Developer Arkane has commented on what changed with its vampire game Redfall after Microsoft bought studio owner ZeniMax. Speaking to IGN France (via IGN), director Harvey Smith said there was a “huge sea change” for Redfall after Microsoft bought the company, and this included a decision to not bring the game to PlayStation 5.
“They said, ‘No PlayStation 5. Now we’re gonna do Game Pass, Xbox, and PC,'” Smith said.
Microsoft announced its intent to buy ZeniMax in September 2020 and completed the buyout in March 2021. Some are suggesting that Arkane was working on a PS5 edition of Redfall and canceled it after the buyout, but Smith did not say this outright. GameSpot has contacted Microsoft in an attempt to get more details on the situation.
Development on Redfall began before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, prior to Microsoft’s buyout of ZeniMax, so it seems possible that a PS5 edition of Redfall could have been in development. But that is not confirmed.
In any event, some are saying this is a bad look for Microsoft amid its proposed buyout of Activision Blizzard because it shows that Microsoft is taking a formerly multiplatform game developer and assigning them to a single console platform, in this case Xbox. A judge has agreed with the suggestion that Microsoft does not always keep to its public promises, but this isn’t necessarily enough to make a legal case. And for what it’s worth, Microsoft never said it would keep Bethesda games multiplatform following the buyout.
In a separate interview, Smith used the same “sea change” comment about what happened with Redfall after Microsoft bought ZeniMax. Smith said Microsoft buying the studio allowed Arkane to focus on fewer platforms because PlayStation was no longer in the mix. Smith added that Redfall coming to Xbox Game Pass is a big deal because it expands the game’s potential audience significantly.
In the IGN interview, Smith said Redfall has the potential to become Arkane’s biggest game ever by player count thanks to Game Pass, a subscription program that he guessed might have 30 million subscribers. The latest numbers from Microsoft show that Game Pass had 25 million members as of January 2022, but that figure has no doubt grown in the year-plus since then.
Redfall launches May 2 for Xbox Game Pass on console and PC. The game has an always-online requirement, even for its single-player mode, but Arkane might remove this requirement at some point.
Arkane releases in May on Xbox Game Pass for console and PC. For more, check out GameSpot’s recent preview, “Don’t Worry, Redfall Puts An Unmistakably Arkane Spin On The Looter Shooter.”
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