Microsoft dropped development of Redfall for PS5 after Bethesda acquisition: report
A PS5 version of the upcoming Arkane shooter red fall would have been abandoned by Microsoft. Speaking to IGN France, game director Harvey Smith revealed that one of the notable consequences of Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda in 2021 was that the focus on game development red fall fully moved to PC, Xbox, and Xbox Game Pass. “We were acquired by Microsoft and it was a change with a capital C. They came and said ‘No PlayStation 5,'” Smith explained in the interview. Work on developer Arkane Austin’s next vampire shooter began a year before the $7.5 billion (roughly Rs. 61,663 crore) acquisition of ZeniMax Media, Bethesda’s parent company.
While red fall was originally slated for release on all platforms, Smith doesn’t mind Microsoft’s decision to cancel the PS5 version. He notes that it’s “even a good move” because it helps support Game Pass and saves developers from having to worry about an entire platform. “…Game Pass has a ton of people who can play. It could be our biggest game ever because of 30 million Game Pass (members) or whatever that number is,” he said. The news comes amid ongoing attempts by Microsoft to convince regulators to approve its takeover of Activision Blizzard for $69 billion (about Rs 5,67,745 crore).The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had previously concluded that the deal could hurt gamers in the UK by reducing competition between Xbox and PlayStation – in favor of the former.
While red fall was announced in June 2021, long after Microsoft and Bethesda merged, plans for a PlayStation version were never revealed until now. Smith’s statement could potentially weaken Microsoft’s case for the pending acquisition of Activision, even as he continues to assert that Call of Duty will be available on multiple platforms, rather than being made into a exclusivity. Microsoft, however, has entered into a 10-year deal to bring Call of Duty and other Activision games to Nvidia’s gaming platform if maker Xbox is allowed to complete its acquisition of Activision. The company also signed a similar deal with Nintendo in hopes of placating regulators.
Microsoft previously stuck to the timed launches of Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo on its Xbox consoles, long after their PC and PlayStation exclusivity periods.
In another interview, Smith also confirmed that despite the timing, red fall was built on Unreal Engine 4 – specifically Unreal Engine 4.26. Turns out Epic Games released Unreal Engine 5 halfway through Redfall’s development, which made the transition extremely difficult at this stage. “If we had more time, we probably would have gone with UE5, but upgrading to 4.26 was a lot of work,” he said. Developer Arkane Austin is also considering removing the game’s highly frowned upon always-online requirement for single-player mode, with Smith noting it’s a “legitimate criticism”. Smith realizes that players with bad broadband do exist, and for that reason he takes the initial backlash with empathy.
“We’re listening. And we’ve already started working on fixing it in the future. We need to do some things like encrypt your backups and do a bunch of UI work to support it,” he said. said in the interview. “And so we are reviewing – I’m not supposed to promise anything – but we are reviewing and actively working to resolve this issue in the future.” red fall is a cooperative open-world shooter where you hunt down the vampires who have blocked the sunlight of the titular island city. Smith said there are no microtransactions or in-game store in red fall and that the always-online requirement exists to monitor player behavior and offer “accessibility tricks”.
“It allows us to do telemetry, like everyone falling off ladders and dying, holy shit that pops up. And so we can go modify the scale code. There are reasons why we decided to do this that are not insidious,” he said, while assuring that the team has DLC planned for the future.
red fall releases May 2 on PC, Xbox Series S/X and Xbox Game Pass.