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.