Xbox wasn't involved with Redfall, but it's still blamed for its quality

GraniteStateColin

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Another great article on the state of Xbox, Jez. I also think it's a good point that Redfall had been started 5 years ago, before the MS acquisition, so it could reflect a panicked rush for multiplayer that was important in that moment.

I have zero firsthand insight, but one other possibility that I've seen happen a few times following acquisitions, especially of creative teams: the acquirer (MS in this case) figures the acquiree (Arkane) are the experts in this area, so best to let them do what they do well and remain hands-off. Meanwhile, the acquiree thinks they need to modify their direction to better fit with the strategic goals of their new "masters" and do things they wouldn't have done outside the acquisition. At the same time, each side thinks the other is policing quality. The end result is a disaster with no real ownership and no cohesive development concept.

You'd like to think that MS has been to this rodeo enough times to avoid that problem, but maybe not. That kind of management confusion MIGHT be supported by some comments (maybe including yours, Jez, don't recall who said this) back in 2022 on the disjointed feel of the different promo videos coming out about Redfall. It's a funny co-op shooter (like the Sea of Thieves promos). No, it's an atmospheric horror game. Those two themes don't really mix. I realize that is not related to the gameplay problems we're seeing, but they could have a shared source causing both problems: a lack of clear leadership directing the game and its promotion.
 

GraniteStateColin

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Question: If most of the abilities were made available to every player instead of being spread across 4 different characters and the broken RPG elements removed or fixed, would Redfall then be good? That is, is it a fun shooter with good gameplay aspects that are hindered by limiting access to only 1/4 of the fun abilities per playthrough and broken leveling, or would the core gameplay even w/o those issues still be mostly boring?

They have promised 2 additional characters and the 60FPS update. Maybe they could address some of these issues and add some more side quests to fill out the map better at the same time (or later).

Love the immersive sim genre and the concept behind Redfall seems intriguing, so hope these guys can find a way to get it from "not terrible, but OK" at least up to "a good game."
 

Zachary Boddy

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Question: If most of the abilities were made available to every player instead of being spread across 4 different characters and the broken RPG elements removed or fixed, would Redfall then be good? That is, is it a fun shooter with good gameplay aspects that are hindered by limiting access to only 1/4 of the fun abilities per playthrough and broken leveling, or would the core gameplay even w/o those issues still be mostly boring?

They have promised 2 additional characters and the 60FPS update. Maybe they could address some of these issues and add some more side quests to fill out the map better at the same time (or later).

Love the immersive sim genre and the concept behind Redfall seems intriguing, so hope these guys can find a way to get it from "not terrible, but OK" at least up to "a good game."
I'd love to see Redfall get the attention it needs to become a great game, but the kind of fundamental gameplay elements for which it's being criticized are not aspects typically affected by post launch support in games. Redfall isn't 100% garbage, there are plenty of good parts, but will it get the time, support, and funding it needs to overhaul what doesn't work? We've seen plenty of other games with great potential thrown to the side because of the reception at launch.

Unfortunately, not every compromised game can have a No Man's Sky redemption story.
 
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CadErik

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Given the amount of issues with that game - there is no way it was launched without Xbox and Arkane KNOWING it was going to be a disaster. The game must have gone through many focus groups, betas, etc and most of the current feedback is not new to them. I'm thinking they decided the game was beyond salvation and decided to release it instead of pouring more money into it. The slideshows that are used instead of cinematic scenes were probably meant to be replaced by full baked cinematics but I suspect they lost hope in the game and decided to stop the $$$ hemorage. Also another reason could be that Arkane is working on something more important and they needed more manpower on that project. Arkane and Xbox did not even try to space the release from Jedi Survivor which says they really lost hope in that release.
 

CadErik

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Given the amount of issues with that game - there is no way it was launched without Xbox and Arkane KNOWING it was going to be a disaster. The game must have gone through many focus groups, betas, etc and most of the current feedback is not new to them. I'm thinking they decided the game was beyond salvation and decided to release it instead of pouring more money into it. The slideshows that are used instead of cinematic scenes were probably meant to be replaced by full baked cinematics but I suspect they lost hope in the game and decided to stop the $$$ hemorage. Also another reason could be that Arkane is working on something more important and they needed more manpower on that project. Arkane and Xbox did not even try to space the release from Jedi Survivor which says they really lost hope in that release.
Dustin from IGN echoed the same - his theory is that the team is working on the next Fallout
 

North Europe

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Great article.

