Redfall Development Riddled with Problems at the Start

The game was doomed to fall right from the start.

Layla (The Telekinetic Threat) - Redfall Characters

A new report has revealed the whole development of Redfall with Arkane Studios and just how it was filled with problems right at the start.

Redfall’s Early Days – The Pitch

A new report by Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier shared new details about the development of Redfall and all of its issues that the developers experienced. It was revealed that development was hindered by a lack of clear direction, a high turnover of staff, and a lack of resources. This was based on the accounts of various anonymous sources who have worked on the game. It was revealed that this project started its development way back in 2018 after it was pitched to staff as a “multiplayer Arkane game”.

Arkane Staff Not Sure of Outcome

While a few found the pitch exciting, a lot of the members were confused and felt unsure of it. Arkane was known for its stealth and shooter gameplay like Deathloop, Dishonored, and Prey so they did not see how this would translate well to a co-op setting.

Redfall’s Development Problems – Understaffed

Redfall suffered lots of problems during its development. One of those issues was them getting understaffed with Arkane’s Austin office holding fewer than 100 people. Bethesda also did not give enough outsourcing support to them.

Many experienced developers left the studio because they were not interested in making a multiplayer game. Three-quarters of the Austin staff have departed by the time Redfall was finished. It was that bad.

Arkane had a hard time filling up vacancies and there were several factors that contributed to it. The studio only offered lower-than-average salaries, and it was challenging to convince some progressive or moderate video game developers to move to Texas. Since Redfall was not announced yet, the studio could not describe the details to prospective employees which worsened the staffing issues even more. They wanted to hire people with experience in multiplayer shooters, but the ones who applied are those who wanted to work on single-player immersive sims.

Morale significantly dropped in Arkane Studios.

Another Problem – Live Service Mandate

When the game started development, Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax pushed its studios to develop live service titles. Arkane Studios had big plans for Redfall in terms of microtransactions in place for three years. Thankfully, this got scrapped in 2021.

Arkane Wanted Microsoft’s Help; Took Hands-Off Approach

When ZeniMax got acquired by Microsoft in 2021, the staff was hoping that the new owner would cancel Redfall or just reboot it into a single-player game, but that did not happen. Microsoft stated it would take a hands-off approach to Bethesda’s game studios. Microsoft’s Spencer would later apologize for this in an interview with Kinda Funny saying that Xbox did not do a good job early in engaging the studio. And what a mess it was.

Last Days of Development – Hoping for a Miracle

In the final months of development, the remaining staff of Arkane Austin were stretched thin and the debut date got pushed back from Halloween 2022 to early 2023 and then finally to May 2, 2023. Co-Director Harvey Smith and the other executives of the studio assured the staff that the game would be better once the final art was implemented and the bugs were fixed. They promised that “Arkane magic” would happen at the last minute just like with their previous games. In the end, it all fell flat. Some people who played the game way back in 2021 were shocked to see the big changes. The final product was glitchy and poorly implemented which failed to live up to the hype of the fans.

The rest was history.

Redfall is out now on PC and Xbox Series X/S.