They say that delayed games are eventually good, which is why more and more gamers are in favor of delays. But, what if a game is so bad that its developers wanted to cancel its development? Such is the case of Redfall.
This year has brought a rollercoaster of experiences for the gaming industry. Amidst the splash of potentially award-winning releases like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and the Resident Evil 4 Remake as well as other upcoming massive titles like Diablo 4, Final Fantasy XVI, and Street Fighter 6, there lies the shipwreck that is Redfall. Arkane Studios' multiplayer vampire game had faced some rough waters ahead of its release. But, as it turns out, the writing regarding its disappointing launch was very much on the wall during its development.
According to Bloomberg, things got so bad mid-way over at Arkane Austin while working on Redfall that some hoped that the Microsoft acquisition of ZeniMax Media would bring good news. To be more specific, employees had apparently been wishing for the game to be canceled, or at the very least, be rebooted.
Redfall's sorry state is the result of a troubled development. Right from the start, Arkane Austin wasn't sure what kind of game they wanted to make. To add to the chaos, ZeniMax was pushing for a Games As a Service (GAAS) model. Finally, the project had very few hands on board. Many seasoned developers had left before development on Redfall had begun, citing that they didn't like the direction ZeniMax wanted to take with it. It's believed that nearly 70% of the same staff that had worked on Prey had left by the time Redfall had finished development.
So, when Microsoft bought ZeniMax Media in 2020, the weary staff over at Arkane Austin prayed for a miracle. It's said that a sizable number of team members wanted Microsoft to cancel or, at the very least, reboot Redfall as a single-player game.
Unfortunately, as we now all know, Microsoft's lack of oversight and supervision resulted in Redfall pushing through with only the PlayStation 5 version being canceled.
May 2 marks the day Redfall came out and basically sunk the reputation of Arkane Austin. Like a stake straight through the heart, fans felt gutted that Arkane Studios let Redfall happen just two years after Arkane Lyon released a GOTY contender.
To date, Redfall remains one of the worst-reviewed major releases of the year and an example of the unfortunately growing trend of developers releasing incomplete titles.
The fallout from Redfall has left Arkane Studios and Microsoft's first-party plans stranded in a sea of disappointment. The good news is that Arkane Studios will likely survive this as Arkane Lyon is already hard at work on its next project. More importantly, Redfall should serve as a painful and expensive lesson for Microsoft as it seeks to grow the Microsoft Gaming umbrella.
Microsoft reportedly has big plans for the Xbox Series S/X, which we'll find out more about at the June 11 showcase.