It’s no secret that Redfall, Arkane Austin’s latest shooter, is a disappointment. While many wondered how things could go so wrong, a recent report by Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, after speaking to more than a dozen anonymous people, shed some light on the affair. As it turns out, lack of a clear direction, a small studio size, departures of veterans who worked on Prey and much more severely affected the title.
However, there is more. Such was the state of Redfall that when Microsoft acquired ZeniMax Studios, staff at Arkane reportedly hoped that they would cancel the game or even reboot it as a single-player title. Not only did that not happen, but it was hands-off (which Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer admitted later). Except for cancelling the PS5 version, of course.
While Redfall was showcased at the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase in 2021, staff were “stretched thin.” The release date went from Halloween 2022 to early 2023, and finally, May 2nd, 2023. Co-director Harvey Smith and other leaders reportedly said things would get “exponentially better once the final art was implemented, and the bugs were fixed.” It even used the term “Arkane magic,” which would presumably “manifest at the last minute as it had with previous games.”
Those who played the title in 2021 were “shocked to see how little ultimately changed.” Also, Smith said he pushed “early on” against having an in-game store, those who worked on the title said that a “significant microtransaction plan” was in place for the first three years. When games as a service garnered controversy, Arkane scrapped it in 2021.
The post-launch plan for Redfall is unknown, though it will be Arkane’s “most-supported game post-launch,” so time will tell. In the meantime, Xbox Game Studios is prepping for its showcase on June 11th, followed by the Starfield Direct, which will showcase new gameplay. Starfield is out on September 6th for Xbox Series X/S and PC, with Xbox assisting development better than it did for Redfall, as per Spencer.