Redfall, the underbaked and doomed FPS from Prey and Dishonored studio Arkane, once sat alongside your Starfields, your Halos, and your Microsoft Flight Sims in the Xbox events of yore (2021), but then, well, it came out earlier this year, and that put paid to that. Between the bugs and limp, lacklustre gameplay, the game felt beyond saving to me, and it feels like Microsoft might agree. Since Redfall's 1.1 patch in June this year, the game has lain dormant, save for the odd chirrup from its Twitter account.
That's probably one of the reasons why (as spotted by PCGamesN), Redfall's Steam player count has been so wince-inducingly low in recent weeks. A cursory check of SteamDB reveals that, since the game's all-time peak of 6,124 players during its release period five months back, its number of players has mostly hovered around the low double digits. But in the last week or two it's been hitting a single-digit player count regularly. Last Sunday, there were two players online at one point. Yup.
At time of writing, Redfall had 25 players online, fewer than all three Dishonored games and Prey, and level with Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. Of Arkane's library on Steam, only Arx Fatalis (19 players), Prey: Typhon Hunter (0, it really wasn't great), and Wolfenstein: Cyber Pilot (0, but it is a VR game) had fewer players.
There's a huge caveat here, and that's Game Pass. Redfall has been part of Microsoft's subscription service since day one, given that Arkane is owned by the corporation, and there are doubtless still at least a few people still playing it over on that service rather than Steam. It's on the Epic Games Store too, but the relative opacity of both of those services means the Steam numbers are all we have access to.
Back in June, Xbox boss Matt Booty said the game was getting "good play" on Xbox's subscription service, and perhaps the numbers he was referring to (which mortals like you and I aren't allowed to see) have held up. But we do know, at least, that Redfall doesn't show up in Xbox's 50 most played games list, which might tell us something about its popularity over there.
But the Steam thing's not a good sign, is it? It seems wildly unlikely to me that the abysmal low Redfall's player count has fallen to on Steam doesn't reflect the reality on the other services it's available on, too. Even if the number of Gamepass players is higher—which I imagine it is—I doubt the picture over there is much rosier than this one.
Redfall was not a good game. PCG's Tyler Colp scored it 44% in his Redfall review and called it a "lifeless multiplayer FPS that lacks any of Arkane's usual brilliance," and the game's players were no more enthusiastic. Given that Arkane's devs reportedly weren't too keen on working on it themselves, the state it came out in is probably no surprise, but speaking as an inveterate Prey and Dishonored liker, it's still a tough thing to see.
Both Matt Booty and Xbox honcho Phil Spencer have been out and about this year saying that Arkane was going to keep working on Redfall, signalling some kind of hope for a No Man's Sky-esque redemption arc, but that prospect seems more and more distant to me. Like I said, the game has been very quiet since its June patch, and whatever players it did manage to keep hold of seem to be steadily dropping away. Perhaps Arkane has something up its sleeve, a big patch for spooky October to really knock our socks off and pull it out of the single-digit doldrums, but I wouldn't hold my breath.