Phil Spencer Opens Up About Redfall’s Negative Reviews and Reveals the Root Cause

Microsoft’s latest release, Redfall, has received mixed reviews since its launch, and the gaming community is disappointed. Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, expressed his remorse for receiving poor reviews. During the latest episode of Kinda Funny’s Xcast, Spencer said, “There’s nothing more difficult for me than disappointing the Xbox community. I’m upset with myself.” Spencer expressed his dissatisfaction that Redfall, a game that was initially supposed to launch with 60fps support, could only support 30fps on consoles for now.

The Development of Redfall

While discussing the issues plaguing Redfall’s launch, Spencer also tried to explain what led to the game’s rocky development. Spencer stated that he likes when developers step outside their comfort zone and try something new in the gaming industry.

He mentioned Hi-Fi Rush by Tango Gameworks, Grounded by Obsidian Entertainment, and Sea of Thieves by Rare as games where their development team attempted to introduce something fresh and new. Spencer acknowledged that Arkane Studios, the game’s developer and best known for its single-player games, pushed themselves beyond their limits by creating an online co-op game.

“I want to give the teams the creative platform to go and push their abilities and aspirations,” said Spencer. “But I also need to have a great selection of games that surprise and delight our fans, and we underdelivered on that, and for that, I apologize.”

Spencer admitted that Arkane Studios didn’t hit their internal goals, and he should have stepped in much earlier to help them. “We didn’t do a good job early on of engaging with Arkane Austin to understand what it meant to be part of Xbox. We left them to work on the game, and they’re a very talented team, and I love that team. I still do.”

The Microsoft CEO stated that Redfall was much further in development when Microsoft acquired Bethesda (owner of Arkane) and thus had less influence on the game’s development. For instance, Starfield, which was earlier in development during the acquisition, had more Microsoft intervention.

Redfall’s Reception

Redfall’s poor reviews have not sat well with the gaming community, given its significant hype before the release. The game currently holds a 62 Metascore on the popular review site Metacritic, making it one of the worst-performing first-party games by Xbox.

Microsoft has several first-party games in the pipeline, including Starfield, Fable, and Forza Motorsport. Spencer aims to provide surprise and delight to the Xbox community with these titles. However, Redfall’s reception hurt Microsoft’s reputation and may require significant efforts to regain the community’s trust.

Xbox Game Pass Struggling to Find Big Hits

The issues surrounding Redfall’s release have once again raised the question of whether Xbox Game Pass can deliver big hits. While Xbox Game Pass has delivered fantastic games and offered incredible value to the gamers’ community, the problem remains that the number of big hits is not substantial.

However, it’s worth noting that Redfall’s disappointing reception does not define Xbox Game Pass’s competence in delivering reliable titles. The platform still offers fantastic picks such as Forza Horizon 5, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and Halo Infinite campaign.

Fair Criticism or Unjustified Critiques?

As the gaming community continues to debate whether Redfall received fair criticism, one key takeaway remains; developers need to challenge themselves and create breakthrough games that surprise and delight gamers. The importance of breaking out of the comfort zone for developers cannot be overstated, and the rewards tend to follow.

The recent Redfall debacle did not receive the critical acclaim that Microsoft was hoping for, but it’s an important milestone in the gaming world that leaves us all with significant learnings.


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