Arkane has dropped a new update for its undead shooter Redfall that adds a powerful new weapon, makes a number of changes to AI, missions, and gameplay, and introduces a handful of performance and stability tweaks. Unfortunately, it also reveals that the promised "Hero Pass," a $30 upgrade to the base game that promises two new heroes to play as, is still in development and won't be around until sometime in 2024.
Redfall, you will recall, tanked badly when it launched earlier this year. It just wasn't very good, and player numbers reflected that assessment: Its average concurrent player count on Steam in its first month of release was a paltry 305, and in the six months since that number plummeted to just 17 over the past 30 days.
Microsoft and Bethesda promised to keep working on it, and so they have, but not nearly at the pace we've seen from the developers of games like Remnant 2 or Starfield: Prior to today, only two updates had been released, neither of them notable game-changers.
That's the case for today's update as well. The headline item is the Basilisk, a sniper rifle that charges the first round in a full magazine with UV power that can petrify vampires—unless the vampire in question is immune to petrification, in which case, good luck.
Otherwise, though, this patch is a pretty standard, compact fixer-upper. Changes like improved NPC patrol pathing, better visibility of other players on the map, and performance fixes to improve FPS drops and stuttering are no doubt welcome, but there's a feeling of fiddling while Rome burns to it. I know there's a lot to be done, but will "human enemies are now able to climb awnings" turn things around for Redfall?
If anything, it's had the opposite effect. There's clear frustration among the remaining player base on Reddit with the fact that, more than six months after release, there's still no sign of the deluxe edition content. This might not be a big deal if you bought the base game, got tired of it, and moved on with your life, but if you sprung for the $100 "Bite Back" edition, or bought the upgrade (the "Hero Pass") separately, you might fairly be feeling as though you just fired your money out the window of a moving car.
All Bethesda had to say about it was a one-line comment at the end of the patch notes: "We're continuing development of The Hero Pass and we're excited to share more about Redfall's new heroes and other updates later next year."
An even bigger complaint is the ongoing lack of matchmaking. Bizarrely, Redfall—a co-op four-player shooter—does not support matchmaking, which means you can't just hop in with a squad of strangers and have fun shooting stuff: You either play with your Steam friends, or you play alone.
"It's a little crazy to think that this game has a few design elements that seem explicitly designed for teams (only three-weapon loadouts and getting swarmed by vampires sometimes), but then it doesn't have matchmaking," redditor archarugen wrote. "It seems completely backwards from other games like Borderlands that seem perfectly designed for single player but also have incredibly flexible matchmaking options. I wonder if (maybe wishful thinking) they're waiting as long as possible to fix matchmaking so that its release coincides with any new characters they add."
I'd say that's pretty optimistic: Holding back a fundamental gameplay feature like matchmaking so you can roll it out with a flourish alongside promised new content seems to me more likely to piss people off than excite them.
The scale of the unhappiness is naturally limited by the size of the Redfall playerbase: It's not a tsunami of outrage because, well, there are only a couple dozen people still playing the thing. And to be fair, there is some hopefulness among them that this update is a sign that Bethesda really is committed to making Redfall work, and that a Cyberpunk 2077 2.0-style turnaround might yet be possible. I don't think that's very likely—even at its lowest point, Cyberpunk's average concurrent player count on Steam never slipped below 8,000—and even if some major transformative update is in the works, at this pace I don't know if there will be anyone left to care by the time it arrives.
The full patch notes are below:
- Introducing the Basilisk, a new Unrivaled Sniper Rifle with a unique weapon trait: This weapon charges the first bullet in a full magazine with UV power that can petrify Vampires. Does not affect enemies recently Petrified or immune to Petrification.
- Basilisk can drop anywhere Unrivaled items are eligible, with a higher chance to drop from Bellwether-themed containers in the open world and vampire nests.
- Shrouds, Anglers, and Siphons are now gated from spawning in the open world until players reach a specific level, or complete certain missions.
- Balanced enemy abilities and traits:
- Siphon’s Blood Torrent ability takes longer to interrupt when breaking line of sight.
- Increased Siphon’s resistances to fire.
- Vampires deal more damage to Bribón and Devinder’s Quantum Kerfuffle decoy when attacking from close range.
- Soulless enemies deal more damage when attacking players from close range.
Watchers react faster to players in line of sight, and spawn reinforcements in combat more often.
- Human enemies are now able to climb awnings.
- Improved quality of enemy pathing and human movement animations
- Jacob's Camouflage Field skill will no longer cancel ADS for non-Jacob players.
- Devinder's Ultraviolent Light skill no longer shatters Special vampires, and instead inflicts a large amount of damage to them. Regular vampires will still shatter.
- Layla’s Psychic Shockwave no longer triggers multiple times from vampire lunge attacks.
- Deathmist Spewers now respond to the UV burst from Emergency Flash Bang Blood Remnants.
- Co-op players no longer lose their crouching ability when exiting a nest.
- Bound civilians no longer show as cultists when pinged.
- Refined search areas for several missions.
- Added more respawn points to minimize cases where players are blocked from respawning after death.
- Fixed locations where Devinder’s Translocate device can be thrown out of world.
- Improved NPC patrol paths
- “Amelia's Eulogy” triggers correctly after reloading the game.
- Resolved issues with hostile and friendly states in “One of Us”.
- Improved Totality’s responsiveness during the Black Sun boss fight.
- All damage-dealing Hero abilities will now shatter vulnerable Nest hearts.
- Jacob’s Six String backpack cosmetic is now shown with other Backpack cosmetics.
- Hero thumbs should no longer clip into assault rifles when equipped.
- Improved visibility of player locations on the Map.
- Added input curve visuals for Input Response settings.
- Voice chat now has a separate volume control option in the Audio Settings Menu.
- Added Single Press options for the following toggle-Hold interactions: ADS, Continuous Fire and all Menus.
- Screen narration no longer repeats the narration for the "Close" prompt when navigating the System Menu.
- Fixed an issue where all platforms read as ‘Xbox’ by the screen narrator.
- Pop-up countdown is narrated properly during first time use of the Accessibility Menu.
- Speech-to-text messages now appear in front of the blur of dialog menus in the Main Menu.
- Message-of-the-Day carousel no longer receives focus priority after exiting out of pop-up windows.
- Increased player flashlight's fade speed when reflecting off surfaces.
- Reduced Rook lightning dash attack impact brightness.
- Hero outfit foley has been updated and balanced to reduce loudness.
- Resolved issues with audio skipping during psychic echo playbacks.
- Resolved an issue where music would stop playing after a player was revived during a vampire god fight.
PERFORMANCE & STABILITY
- Traversing through Deathmist should no longer cause performance issues.
- Resolved issue with contact shadows interfering with self-shadowing.
- Resolved issue with some Game Settings not persisting between game launches.
- Restored default windowed mode to ‘Windowed Fullscreen’.
- The game client now saves window location between game launches.
- Various performance fixes related to FPS drops and stuttering.
- Addressed edge-case crash condition with late joining game clients.
"We're continuing development of The Hero Pass and we're excited to share more about Redfall's new heroes and other updates later next year.
"We hope you enjoy Game Update 3!"