Microsoft Axes Planned Redfall Updates as Arkane Austin Shuts Down

Microsoft has announced the discontinuation of its open-world game Redfall, effectively ending the game’s development one year post-release. Arkane Austin, the game’s developer, is among the Bethesda studios facing closure following budget cuts at its parent company, Microsoft. The game, plagued by challenges, will no longer receive support, and Arkane Austin is offering refunds for players who purchased undelivered updates.

Which Bethesda studios are being closed? In addition to Arkane Austin, Microsoft is shutting down several other studios it acquired from Zenimax Media in 2021 for $7.5 billion. This includes Tango Gameworks and Alpha Dog Games, developers behind Hi-Fi Rush and Mighty Doom, respectively.

Despite the closure, Redfall’s servers will remain active, ensuring the game is still playable. This move has caused significant disappointment in the gaming community, with some gamers even calling for Xbox head Phil Spencer to step down amid widespread layoffs in the industry.

What is the status of Redfall? Redfall’s termination follows a series of problems, including technical issues and poor reviews, which labeled it as one of the least successful Xbox exclusives. Despite a promising update last October, the game’s popularity did not recover, and it had minimal active players by the time of its cancellation. Microsoft confirmed that the game would remain available online, and players who invested in special editions could receive refunds or credits.

What about Hi-Fi Rush? Hi-Fi Rush will continue to be accessible on existing platforms, with no plans for a sequel or a Nintendo Switch version. The closure of Tango Gameworks has ended the potential for further development under its original team.

Public reaction to the cuts The decision by Microsoft has been met with widespread criticism from both fans and developers, questioning the company’s high standards for success and the future security of other studios under its umbrella. This includes fears about the stability of popular studios like Obsidian and Ninja Theory.

Why is Microsoft making these cuts? Microsoft has stated that the layoffs are part of a strategy to focus on “high-impact” games and to enhance investment in other aspects of its gaming portfolio. This decision also reflects broader trends in the industry, such as the challenges faced by the Xbox Game Pass model and shifting gamer preferences towards mobile platforms.

Before its closure on May 7, Arkane Austin was developing a significant update for Redfall, scheduled for release this month. IGN recently reported that the update would have eliminated the game’s mandatory online requirement among other improvements. This change was initially promised by Arkane Austin in March 2023 but had not yet been implemented. With the studio’s shutdown, this update will not materialize, limiting player access to Redfall until Microsoft and Bethesda eventually deactivate the servers.

Additionally, Redfall was expected to receive a seasonal update around Halloween, introducing two new characters as part of the game’s Hero Pass. However, this update has also been canceled, along with ongoing support for the game. Those who purchased the Hero Pass will be eligible for refunds for the content that will now remain unreleased.

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