Arkane Austin's Redfall is going through a rough launch right now, with mediocre review scores and a community backlash hitting the new Xbox first-party exclusive. Usually known for delivering highly-quality immersive sim experiences, the studio's new cooperative looter shooter has been criticized for uninspiring gameplay, terrible AI, no 60FPS option on Xbox consoles, and various other aspects.
With everyone speculating on how the game was released in such as state, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer appeared on Kinda Funny Xcast to talk about the situation, saying "there is nothing more difficult for me than disappointing the Xbox community, to just watch the community lose confidence and be disappointed, I'm disappointed. We'll revisit our process."
Spencer said that Redfall probably wouldn’t have fared any better with further delays and that sometimes studios need to push out a game to see how players and reviewers receive the core creative vision. However, Spencer also said the game's low review scores came as a surprise, with internal tests and mock reviews showing a much more positive sentiment.
Phil Spencer gets honest about Redfall: pic.twitter.com/JUoqTrlLvU— Kinda Funny (@KindaFunnyVids) May 4, 2023
As for what could have changed Redfall's outcome, he added that "we didn't do a good job early on in engaging with Arkane Austin to really help them understand what it meant to be a part of Xbox and first party, and use some of our internal resources to help them move along that journey faster."
While The Coalition and Rare had jumped in to help Redfall achieve 60FPS on consoles prior to launch, it should have happened at a much earlier stage in development, according to Spencer. The Xbox head committed to improving the title going forward, but added "I also know these games are $70, and I'm going to take full responsibility for launching a game that needs to be great."
Spencer also said that this launch won't stop Xbox from letting studios experiment with unique ideas, with creative freedom still being a focus for the company.
Microsoft has its yearly Xbox Games Showcase lined up for June again, with a dedicated Starfield gameplay deep dive also happening alongside it. We will have to see what sort of surprises the show will have for Xbox fans to put Redfall in the rearview mirror.