I am a multi-platform (PC, XBox, PS and Switch) cheapskate player. I never buy anything that is not on proper sale (=old) and I sometimes forget that these "not ready at launch" games are a thing.
 

DarkDante

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How is it possible that Xbox wasn't involved in the development of REDFALL in any shape or form?

When Bethesda announced the delay of REDFALL and STARFIELD, Phil Spencer himself retweeted the news with the following comment:

"These decisions are hard on teams making the games & our fans. While I fully support giving teams time to release these great games when they are ready, we hear the feedback. Delivering quality & consistency is expected, we will continue to work to better meet those expectations."
It doesn't get any clearer than that: XBox was involved and was aware of what the final product would look like.
Also, no one can tell me that Bethesda itself decided to cancel the PS5 version after the acquisition was announced.

Is XBox the main culprit? You can certainly discuss that.
In my opinion, however, one thing is clear: they definitely bear some of the blame.
 

atoqir

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I am mainly a PC gamer, have a PS5 and use game pass from time to time. So I am not into 'console wars'

But while great games in their own right, if you compare that platform exclusive list with games like pentiment, Hi-Fi Rush against Sony their console first exclusives like Horizon, God Of War, Last Of Us, Uncharted, Ratchet, Stray, ... the point is very clear.

The only answer that MS has in this blockbuster genre that generates massive sales and are PR juggernauts is Gears. The previous 2 games where brilliant but 1 game (that seemingly takes forever to make) isn't a good strategy.

It is also very strange to see that stuff like Elder Scrolls Online still isn't on gamepass or the Xbox App. They still use different launchers, differents stores, different subscriptions, no cross platform, no crossplay, no saves. It has been years.

Acquiring stuff is a good idea, and integrating them is even better. Look at the success stories Sony, Apple and Google have. But for some reason Microsoft just buys things and let them linger.
 

DarkDante

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I am mainly a PC gamer, have a PS5 and use game pass from time to time. So I am not into 'console wars'

But while great games in their own right, if you compare that platform exclusive list with games like pentiment, Hi-Fi Rush against Sony their console first exclusives like Horizon, God Of War, Last Of Us, Uncharted, Ratchet, Stray, ... the point is very clear.

The only answer that MS has in this blockbuster genre that generates massive sales and are PR juggernauts is Gears. The previous 2 games where brilliant but 1 game (that seemingly takes forever to make) isn't a good strategy.

It is also very strange to see that stuff like Elder Scrolls Online still isn't on gamepass or the Xbox App. They still use different launchers, differents stores, different subscriptions, no cross platform, no crossplay, no saves. It has been years.

Acquiring stuff is a good idea, and integrating them is even better. Look at the success stories Sony, Apple and Google have. But for some reason Microsoft just buys things and let them linger.
That's my biggest concern right now. It seems that MS is just buying up publisher/IPs to take them away from other consoles.

STARFIELD is the best example: the main thing is to buy it so that the PS community can no longer experience it on their own console. How will it look qualitatively? We have to wait for that. With regard to REDFALL, however, I fear that the next disappointment awaits us.
 

GraniteStateColin

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That's my biggest concern right now. It seems that MS is just buying up publisher/IPs to take them away from other consoles.

STARFIELD is the best example: the main thing is to buy it so that the PS community can no longer experience it on their own console. How will it look qualitatively? We have to wait for that. With regard to REDFALL, however, I fear that the next disappointment awaits us.

Well, Bethesda specifically was originally PC-only, then added Xbox due to the similar dev environment, and then PS and other platforms for the added market access. I know PS has become more than an afterthought in recent years, but internally, Bethesda has always been really about PC and Xbox.

Still, at a strategic level, I think your assessment is fair: MS is buying up some of the IP to make it Xbox exclusive. Not all, of course, some is for access to specific technologies or markets that it hopes to leverage across its studios while still making their games available cross-platform. But I don't see that MS really has a choice to buy and make many of these games exclusive. PS has used first party to beat on Xbox, so MS' only rational response was to take some action to show, "We have great unique first party IP too." That's really the only way to neutralize Sony's position.

