Redfall developers reportedly hoped Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax would kill the project

(Image credit: Arkane)

Developers working on Redfall hoped Microsoft's acquisition of parent company ZeniMax Media would mean the end of the game – or, at least, it turning into something more recognisable to a studio famed for immersive sims.

That comes from Bloomberg, which reports that Redfall's development was fraught with numerous issues, from a lack of staffing to unclear creative direction. It got to the point where some staff reportedly hoped that Microsoft's deal to purchase ZeniMax Media would either kill the project entirely or reshape it into a single-player experience that more closely resembled the games the studio is known for.

As you have probably figured out, that didn't happen. Bloomberg reports that Microsoft maintained a hands-off approach, aside from axing a PS5 version of the game. Speaking to Kinda Funny in a recent interview, Xbox boss Phil Spencer admitted that the team "didn't do a good job early in engaging Arkane Austin."

From the sounds of it, issues were present long before Microsoft entered the scene. Bloomberg reports that Redfall came at a time when ZeniMax was encouraging studios to work with the 'games as a service' model in mind. With Prey falling short of expectations a year priority, Arkane bosses apparently fancied giving something with broader appeal a go. 

Alongside a sense of uncertainty and shifting targets, Arkane also had to deal with developers who specialised in single-players leaving for pastures new, put off by what Redfall proposed. In fact, as Bloomberg points out, only around 30% of the developers who worked on Prey were still at Arkane when development on Redfall ended. 

The scars of development were reflected in reviews. In our own Redfall review, we said it "feels rushed, unfinished, and unsatisfying." 

"Not even awesome vampires and world design can redeem Redfall's repetitive gameplay, which becomes progressively more monotonous the longer you play," we said.

As for where we are today, Xbox has committed to improving the game despite its rough launch. Beyond that, we can only wait and see.

Redfall proves it's time to press pause on tired squad-based shooters.

Deputy News Editor

Iain joins the GamesRadar team as Deputy News Editor following stints at PCGamesN and PocketGamer.Biz, with some freelance for Kotaku UK, RockPaperShotgun, and VG24/7 thrown in for good measure. When not helping Ali run the news team, he can be found digging into communities for stories – the sillier the better. When he isn’t pillaging the depths of Final Fantasy 14 for a swanky new hat, you’ll find him amassing an army of Pokemon plushies.