He also claimed that Xbox wasn't expecting such a disappointing reception and reassured that Arkane will continue to provide support to the game.
The head of Xbox Phil Spencer has apologized for the initial release condition of Redfall, Xbox's latest major first-party game, and stated that developer Arkane Austin will focus on enhancing the game.
Redfall is facing a wave of criticism from both players and critics, who have expressed their disappointment with the game's unimpressive gameplay as well as its technical issues. The game's poor performance is evident from its Metacritic scores, with only 59 out of 100 points for the Xbox version and 57 out of 100 points for the PC version.
In a recent interview with Kinda Funny Games, Spencer addressed the negative response to Redfall, expressing surprise at the game's disappointing reception. According to the Xbox boss, internal mock reviews indicated that the game could have received significantly higher scores.
"We do mock reviews for every game that we launch, and this is double digits lower than where we thought we would be with this game through [those]," Spencer said. "That’s one of the disappointing things: we would never strive to launch a game that we thought was going to review in the low 60s – it’s not part of our goals."
"I think the teams have done a much better job in upping the level of quality of the games that we’ve shipped… and this game was significantly below our internal metrics compared to where it actually reviewed. But that’s not on anybody but us – we have to own that."
During the interview, Spencer was also asked about Xbox's decision-making process for game delays. He responded by saying that Xbox would not delay a project unless it was convinced that the delay would result in realizing the game's creative vision.
He further stated that postponing the game's release date one more time (Redfall was initially scheduled for the summer of 2022 and then was delayed till 2023) would not have resolved its major problems.
"A fundamental piece of feedback I get [from Redfall reviews] is that the game isn’t realizing the creative vision that it had for its players," Spencer siad. "That doesn’t fell like a, 'hey, just delay it'', that feels like the game had a goal to do one thing, and when players are actually playing they’re not feeling that."
Spencer also stated that, as Rare did with Sea of Thieves, Bethesda and Arkane will continue to support Redfall despite its initial criticism.
The head of Xbox was also asked about the lessons that Xbox could learn from Redfall and its launch. Spencer expressed his belief that Xbox should have provided more assistance to Arkane and established clearer expectations for what a first-party game should deliver earlier in the game's development.
"When we acquire studios, there are games that are in development, and then there are things that are either really early in development or not even conceived yet. I think we need to improve in engaging with games that are mid-way through production when they become part of Xbox," he said.
You can learn more by watching the interview with Phil Spencer 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.