As gamers we may not care about console wars, but MS can't be the only company not fighting, while Sony in particular is continually waging a brutal war against them and doing everything they can to stop MS from selling product. Nintendo's strength is their first party games, to their credit, created in-house. Microsoft's strength is its checkbook and Azure infrastructure, so that's what they're leveraging. And every company in every industry should always leverage its strengths to maximize its growth opportunities.
 

atoqir

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while Sony in particular is continually waging a brutal war against them and doing everything they can to stop MS from selling product

With 'doing everything they can to stop MS from selling product' you mean making great first party exclusives and bringing them to PC later as well?

Last Of Us, Spiderman, Uncharted, God Of War, Horizon, Ratchet And Clank, ...

Microsoft is allowed to compete with Sony and Nintendo by making better games. But after all these years of 'shopping around' they still have nothing that truly competes. And frankly, it is too late because the catalogue of the competition has grown too big the last 2 generations (which they missed°
 

GraniteStateColin

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With 'doing everything they can to stop MS from selling product' you mean making great first party exclusives and bringing them to PC later as well?

Last Of Us, Spiderman, Uncharted, God Of War, Horizon, Ratchet And Clank, ...

Microsoft is allowed to compete with Sony and Nintendo by making better games. But after all these years of 'shopping around' they still have nothing that truly competes. And frankly, it is too late because the catalogue of the competition has grown too big the last 2 generations (which they missed°

Yes, those are good examples (and nothing wrong with Sony doing those). Also paying third party developers for timed exclusives. Also filing dishonest briefs with governments to prevent the acquisition of ABK. Also trying to have GamePass made illegal in certain markets. General cutthroat business practices. Just Sony looking out for Sony. I don't like Sony doing those things, but I don't particularly resent them either. It's really on the governments who fall for their lobbying who are to blame for any legal roadblocks.

Regardless, with Sony taking those steps, MS has to take its own to counter Sony's moves in order to continue to sell. As the #3 console maker, I think MS should be given the most "moral" leeway here in trying to regain market share. Ideally, for the good of gamers, it wouldn't be via exclusives, but with Sony having several good IP's, as you've rightly pointed out, MS needs a counter to that specific point with IP's of its own, however it gets them.
 

Chi28n2k

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Exclusive Xbox wasn't involved with Redfall, but it's still blamed for its quality Redfall dropped to middling reviews, catalyzing a very bad news cycle for Xbox. With the Activision-Blizzard deal likely dead, and no games to look forward to, fingers are being pointed.

Xbox wasn't involved with Redfall, but it's still blamed for its quality : Read more
Firstly, there ARE games to look forward to. Starfield, anyone? But, seriously, it seems every game, with a Live Service model, is released half-finished. It's borderline insulting, as an (sorta?) Intelligent Gamer. I gave EVERY I I game a couple years to unf'k itself seeing as I only sunk $26 into Redfall, gor the Upgrade, I can surely give Zeno a few moons to fix their beautiful, empty, fill-release Beta World, of Redfall, MA, to accommodate their Users, desire to shoot something, without dozing off, twice, in the ten minutes it takes to find an Enemy NPC(Cultist, OR Vampire), seemingly ad nauseum, even on Midnight. The leveling, because you can't gain XP, s ince there's hardly anything to kill, is atrocious. I've buried several hours, in a Character, only to be rewarded by STILL being level 2, despite finding three Safhouses, and killing every rarified, Bloodsucker, and Cultist, in my way. In the past three days...

It's a pitiful waste, easily rectified, by upping the Enemy Spawn count, and frequency, to provide consistent challenges.

As a fan of Assassin's Creed, especially the last Origins Trilogy, I'm a fan of Stealth.

It's not Stealth, to walk around an empty World, replete with (Awesome) atmospheric, Spooky Music, with absolutly, no payoff.

I invested mayyby 7 hours into Multiplayet, with a buddy last night. We probably killed 20-25 Baddies, in total, COMBINED. On Dusk, initially, then Midnight. All Midnight fid, was make the NPCs we did come across, more bullet spongy, but not really more numerous.

Yawnfest fodder...

