The head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, said that this week’s launch of Arkane Studios’ Redfall is “disappointing,” but that the studio behind it is committed to continuing to work on it. Spencer, speaking on the Kinda Funny Games Xcast Thursday, also took responsibility for the launch of a rough game at Xbox’s new $70 price point.
Spencer said that critical response to Redfall was “significantly lower” than Microsoft’s internal reviews of the game — on Metacritic, the average review score is 59 out of 100. User reviews are far less positive.
“We do mock reviews for every game that we launch, and this is double digits lower than we thought we would be with this game,” Spencer explained. “That’s one of the disappointing things; we would never strive to launch a game that we thought was going to review in the low 60s — it’s not part of our goals. [Redfall] was significantly lower than our internal metrics in terms of where it actually reviewed. But that’s not on anybody but us. We have to own that.
Spencer said that Microsoft and Arkane are taking that feedback to heart, and pointed to other, long-supported games from Xbox Game Studios as examples of committing to fixing what’s wrong.
“In terms of our commitment to the game […], the team at Arkane is taking the near-term feedback,” he said. “We’re still working on the 60 fps [update]. We have a good timeline for that. We’re committed to getting that done, and we’re going to continue to work [on] the game. We’ve shown a commitment to games like Sea of Thieves and Grounded, to continue to go and build games. But I also know these games are $70, and I’m gonna take full responsibility for a game that needs to be great.”
Ultimately, Spencer said, “We let a lot of people down this week with the launch of the game, but we will continue to strive on.”
Spencer also addressed a common question: Why not delay Redfall until it’s ready? (The game was already delayed significantly in 2022.)
“There are quality issues and we’re working on those, but I think there’s a fundamental piece of feedback that we get that the game isn’t realizing the creative vision that it had for its players,” Spencer said. “That doesn’t feel like a Hey, just delay it [situation]. That feels like the game had a goal to do one thing and when players are actually playing they’re not feeling that thing, that creative execution of the team.”
“When a game needs to be delayed — what we did with Starfield, what we did with Halo [Infinite], what we did with Redfall — because the production timeline is saying, We have this vision, and our production timelines don’t get us to the completion of that vision, we do delay games.”