Redfall's launch back on May 1 was a disaster. It was panned by audiences and critics (including our own Tyler Colp, who scored it 44% in his Redfall review) and riddled with performance issues. The game's situation is so dire that, when it got its first major patch earlier this week, there were under 100 people still playing to see it, a shocking number for a major release from a big studio.
As an inveterate fan of Arkane's games, it's been tough to watch, and more than once I've wondered if the future of Arkane Austin—the branch of the studio that made Redfall—might be thrown into question by Redfall's less-than-lacklustre performance. But in a recent chat with Axios, Xbox Game Studios boss Matt Booty took some of the blame for Redfall's state at launch, and painted a—not exactly positive—but brighter picture than you might expect of Arkane Austin's future.
Responding to a question about fan concerns regarding Arkane Austin staying open, Booty said "That is the plan right now". The studio is "hard at work on updates and continued content for Redfall," and it sounds like Microsoft doesn't want to upend that work with a sudden closure.
Still, it's hard not to read something ominous into how Booty phrased that statement. "That is the plan right now" is not exactly a full-throated expression of undying support. Plans change, especially when "right now" is no longer right now. It sounds like Redfall's devs don't have to worry about the immediate future, but I wouldn't be surprised if its long-term survival was on thin ice.
Still, maybe they'll pull it out of the bag. Booty didn't put all of the blame on Arkane Austin for Redfall's state at release, remarking that he feels "accountable that we could have done a better job with Arkane," meaning that Microsoft could have done a better job at setting expectations within the studio for what a first-party game needs to be.
And most shocking of all, apparently people are still playing the game, at least over on Game Pass. We only have Booty's word to go on, but the Xbox boss said it was getting "good play" on Microsoft's game subscription service, noting that "It was a miss, but how much of a miss?" He added that he wants to help Arkane Austin mould Redfall into the game they had in mind from the start (which is probably different from the version they hoped Microsoft would cancel before they had to release it).
So, fingers crossed that Arkane Austin's mistakes with Redfall don't turn out to be fatal. I certainly hope so; the studio behind Prey deserves better than to go quietly into that good night.