I like the premise, and the Promise, of Redfall. I. Willing to stick at it, as long as they clearly communicate the Road map forward, for improvement. I will not be spending g many more hours fighting they're to nod off, or play a more fun, engaging, active, attention/time-respecting, 5 year old game...
 

BINARYGOD

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I am mainly a PC gamer, have a PS5 and use game pass from time to time. So I am not into 'console wars'

But while great games in their own right, if you compare that platform exclusive list with games like pentiment, Hi-Fi Rush against Sony their console first exclusives like Horizon, God Of War, Last Of Us, Uncharted, Ratchet, Stray, ... the point is very clear.

The only answer that MS has in this blockbuster genre that generates massive sales and are PR juggernauts is Gears. The previous 2 games where brilliant but 1 game (that seemingly takes forever to make) isn't a good strategy.

It is also very strange to see that stuff like Elder Scrolls Online still isn't on gamepass or the Xbox App. They still use different launchers, differents stores, different subscriptions, no cross platform, no crossplay, no saves. It has been years.

Acquiring stuff is a good idea, and integrating them is even better. Look at the success stories Sony, Apple and Google have. But for some reason Microsoft just buys things and let them linger.

why is that people like you when making these comparisons are ultra convenient about which games you list? Like, FH5 and MFS somehow dont count? The 'Sony does better' meme doesn't actually reflect reality nearly as much as people say.

You can take a look at the wiki entries for Sony/MS/Bethesda publishing (Bethesda published is listed separately still), remove ports and games appearing on the competing console (etc) and compare remaining entries with Metacritic, and suddenly Sony doesn't have nearly the edge everyone claims. It's WAY closer.
 

BINARYGOD

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How is it possible that Xbox wasn't involved in the development of REDFALL in any shape or form?

When Bethesda announced the delay of REDFALL and STARFIELD, Phil Spencer himself retweeted the news with the following comment:

"These decisions are hard on teams making the games & our fans. While I fully support giving teams time to release these great games when they are ready, we hear the feedback. Delivering quality & consistency is expected, we will continue to work to better meet those expectations."
It doesn't get any clearer than that: XBox was involved and was aware of what the final product would look like.
Also, no one can tell me that Bethesda itself decided to cancel the PS5 version after the acquisition was announced.

Is XBox the main culprit? You can certainly discuss that.
In my opinion, however, one thing is clear: they definitely bear some of the blame.
Uh, the article you are reacting to and the interview IT is reacting to already made this clear. It's very possible for someone to buy Bethesda and then to let them mostly just do what they do, only "meddling" on the ultra high priority stuff (like SF).
 
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BINARYGOD

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That's my biggest concern right now. It seems that MS is just buying up publisher/IPs to take them away from other consoles.

STARFIELD is the best example: the main thing is to buy it so that the PS community can no longer experience it on their own console. How will it look qualitatively? We have to wait for that. With regard to REDFALL, however, I fear that the next disappointment awaits us.
What does one game made by one group mean about other games made by a different group ? by your logic, FH5 means you should look forward to many good games made by people who didn't make FH5.
 

DarkDante

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Uh, the article you are reacting to and the interview IT is reacting to already made this clear. It's very possible for someone to buy Bethesda and then to let them mostly just do what they do, only "meddling" on the ultra high priority stuff (like SF).
So... now that Phil has personally taken responsibility for the REDFALL debacle, you too have to admit that Microsoft "didn't just let Bethesda do whatever they want" but was more actively involved.
What does one game made by one group mean about other games made by a different group ? by your logic, FH5 means you should look forward to many good games made by people who didn't make FH5.
I have expressed concern that Microsoft now has control to push games out asap and block potential delays requested by the development team. Did that happen in the case of REDFALL? Will this eventually happen with STARFIELD? I don't know it. But I express concerns here, which are understandable after the last (heavily bugged) release and Microsoft's statements that they are definitely partly to blame here.

It's commendable that you and Jez Corden always have to put themselves directly protective of Microsoft here.
A release like HiFi-RUSH is a success? MS is praised and celebrated.
REDFALL fails? No, MS can have absolutely nothing to do with it.
However, bending the narrative to present MS in a great light destroys the integrity and credibility of such a site. And that's really annoying.
 

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