Phil Spencer, the big guy over at Xbox Game Studios, has said time and time again that they're all about player choices. So, how do you explain what Harvey Smith just revealed?
In an interview with IGN France, the Redfall game designer talked about why Redfall is exclusive to the Xbox Series S/X.
When you consider that games take several years in development, Redfall was likely already part of Arkane Studios' pipeline before Microsoft finalized its ZeniMax acquisition in early 2021.
So, it wouldn't make sense for the studio to make Redfall an Xbox Series S/X exclusive from the get-go... and that apparently seems to be the case.
Smith explained this in the interview, saying (as translated by IGN):
We got bought by Microsoft and that was a huge sea change. They said, ‘no PlayStation 5. Now we’re gonna do Game Pass, Xbox, and PC.’
And, just like that, Spencer seemingly got caught in a lie.
Although Arkane isn't a first-party Sony studio, the developers have strong ties to the PlayStation brand.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood, for example, a first-person-shooter it co-developed with MachineGames, was and still is exclusive to the PlayStation 4 (it's on the PC if that matters). Deathloop was also a timed exclusive on the PlayStation 5. Would it be all that surprising if Redfall was planned to release on the PS5 as well? A multi-platform launch would certainly benefit the upcoming co-op shooter.
While Microsoft deserves to leverage its ownership of a company it paid several billion dollars for, it stands in stark contrast to the statement Spencer has been brandishing for years.
This is the billion-dollar equivalent of getting your hand caught inside the cookie jar.
Is this going to affect the Xbox Activision deal? Most likely. Even though we're still bullish on approval of the purchase, this won't stop Sony from trying to block it. This revelation gave Sony fodder for its arguments as well. We can already see Sony using this as further evidence that Microsoft might not live up to its promises to make Call of Duty available on Nintendo and PlayStation platforms for the foreseeable future.
We're already seeing signs from Microsoft that it will eventually make Call of Duty exclusive after it said that ten years is enough time for Sony to make a worthy alternative.
Maybe, just maybe, Microsoft won't monopolize Call of Duty, but we can't say the same for the treasure trove of other IPs that Activision Blizzard owns. With at least several other billion-dollar properties under its belt as well as a proven track record for creating profitable games, future Activision Blizzard titles will likely end up like Starfield and Redfall.
This is the "bleak" future that Sony will try to argue will happen if Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard.
As for Redfall, the game is coming on May 12 and will support cross-platform play.