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Redfall devs wanted to reboot FPS rather than rely on “Arkane magic”

A new Bloomberg report has revealed that a faction of developers at Arkane Studios had hoped Microsoft would reboot Redfall as a single-player game for Xbox.

Redfall Xbox single player reboot Bloomberg: an image of Remi from the FPS

We know it may sound a little harsh, but Redfall is nothing short of a failure for both developer Arkane Studios and publisher Microsoft. In our Redfall review, we said the experience “looks and feels like a slog” – and we’re not alone in that assessment. This is a far cry from one of the best co-op games out there, and that’s a real shame. However, it sounds like Arkane Studios was hopeful that Microsoft’s acquisition of parent-company ZeniMax Media would change things for the better and present the opportunity to reboot Redfall.

In an investigative report for media outlet Bloomberg, journalist Jason Schreier has claimed that “the acquisition [mentioned above] gave some staff at Arkane [Studios] hope that Microsoft might cancel Redfall, or better yet, let them reboot it as a single-player game” – this information coming from “sources familiar with the production” speaking anonymously to Schreier.

However, as we now know, this wasn’t what happened – “aside from canceling a version of Redfall that had been planned for rival Sony Corp.’s PlayStation”, according to Schreier. When you think of the best Xbox Game Pass games, Redfall isn’t one of them; you have to wonder whether a single-player version of the title would have faired better.

Phil Spencer has shown public support for Arkane Studios despite Redfall’s negative reception at launch, however Schreier does note that Spencer has also admitted that Xbox “didn’t do a good job early in engaging Arkane Austin” – something that meant the studio operated with “great autonomy” despite morale dropping and the studio hemmorrhaging veteran developers throughout.

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The rest of Schreier’s report on Redfall isn’t a nice read for fans of Arkane Studios who hoped this vampire-slayer would succeed. There wasn’t a clear vision of what Redfall was supposed to be, with shifting references to games like Far Cry and Borderlands only furthering a “fundamental tension between single-player and multiplayer design”. The studio itself was also “perpetually understaffed”, difficulties hiring for vaccancies, and a promise of “Arkane magic” manifesting at the last minute to fix the game’s problems.

Redfall co-director Harvey Smith, in an interview with media outlet Eurogamer, also shared that “for the first three years, Redfall had a significant microtransaction plan in place” – something that was eventually scrapped, but undoubtedly would disrupt development.

Despite Arkane Studios confirming it would continue to work on Redfall, in an effort to improve the title for Xbox players, it’s hard to imagine this game recovering to become one of the best Xbox FPS games available. Instead, this looks set to become another in a growing list of underwhelming games that will, eventually, be lost to the annals of time.

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Although, there is hope for Redfall yet – but, Arkane Studios would need to improve almost every area of the game itself. Cyberpunk 2077 and Star Wars Jedi Survivor, as examples, have both recovered from poor launches. However, the issues with Redfall go beyond performance issues – so, don’t keep your hopes up for too long.

If you still want to give Redfall a go, out of morbid curiosity or otherwise, you can find it on Xbox Game Pass – which will save you a few bucks on buying the game at full price.

Redfall might not be worth much of your time, but you can find our picks for the best Xbox RPG games right here, and our list of the best games of all time here, too – some of which will be available on your Xbox.