Arkane shows it hasn't given up on Redfall with a substantial new update, but it's hard to imagine a Cyberpunk-style turnaround is in the cards

Redfall vampire
(Image credit: Tyler C. / Arkane Austin)

Despite a rough release and not many people remaining to play it on Steam, Redfall is not yet Deadfall. On Friday, Arkane put out a large update to the game that addresses performance and stability concerns, bugs, accessibility and QoL shortfalls, and even adds new combat encounters and player actions.

The performance improvements most notably include "Improved PC performance and stability across a wide range of hardware configurations," and that's certainly welcome here. I didn't find Redfall to be a rough ride on the order of Jedi Survivor on the frame rate and graphical fidelity side, but it was far from perfect.

The juiciest stuff in the patch, to my eye, is under the combat section. The patch adds stealth takedowns with "staked weapons" (ones you've got a vampire-slaying stake strapped to like a bayonet), which is a nice addition, if a strange one to have been missing in the first place. "Increased open world enemy population and mission encounter balancing" and "Added unique open world enemy encounters in Redfall commons" are particularly promising line items.

Like with Mass Effect: Andromeda and Cyberpunk 2077 at launch, I've seen a lot of negative attention on Redfall focusing on polish, performance, and bugs while the game has much deeper issues to worry about. In his 44% review of Redfall, my colleague Tyler Colp stated that "Redfall drained every single drop of optimism out of me over the course of the 50 or so hours I put into it. Nothing could save it, not even bringing a friend along for co-op—in fact, it's so bad, I'd recommend bringing your enemies."

While Tyler gutted out 50 hours of listless shooting in admittedly pretty autumnal environments, I could barely stand three. Anything that helps shape up its gunplay and encounters to make them more fun strikes me as a priority, and the new stealth takedowns, additional open world fights, and tweaked missions are a start.

The thing is, Redfall needs a more profound overhaul than Cyberpunk's celebrated, three years in the making 2.0 update, while Redfall hardly has the same financial incentive to build and improve that Cyberpunk did—CD Projekt's sci-fi RPG sold 13 million copies within a month despite its poor state at launch. 

I'd also question if Redfall is as potentially reputationally damaging for Arkane Austin as Cyberpunk was to CD Projekt Red, or as the similarly-redeemed No Man's Sky was to Hello Games. CDPR dropped the ball on a long-awaited single player RPG follow up to one of the most celebrated single player RPGs of all time, and No Man's Sky was the overpoweringly (by Stephen Colbert, no less!) hyped first non-Joe Danger release from Hello Games. I think Redfall can be convincingly explained away as an ill-starred multiplayer experiment from a studio specializing in immersive single player experiences like Prey.

I could imagine a better Cyberpunk in 2020, or a more worthwhile No Man's Sky in 2016, but I don't know how I'd begin describing a Redfall I'd actually want to play that isn't effectively a different game. That strikes me as the answer here: after another patch or two, please let Arkane Austin just pick up sticks and move on. In the meantime, you can check out Redfall update 2's full patch notes on Steam.

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.