Billed as Arkane Studios’ biggest and most ambitious game to date and having the added pressure of expectation as a major new first party release, Redfall had quite a bit to live up to, especially given how lean first party offerings have been on Xbox Series X/S for some time. It’s fair to say, however, that it did not live up to expectations. The open world shooter has been roundly criticized by critics and audiences alike, with everything from its world design and storytelling to its combat and technical state (among other things) coming under immense scrutiny.
One would think that a major new first party AAA release would go through a level of quality control that would ideally prevent Redfall’s laundry list of issues- though if a report published by journalist Jez Corden on Windows Central is anything to go by, Redfall didn’t have the oversight and control from Microsoft that some may have thought it had had.
According to Corden, though ZeniMax is now fully owned by Microsoft, it and its studios are still very much operating as a separate company, as they did prior to the acquisition, which means Arkane and other Bethesda studios aren’t overseen and managed by Xbox Game Studios boss Matt Booty, while Xbox boss Phil Spencer obviously doesn’t personally check in on projects to frequently check their progress either. Redfall, it seems, was developed by little to no involvement from Microsoft.
If that is indeed the case, that doesn’t paint Microsoft in a very flattering light (or Bethesda and Arkane, for that matter, but for different reasons). Having bought an entire publisher and knowing that Arkane’s next big game would be that publisher’s first new major exclusive title as an Xbox-owned entity, you’d think that Microsoft would try and enforce higher standards. Instead, the company has seemingly gone with a completely hands-off approach- the results of which clearly haven’t been fruitful.
Plenty of other first party Xbox studios have had internal development issues as well, from 343 Industries to The Initiative and many more, so hopefully Microsoft will work quickly to get its act together in the not-so-distant future.
In our review of Redfall, we gave it a score of 5/10, saying, “Redfall is Arkane’s most underwhelming game to date. A fascinating setting and some remnants of the developer’s beloved gameplay formula aren’t enough to overcome the game’s numerous issues, from stiff controls and disappointingly rote design choices to lackluster storytelling and technical deficiencies.” Read the full review through here.
Redfall is available on Xbox Series X/S and PC.