Friday Flame Wars: Fez vs. Microsoft

 

Friday Flame Wars is a recurring feature on GameFront. We present a hot-button issue, and then encourage a no-holds-barred commenting battle royale healthy debate within our community.

At first glance, it’s a classic tale of a plucky indie vs. a corporate behemoth. Fez developers Polytron were trying to fix their game — a late-June patch had corrupted save files — but Microsoft were planning to charge them around $40,000 to re-certify the new fix. In the end, Fez designer Phil Fish decided not to release the second patch.

Not so fast, say Microsoft. Replying to Game Front’s inquiries, the hardware behemoth claims that it offered to work with Polytron, to prevent the cost of re-certification from becoming a “blocking issue,” as they put it. A cynical person might even say that Fish would rather live with corrupted save files than part with any of the game’s hard-earned revenue, milking popular resentment against Microsoft as a smoke-screen.

The bespectacled, be-sideburned developer is notorious for his public statements, including his heavily sarcastic “PC’s are for spreadsheets” quip, when asked to explain why Fez would not be released on Steam. On the other hand, Microsoft’s excesses are well-documented, and a $40,000 fee for basic patch support certainly seems outrageous. Regardless of who’s to blame, Fez remains ever-so-slightly broken; Jim Sterling put it nicely in his Game Front column earlier today: “Whoever wins, we lose.” Since this is Friday Flame Wars, however, it’s time to take sides. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Should Fish just pony up the cash? Should Microsoft give him a pass? Was he a fool to release the game as an XBLA-exclusive in the first place? The battlefield is just ahead, in the comments.

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4 Comments on Friday Flame Wars: Fez vs. Microsoft

Peggle20

On July 21, 2012 at 3:20 pm

You guys need to chill out on reporting on this hipster nonsense and plug something related to real gaming like the Defense Grid 2 Kickstarter. That game needs to get maaaaade <3.

LTenhet

On July 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm

You know… I remember the old days, where Patches were pretty much non-existent. Which was good and bad, good because Devs would playtest things to make sure they worked, bad cause if there was a glitch it wouldn’t get fixed.

It seems to me though that both sides are at fault: Microsoft for it charging SO MUCH for patches (it makes sense to charge some fee, if they are actually certifying it to make sure it doesn’t brick consoles). But also Fish for his disregard for his consumers, insulting the PC Gaming audience and then saying things like not being charged for patches on STEAM, and refusing to fix a game breaking bug, even if it’s for only a small amount of people.

Axetwin

On July 22, 2012 at 12:48 am

@Peggle20 This IS related to real gaming. This shows how Microsoft continues to be the schoolyard bully day in and day out and yet people people still continue to support them telling them its ok to act like this. If you want a gaming website that gives you misinformation, withholds and refuses to report on real gaming news then IGN is the other way.

@LTenhet After having some more time to think about it, I agree that both parties are at fault here. However I dont see the fault being split down the middle, I still see Microsoft still carying most of the blame here. Once a game hits its console, the decision on whether or not a game gets the support it needs is ultimately theirs. It was Microsoft that said “yeah 1% failure rate is fine”, I would like to remind you this is the same company that once said “yeah 33% (or was it 45? I dont remember) console failure rate is good enough to sell”.

Now, I partially agree with you on Polytron’s side of the bug issue itself. Yeah, they should have tested the initial game further. However, Microsoft is not a company known for their “when its done” attitude. They expect a game in their hand by a certain date whether its done or not. Now as for the patch, that shouldnt be pinned on Polytron. Its a bug that occurs less than 1% of the time, as I asked in the previous article on this topic, how do you test for that? You cant, and simply trying to is a waste of time and resources. I know it seems cold, but that is the truth of it.

Fish did not outright refuse to patch the game. He simply said they cannot afford to fix the game. Technically the game is fixed, they just cant afford to shell out another 40k to apply the patch at the moment. The version that the PS3 and Steam get are going to be fixed version. Which means then it really WILL be up to Microsoft to let Polytron fix the 360 version. My guess, since Microsoft is a petty childish company, the 360 version of FEZ is going to go unfixed.

Jay

On July 22, 2012 at 9:36 am

You know, Fish, a Steam release would more than cover the cost of letting console gamers buy a non-broken version of a thing you’ve spent five years of your life making. Just saying.