Phil Spencer apologizes for Redfall's 'disappointing' launch but promises to keep working on it

Redfall key art
(Image credit: Arkane Austin)

Redfall is out, and to be blunt, it is not good. It's a "flat, dull experience," we said in our 44% review (ouch), "that lacks any of Arkane's usual brilliance." In an interview with Kinda Funny, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said he's "disappointed" in the state of the game, and apologized to fans for missing the mark so badly.

"I'm disappointed. I'm upset with myself," Spencer said. "I kind of revisit our process—I think back to the announcement of 60 frames per second, and then we weren't shipping 60 frames per second. That was kind of our punch in the chin, rightfully, a couple weeks ago. And then seeing the game come out, and the critical response was not what we wanted. It's disappointing."

"I want to give the [Xbox] teams the creative platform to go and push their abilities, push their aspirations. But I also need to have a great selection of games that continue to surprise and delight our fans, and we under-delivered on that. And for that, I apologize. It's not what I expect, not what I want."

Interestingly, Spencer said delaying Redfall's release wouldn't have solved its most fundamental problems because while there are clearly "quality issues," the bigger problem is that "the game isn't realizing the creative vision that it had for its players."

"That doesn't feel like a, 'Hey, just delay it'," Spencer said. "That feels like the game had a goal to do one thing, and when players are actually playing they're not feeling that thing, they're not feeling the creative execution of the team."

All of this apparently caught Microsoft by surprise: Spencer said the review scores for Redfall have come in "double-digits lower" than what Microsoft expected based on its internal mock reviews.

Despite the rough start, Spencer said Microsoft and Arkane remain "absolutely" committed to fixing and improving Redfall, comparing it to Sea of Thieves and Grounded, which grew from less-than-stellar launches into popular successes. "But I also know that these games are $70," Spencer said, "and I'm going to take full responsibility for launching a game that needs to be great."

Spencer also touched on the upcoming Xbox Games Showcase and Starfield Direct streams, and on that subject he was a bit more upbeat, promising updates on current projects and "some things that people haven't seen, [including] some new games." That event is set to begin at 10 am PT/1 pm ET on June 11, and will be followed by the PC Gaming Show

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.