Phil Spencer "upset" with poor Redfall launch

The CEO of Xbox Game Studios apologized for the sorry state of Redfall as he himself feels upset and disappointed by what happened.

After a relatively quiet 2022, Redfall helped make a ton of noise for the Xbox brand but for all the wrong reasons.

The ever-outspoken CEO of Microsoft Gaming, Phil Spencer, had a chance to sit down and talk about the massive deluge of negative community reactions to Redfall earlier this week. As always, the executive was admirably candid.

In an interview with the Xbox podcast, Xcast, the executive shared there's "nothing more difficult" for him than whenever he disappoints Xbox owners, saying, "Just to kind of watch the community lose confidence, be disappointed, I'm disappointed, I'm upset with myself."

The Loot Drop

Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, acknowledged the negative reactions to Redfall and took responsibility for the game's poor launch.

After several delays and a controversial decision to limit the FPS leading up to its launch, Redfall finally came out to terrible reviews on May 2. Many called Xbox out for letting this happen, especially since Redfall is the brand's first $70 game. Not to mention, it was developed by Arkane Studios, specifically, Arkane Austin, who previously worked on Prey, among other games.

When questioned about the less-than-ideal circumstances surrounding the launch of Redfall, Spencer had a lot to say:

One thing I’ll fight is sort of what went wrong, there’s clearly quality and execution things we can do but one thing I won’t do is push against creative aspirations of our teams I know a lot of people will say hey you’ve got teams, teams know how to do one kind of game just force them to go do the one kind of game they have a proven track record for and I’m just not a believe in that maybe that means I’ll under deliver for some of our fans out there but when a team like Rare wants to do Sea of Thieves when a team like Obsidian wants to do Grounded, and Tango wants to go do Hi-Fi when everyone probably thought they were doing The Evil Within 3.

I want to give the teams the creative platform to go an push their ability, push their aspirations but I also need to have a great selection of games that are continue to come that surprise and delight our fans and we under-delivered on that and for that I apologize it’s not what I expect, what I want but it’s ours to deliver.

The only good thing here is that Redfall isn't the only co-op shooter to come out in recent memory that wasn't well-received.

Phil Spencer is a fan favorite for a reason and this was in full display here.

Relatable and straightforward, that's what audiences have come to expect from Spencer over the years. Still, it's surprising to hear the CEO of a company agree that it's their fault for not delivering up to the usual standards.

The way Spencer's statement came across is that Microsoft was at least aware the open-world co-op shooter was inherently bad. Of course, it's one thing knowing your products aren't living up to expectations. It's another to deliver.

It's the latter that Xbox needs a lot of help with.

Maybe it really is true that Microsoft was aware of the state of Redfall and went ahead with its launch anyway.

But, if it's any consolation, it's nice to know that Spencer is aware that the onus is on him to make sure that future Xbox games don't launch in this state.

Maybe Redfall would do better if Xbox removed the $70 price tag and made it exclusive to the Game Pass.

Finally, Spencer said that the company's internal mock review scores and the final review scores were off by double digits. Unfortunately, Spencer didn't reveal if he had a chance to demo the game while it was in development or if he's already played it now that it's hit the store shelves.

Spencer wants to reassure fans that Microsoft and Arkane are hard at work on addressing the issues currently plaguing Redfall while adding features like the delayed 60FPS performance mode.

As per Spencer, "I also know that these games are $70", adding that he's going to "take full responsibility for launching a game that needs to be great."
There's no denying that the negative reception to Redfall will impact upcoming AAA exclusives for the Xbox Series S/X for the year if not the entire generation. The next one, Forza Motorsport, has to be better at launch. And, if it isn't close to being ready right now, it won't surprise us if Turn 10 Studios confirms the earlier rumors that it will be pushed back to Q3 of this year to give the studio more time to polish it.

Redfall has multiple problems that requires a more hands-on approach to solve if Xbox intends to salvage it.

We've seen multiple instances of studios delaying games for polishing only to fall flat at launch. Now that Xbox is fighting an even steeper uphill climb, don't expect to see the company confirm the release dates of upcoming exclusives anytime soon for fear of falling into the same trap.

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Ray Ampoloquio

Ray Ampoloquio // Articles: 5873

Ray is a lifelong gamer with a nose for keeping up with the latest news in and out of the gaming industry. When he's not reading, writing, editing, and playing video games, he builds and repairs computers in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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