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THERE’S The Redfall Hype

Last week I asked where the hype for Redfall was. Then the reviews were released. It has not fared well, and that’s not good news for Xbox.


The Metacritic score currently sits at 64 on Xbox Series X and 62 on PC. Commentary on the game is, to say the least, mixed. Multiple outlets are talking about failed experiments, trying to venture into the wrong genre and Arkane ignoring their own design principles to bring in a multiplayer element. There are also a fair amount of bugs.

In my article last week, I talked about the pressure on this release. It is effectively instead of Starfield, which itself is massively overhyped. That doesn’t mean that it’s bad, it just means that it has a whole lot to prove, and a lot of people waiting to find holes in it. I hope, in that case, that the holes aren’t found.

They definitely were with Redfall. This isn’t the top-tier release it deserves to be. And I think there are going to be some really interesting questions about why that might be. Hell, it might even be that we get some public answers.

It was in development for four years, and began before Xbox purchased Bethesda. That means that the PS5 version was being built, and got canceled. Fair enough.

But it also means that the groundwork was done before it went first party. And I wonder what impact that had on how the game was being built. Was this an attempt to do something more mainstream, which Bethesda was desperate for at the time. Was there going to be more live service elements, and they got stripped down for the final release? These are questions I’d love to know the answers to.

Redfall – Bad for Good?

I guess it comes down to this: game development is hard. And because game development is hard, mistakes get made that are difficult to undo. And I am certain that nobody at Arkane was under the impression these issues were going to slip through people’s notice.

This is 2023, and so the question of how this game came to be this way isn’t necessarily the most important one. Instead, we must ask what will happen to it next? Is this the next Sea of Thieves? Will we see constant updates for the next few years which build up to the problems disappearing?

See, the problem is that Redfall sounds fantastic on paper. There aren’t enough good games with vampires. And I guess there still aren’t.

But if the issues are largely fixable – and some are, some aren’t – then one day it can be great. I don’t know how I feel about that. It’s good and bad all at once.

Over the coming weeks, as the dust settles, I expect we’ll get a glimpse at what comes next. There will be a lot of good marketing materiel about “not having been good enough” and “listening to fans”. I think that’s probably unfair – the developers will have worked as hard as they can to make it as good as it can be.

Which brings me back round to my initial question. Just what went wrong with Redfall? I can’t wait to find out.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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Twitter: @matgrowcott