There's no denying that Polytron's Fez is one of the coolest downloadable games of the year, but unfortunately, a small percentage of players can't actually enjoy the game. Shortly after Fez released on Xbox Live Arcade, Polytron issued a patch that was intended to fix some minor gameplay issues, but ended up creating a whole new mess of problems for a few players. For some, this patch led to corrupted save files, deleting all of the progress affected users had made in the game.
The patch was quickly taken down, but now it's going back up just the way it was. Polytron says in a recent blog post that it is putting the patch back up on XBLA because it can't afford to have a new patch go through Microsoft's certification process. "We’re bringing the first Fez patch online. It’s the same patch," Polytron said. "We’re not going to patch the patch. Why not? Because Microsoft would charge us tens of thousands of dollars to re-certify the game."
Polytron says that the save bug only impacts less than one percent of players, which in Microsoft's eyes is "good enough." For the vast majority of Fez players, the patch should be safe, but Polytron apologized to those who are being "screwed" by this decision nonetheless. The developer also seemed to be questioning the decision to make Fez a timed-exclusive on Xbox Live, saying "Had Fez been released on steam instead of XBLA, the game would have been fixed two weeks after release, at no cost to us. And if there was an issue with that patch, we could have fixed that right away too!"
The studio also dispelled the belief that it's being paid by Microsoft to have Fez be an Xbox Live Arcade exclusive. "We already owe microsoft a LOT of money for the privilege of being on their platform," Polytron writes. "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."
So, if you're one of the few that has been dealing with Fez's save deleting bug, it sounds like you'll be stuck with it until Microsoft and Polytron can work out some kind of deal, if that ever happens. Polytron later pointed out on its Twitter account that there are only a few more months to go until the XBLA exclusivity deal for Fez is lifted, which presumably means that the game will be available on Steam and other platforms not long after. If that's the case, you might be better off waiting for these additional releases than you are hoping that Microsoft and Polytron will work things out.