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Redfall’s release earlier this year was a huge dud for Microsoft and Arkane Austin – but that only came as a surprise to Microsoft, a new report by Bloomberg points out. Arkane’s employees had had doubts about the project from the very beginning, it seems. Redfall’s development seems to have started right around the time Arkane’s parent company ZeniMax encouraged its studios to produce live-service games, which may have been a ploy to increase the company’s value while it was looking for someone interested in acquiring it. That, of course, turned out to be Microsoft.

During Redfall’s development a large share of employees, who had worked on Arkane’s critical hit game Prey, left the studio – partially due to a lack of enthusiasm for the multiplayer game, it seems. This sapped the team’s morale and contributed to a chronic lack of manpower.

The attitude at Arkane regarding Redfalls seems to have been so negative that some members of the staff even hoped that Microsoft would step in and cancel the project (or at least let Arkane reboot it) after having completed the acquisition – but Phil Spencer’s famous hands-off approach meant that no one ever did anything of that sort aside from canning the planned PS5 version.

Throughout the entire process the hope was that “Arkane magic” would at some point happen and get the entire game into shape, echoing developments at BioWare during the making of the flopped Anthem.

There seems to have been a lack of a clear vision for Redfall from the beginning aside from the condition that it must be a multiplayer and live-service game, because that’s what the suits had decided. The report makes it pretty clear that many of Arkane’s developers weren’t overly passionate about Redfall right from the start.