Microsoft Hands-Off Approach to Redfall Led to Critical and Commercial Dud

The recent launch of Xbox-exclusive game Redfall was met with disappointment, as it proved to be a commercial and critical failure. The game’s intriguing concept, which revolved around vampires on a Massachusetts island, was overshadowed by numerous bugs and a lack of overall polish. Now, a report from Bloomberg, penned by Jason Schreier, sheds light on alleged behind-the-scenes turmoil that contributed to Xbox’s setback in its mission to compete with first-party console sellers like Sony and Nintendo.

According to the report, developer Arkane Studios, the parent company of which was acquired by Microsoft in 2020, struggled with a lack of direction even before the acquisition. Hoping to tap into the success of “games as a service” titles like Fortnite and Overwatch, Arkane, known for acclaimed single-player games such as Dishonored 2 and Prey, initially considered incorporating microtransactions into Redfall. Although in-game monetization was eventually abandoned, the rocky start reportedly set the tone for a disorganized and chaotic design process.