Prominent indie developer Polytron has elected to press ahead with a patch for Fez despite acknowledging that it contains a game breaking bug that could affect about 1% of the user base. The patch for the critically acclaimed XBLA exclusive was originally published in June, but hastily withdrawn as soon as the issue became known. That patch will now be reissued without amendment.
“We’re not going to patch the patch,” the developer said in a statement. “Why not? Because Microsoft would charge us tens of thousands of dollars to re-certify the game.” According to Polytron, a comparable patch on Steam would have seen the game “fixed two weeks after release, at no cost to us”. The developer then pledged that the update will improve the game for 99% of users and apologised to the 1% likely to be “screwed”.
Polytron received some high profile support from Double Fine’s Tim Schafer, who suggested that a similar issue was preventing his studio from addressing issues with its 2009 release Brutal Legend. Schafer was adamant that platform holders shouldn’t charger developers to patch games.
So what do you think? Do you value the testing and quality assurance that Microsoft insists upon or would you prefer indie creators to be able to update their games as they see fit?
Update 21.07.12 – Microsoft has informed Giant Bomb that it offered to “work with” Polytron’s publisher Trapdoor to ensure that the certification fee wasn’t “a blocking issue”.