Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has reacted to Redfall’s mixed reviews, saying he’s disappointed with the game’s rocky launch.
“There’s nothing more difficult for me than disappointing the Xbox community,” Spencer said during an episode of Kinda Funny’s Xcast. “I’m upset with myself.” Spencer also lamented the fact that Redfall was initially supposed to launch with 60fps support but only ended up supporting 30fps on console for now.
As part of the discussion, however, Spencer also tried to explain what went wrong with the game’s development. Spencer noted that he likes when developers step outside their comfort zone and try something new, with examples such as Tango Gameworks’ Hi-Fi Rush, Obsidian Entertainments’ Grounded, and Rare’s Sea of Thieves.
Arkane Studios, the developer of Redfall and best known for its single-player games, was indeed trying something new by making an online co-op game.
“I want to give the teams the creative platform to go and push their abilities and aspirations,” Spencer said. “But I also need to have a great selection of games that surprise and delight our fans and we underdelivered on that and for that, I apologize.”
“This is one where [Arkane] didn’t hit their own internal goals.”
“We didn’t do a good job early on of engaging with Arkane Austin to really help them understand what it meant to be part of Xbox. We left them to work on the game–they’re a very talented team and I love that team–I still do.”
Spencer explained that Microsoft should have stepped in to help Arkane much earlier on. “We should have been there for the team earlier. That’s on us. We were too late to help. I take that as a learning. As painful as it is.”
Spencer did mention that Redfall was much further in development when Microsoft acquired Bethesda (which owns Arkane). This is unlike Starfield, which was much earlier in development when the acquisition happened. Microsoft apparently worked much more closely with Bethesda during Starfield’s development.
Redfall currently has a 62 Metascore on review aggregate site Metacritic, which is significantly worse than Xbox’s recent first-party output. Microsoft currently has several first-party games in the works, with titles like Starfield, Fable, and Forza Motorsport in the pipeline for Xbox and PC.
“Ultimately, Redfall is a game that should not have been released yet. Its litany of bugs hampers the gameplay loop of exploring its world with friends, and that loop itself feels compromised by elements that are poorly executed and ill-suited to the team implementing them. I can’t pretend to know whether Arkane chose to make a loot-shooter or was assigned to make a loot-shooter, but I can tell you what it feels like: one of the best game studios in the world suddenly made toothless,” wrote Mark Delaney in GameSpot’s Redfall review.
Redfall is available on Xbox Series X|S and PC now.
For more, we examined the issue of Xbox Game Pass struggling to find big hits.
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