A recent report claims to provide insights into the factors that led to the poor release of Redfall last month such as a lack of clear direction and understaffing issues.
The development process of Redfall at Arkane Studios was reportedly so challenging that the developers themselves expressed a desire for Microsoft to cancel the game following their acquisition of the company in 2020.
Upon its release in May 2023, Redfall garnered predominantly negative reviews, positioning it as one of the lowest-rated AAA games of the year.
Redfall's Xbox Series X version currently holds a Metacritic score of 56, while its PC version fares slightly lower at 54. The user scores for both versions are significantly lower, with the Xbox Series X version receiving a player rating of 3.4 and the PC version receiving a rating of 2.1 on Metacritic.
Most recently, Bloomberg has published a report based on interviews with numerous anonymous sources familiar with the game's development. The sources revealed that Redfall faced a multitude of challenges, including a misguided vision and staffing problems which contributed to the game's poor reception.
Redfall is a multiplayer loot shooter game, which represents a significant departure from what Arkane Studios, which developed critically acclaimed single-player immersive sims like Dishonored and Prey, is known for. According to the report, the team behind Redfall was pressured by its parent company, ZeniMax, to shift its focus towards multiplayer, which seems to have significantly contributed to the challenges faced by the game.
Numerous experienced developers who had no interest in working on a multiplayer game reportedly chose to leave the studio, resulting in nearly 70% of Arkane's Austin staff who had worked on 2017's Prey departing by the completion of Redfall. And the process of filling these vacant positions posed an additional challenge for the studio.
In 2021, Microsoft acquired ZeniMax in a $7.5 billion deal, following which some members of the Arkane team reportedly hoped that the Xbox maker would either cancel Redfall or rework it as a single-player game. However, according to the report, Microsoft took a hands-off approach, granting ZeniMax studios the freedom to continue operating as they had been.
The project also reportedly suffered from a lack of direction. According to sources, management would frequently change reference points, suggesting that Redfall should resemble Far Cry one day and Borderlands the next, leaving designers without a clear vision of the game they were developing.
As a result of its allegedly troubled development, Redfall has already fallen out of the top 50 most-played games on Xbox consoles due to its underwhelming reception, despite being only a month old. Although it is available on Xbox Game Pass at no additional cost, the game seemingly has failed to capture the interest of users.
The situation is not much different on Steam, with a mere 54 players playing Redfall at the time of writing, according to data from SteamDB, and a peak of only 139 concurrent players in the last 24 hours.
You can find the original report on the game's development here. Also, don't forget to join our 80 Level Talent platform and our Telegram channel, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.