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Phil Spencer apologises for ‘disappointing’ Redfall and claims Xbox was expecting better reviews

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Xbox boss Phil Spencer has apologized for the release status of his latest big first-party release, Redfall, and claimed that developer Arkane Austin will work to improve the game.

The first major Xbox exclusive from Bethesda launched this week, plagued with many technical issues and generally poor reviews, earning a combined score of 62 (Xbox Series X/S) and 58 (PC). bottom. metacritic.

At the time of publication, user scores for Co-op Shooter are only 2.6 and 1.9 out of 10.

Addressing Redfall’s disappointing reaction in a new interview with Kinda Funny Games, the head of Microsoft’s gaming division claims the platform owner didn’t expect such a negative reaction to the game, saying that internal Citing a mock review to suggest it could have scored much higher.

He also suggested that delaying the game further (originally scheduled for 2022) would not have solved the biggest problem.

“Nothing is harder for me than letting the Xbox community down,” Spencer said. “I’ve been a part of it for a long time. I’ve obviously been working on Xbox, I’m the head of the business, I have a lot of friends, I get a lot of feedback. I just see you disappointed, disappointed and upset. Yourself.”

He added: [those]This is one of the unfortunate things. We never made the effort to release a game that we thought would be reviewed in the late 60’s. It’s not part of our goal.

“Looking at our review scores over the past year, it’s not a defense, but I think the team did a better job of improving the quality level of the games we shipped…and this game is really where we reviewed. It’s well below internal metrics compared to .But it’s nobody but us – we have to own it.”

Spencer was commonly asked how they would decide if a game should be postponed, saying that if executives don’t believe it can realize its creative vision as a result, Xbox will push back on the project. I said it wouldn’t.

“There are quality issues and we’re working on them, but the basic feedback I’ve gotten is [from Redfall reviews] It’s that the game hasn’t realized the creative vision it had for its players. And it’s not like, ‘Hold on a second,’ like you’re not feeling it,” he said.

“If the game needs to be delayed, like we did with Starfield, Halo, and Redfall, the production timeline says, ‘We have this vision, and the production timeline can’t complete that vision.’ We delay the game.

Executives continued to downplay Redfall’s number of technical issues, instead arguing that the game’s poor reception was largely due to the development team’s failure to meet its goals.

“Learn about quality. I’ve seen it in Redfall and I know it’s buggy. When I look at the crash rate of the game, it’s getting all the telemetry so it’s not disproportionate to the quality of the game. It just launched and it’s like it’s in the pocket of what we’ve come to expect.

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“But looking at the review scores for this game, [about] Did the core idea have enough creative differentiation to realize its creative ambitions? I’m a big fan of Arkane Austin. Their track record is great and I love the many great games they have built. This is what the team failed to achieve with its own internal goals.

I think it’s a bit too simplistic to say “three months delay and the game’s core creative might have delivered something better than it should have”.

“So I see them in different camps. At some point we have to release the game with a creative vision and the reviewers and players will let us know what they think.”

Spencer argued that Bethesda and developer Arkane would continue to support Redfall, as Rare did with Sea of ​​Thieves.

“In terms of commitment to the game… definitely the team at Arkane are getting short-term feedback. We’re still working on the 60 fps update. We have a good timeline for that… and we’re continuing to I will work [on] game. Sea of ​​Thieves and [Obsidian‘s] Keep your feet on the ground and keep making games,” he said.

“But I also know that these games are $70. Keep going, keep trying, you have to – that’s creativity.”

Later in the interview, Spencer was asked to think about the lessons Xbox could take from Redfall and its boot state.

Spencer believes the platform holder should have done much earlier in the game’s development in terms of providing support to Arkane and setting expectations about what first-party games have to offer. .

“When we buy studios, we have games in development, some in early stages of development or not yet envisioned. I think we need to,” he said.

Phil Spencer apologizes for 'disappointing' Redfall, claims Xbox expected better reviews

“I think when you’re third party and suddenly you’re part of the first party, you have different expectations of the game and the team. We have different expectations of how we’re going to perform on our consoles. People have this game. Look what’s there and say, “Hey, this game is this different game on a different console platform.”

“And to get involved with Arkane Austin early on and really help them understand what it means to be part of Xbox and part of the first party and to help them along that journey. didn’t do a good job of using some of our internal resources to make it even faster.We entrusted them to develop the game…they are a very talented team – i love that team And I still love it. I’m totally betting they’ll make another great game.

“But when [Xbox Game Studios head] Matt Booty [Zenimax president] Jamie Leder, sit down. I think we can get involved with another studio sooner. And I think there’s a difference if we get on board when creative is already set for a game — it’s not about washing our hands, every game we ship from our team is an Xbox As a game, we take full responsibility for it.

Spencer said he believes the platform holder “did a better job” in helping develop Bethesda’s other 2023 release, the upcoming sci-fi RPG Starfield.

“We should have been there [Redfall co-creative director] Harvey [Smith] And the previous team – I think that’s our responsibility,” he continued. “And through the process, it’s Unreal. [Engine] Games: We have a lot of studios that have done really great work with Unreal over the years, but when they had a particular problem, I think we were too late to help. . ”

Finally, Spencer said that while it’s clear that Xbox Game Studios’ product delivery process could be improved, it doesn’t intend to force the development team to stick to creating a proven type of game.

Redfall is a vampire looter shooter and a new genre for creators Arkane known for their critically acclaimed immersive sim series Dishonored.

Phil Spencer apologizes for 'disappointing' Redfall, claims Xbox expected better reviews

“I revisit the process. I remember the announcement of 60 frames per second, and we haven’t shipped 60 frames per second since then. That naturally hit us on the chin a few weeks ago. gave.

“And seeing the game come out, the critical reaction wasn’t what we hoped it would be. And that’s a shame. So I picked myself up. What can I learn and how can I get better?

“One of the things I fight for is what went wrong. Clearly what we can do is quality and execution, but one thing I don’t do is create our team. I know a lot of people say, ‘You have a team, a team knows how to play a certain kind of game. It just forces you to play games.”

“And I don’t believe it. When I wanted to do it, when a team like Obsidian wanted to do Grounded, when Tango wanted to do Hi-Fi Rush, everyone thought they were probably doing The Evil Within 3, so I asked the team to be creative. We want to provide a platform that will boost their abilities and boost their aspirations.

“But we also need a great selection of games that continue to surprise and delight our fans, and I apologize for not being able to do that. No, but that’s what we offer.”