was 100% perfect, there wouldn't ever need to be patches.

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