Redfall was also in development for PlayStation 5 before Microsoft acquired Bethesda, according to the game’s director. This version was ultimately canceled and the game became exclusive to Microsoft platforms.
In an interview with IGN France, Arkane’s Harvey Smith explained, “We got bought by Microsoft and that was a huge sea change. They said, ‘no PlayStation 5. Now we’re gonna do Game Pass, Xbox, and PC.’”
Originally, Redfall was meant to release on all platforms. Smith said that the studio didn’t mind that decision, however. He continued, “Support from Game Pass and have to worry about one less platform, one less complexity. And Game Pass has a ton of people that can play. It could be our biggest game ever because of the 30 million Game Pass [members] or whatever that number is.”
Since Microsoft acquired Bethesda, both Starfield and Redfall were confirmed to be Microsoft exclusives while Microsoft still honored Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo’s timed console exclusivity periods on PlayStation 5. Redfall’s now-canceled PlayStation 5 version is also an interesting revelation considering Microsoft’s pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
The Competition and Markets Authority previously noted Microsoft’s decisions to make games exclusive to Xbox when buying studios in the past, and Redfall certainly falls into that category. Thus, the CMA concluded that the merger could potentially reduce competition between Xbox and PlayStation in the UK. However, Redfall was officially revealed in June 2021, well after the initial Microsoft and Bethesda merger announcement in September 2020, and was finalized in March 2021. A PlayStation version was never publicly announced.
Still, Microsoft has reiterated that it will keep franchises such as Call of Duty on multiple platforms in order to reach as many players as possible. Microsoft has even signed 10-year deals with Nintendo and other cloud gaming service companies.
Redfall launches on May 2 for PC and Xbox Series X|S. Arkane is also currently working on a fix to reverse the game’s always-online requirement.
In IGN’s Redfall preview, we said, “If Arkane Austin can bring its own version of the kind of innovation [Far Cry 2 and STALKER] did back in the late 2000s, then Redfall could well inject a static genre with some long-overdue excitement.”
George Yang is a freelance writer for IGN. He’s been writing about the industry since 2019 and has worked with other publications such as Insider, Kotaku, NPR, and Variety.
When not writing about video games, George is playing video games. What a surprise! You can follow him on Twitter @Yinyangfooey