- Redfall was a highly anticipated Xbox exclusive that has been met with underwhelming reception due to gameplay, visuals, and performance factors.
- Subscription services such as Xbox Game Pass have no detrimental effects on games that arrive as a Day One addition to the service.
- The strength of modern hardware is wasted on such uninspired titles due to developer issues and the lowest common denominator.
- Developers need to be more honest with the players about the state of their games. Companies need to ensure that a product is ready to be launched instead of prioritizing money.
- As consumers, we must be more proactive in ensuring that we don’t enable these practices to continue.
Redfall is out and it’s high time we as consumers took an objective look at the game along with the greater landscape. There is a lot that is wrong with modern gaming and Redfall is just but one of the many examples in an infinitely growing list. As the years pass and we see the launch of newer console generations and PC hardware, the question remains—what’s the point of all this power if the games fail to evolve along with the tech?
It’s sad to see a bad game come out, it’s worse when you know the game could have been better. Developers drop the ball on their projects many times but when a game feels rushed and has missing features on launch, you know something’s really wrong. Add to this the exhaustion with games trying to capture Destiny’s lightning once again and it becomes a problem.
Redfall is the latest project from Arkane Studios, or more specifically, Arkane Austin. Having a theme around vampires, it’s a first-person looter-shooter that can be played solo or with friends via co-op. But did it deserve to release in such a half-baked state? Would more time in the oven be what the doctor ordered? Why can’t we get games that run properly on PC? Are high price tags justified? Is it the Xbox Game Pass effect?
Here’s what I think about Redfall after playing the game for a few hours and why I believe games need to be delayed more often.
Games Fail To Capitalize On The Power Of Modern Hardware
Technology has come a long way from the days of the first PlayStation and Pentium 4. Not only do we have far more efficient ways to create assets and streamline development processes, but we also have stronger hardware to support mesmerizing visuals, expansive open worlds, and creative gameplay mechanics. This hardware is significantly more powerful compared to the last gen but we’ve yet to see titles harnessing this power.
This is my opinion but even so, I’m sure many of you will find common ground when I say that Batman: Arkham Knight, a game from 2015, puts many modern titles to shame. Keep in mind that the previous generation started in 2012 and the time difference between that and Arkham Knight’s release is fairly similar to the current situation. This is one of the many areas where Redfall drops the ball.
I’m the last guy in the room who cares about visuals and high-fidelity graphics. What I care about the most, is performance while meeting the minimum standard of 1080p at 60 frames. Most of the games I play are set to medium-high or just high presets. Settings won’t help when the game’s visuals aren’t designed to put you in awe. No amount of ray tracing and fancy puddles can rectify bad art and visual design.
It’s in this department that games like WB‘s Arkham Knight, Capcom‘s remake of Resident Evil 4, FromSoftware‘s Elden Ring, and CDPR‘s Cyberpunk 2077 & The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt shine the most. It’s no secret that these titles aren’t the pinnacle of graphics, but their artistic direction is still considerably greater than most recent releases, including Redfall.
Based on hardware specifications, Xbox Series X is the most powerful console at the moment. The question that needs to be asked is why developers are unable to push past the limit in terms of creativity and design. You know a game lacks flavor when you boot into it and you’re just not pulled into the world, the characters fail to appeal, and the gameplay just feels like a watered-down version of better contemporary titles.
Another problem is the existence of the lowest common denominator, the Xbox Series S. Support for the console is mandatory, and as far as pushing limits is concerned, this poses a problem. However, that is no excuse to make a game that doesn’t embody the spirit of gaming.
Why, then, do we need stronger hardware every generation? What are we pushing the boundaries of when experiences such as these hit the market? If the power exists, why is it not being harnessed? Visuals aside, performance factors are a far greater problem. With the power of these devices and the resources at our disposal, you can’t seriously believe that these games have the leeway to be as broken as they are on launch.
To set the record straight, people give a lot of flak to the Nintendo Switch for its hardware. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, most of its games are straight-up fantastic. The story, art design, visuals, soundtrack, and perhaps even performance. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet were pretty banged up at launch but they have a logical excuse. It’s not justified but at least they check more boxes than most.
Because of the intensive marketing, these projects get combined with pre-orders, etc. I believe that companies and developers are fully aware of their projects’ condition through the development cycle. Making the conscious decision of marketing an unfinished product, taking in pre-orders with the price tags we have today, then apologizing a few days later and promising weeks of patches—this is a deceptive business practice.
I’m fully aware that some bugs will exist and you can’t entirely iron those out. However, these projects aren’t even in an acceptable state on launch. Yes, you might be getting a few hours of consistent gameplay on your console before a crash happens. But how many times do you spot weird glitches or frame hiccups that may or may not cost you a game?
Part of this argument hits even harder because some games from two decades ago feel a lot more atmospheric and perform well in comparison. As long as there’s money to be made, these practices aren’t going to go anywhere.
Redfall Doesn’t Suffer From Being On A Subscription Service
If you go on forums and see what people are talking about when it comes to Redfall, it won’t take you long to find the “Game Pass effect” comments. Whether all these people are just trolls or if they’re being serious is anyone’s guess. The fact of the matter is that being on Game Pass as a Day One release doesn’t automatically wash away years of development. Can you see the stupidity of such a comment?
Another common point of argument is that developers feel as if their efforts are wasted if the game launches on a $10-$15 subscription. A while back, Microsoft used to have a one-time discount deal that allowed you to get your first month of Game Pass for just $1. Sometime after that promotion was concluded, Microsoft stated that they’d be increasing the price of first-party titles to $70.
Thing is, I don’t mind paying for my games. It can be a dollar, it can be $14.99, $60, $70, anything reasonable. You pay for something in order to acquire it. Those are the basics that we learned back in grade school. The problem stems from feeling like you were robbed. In my opinion, it’s not the price that kills the deal, it’s the quality of the product overall that drives the dagger of disappointment through our hearts.
I believe that Xbox’s Game Pass, to an extent, is a great service. Not only does it generate good revenue for Microsoft, but it also allows players to experience a hefty library of games combined with several first-party releases on day one. I often see people on forums talk about how some games are developed with the Game Pass in mind. This just seems like an insult to the developer and the service provider itself.
This is Why Games Need More Time In The Oven
In my opinion, Redfall ends up in the same category as Square Enix‘s Forspoken. This was the conclusion I arrived at after spending a decent chunk of my time on it. At its core, you feel like there’s a good game here but that potential has gone to waste. Of course, with time Arkane is likely going to improve Redfall but there are some things better off being rebuilt from scratch.
In media, whether it’s a game, a movie, or an anime, what matters is that it makes you come back for more. Failing to do so is a solid indicator of something being wrong with the product. Add to that the factor of severe mismanagement, lack of promised features, and misleading marketing and you should see why Redfall is in its current position.
It’s always a safer option to give games more time and attention. Inject some extra resources into it, and do a few extra intensive QA cycles to ensure standards. Be as vocal with the playerbase about the game’s condition as you are about pre-orders and collector’s editions. Exercise a degree of morality.
And last but not least, we as consumers need to be more mindful of our purchases and habits as well. Only when these companies realize that they can’t make money off of such methods is when we might return to getting functional releases. Here’s to hoping that Arkane takes Redfall as a positive lesson and grows from it in order to make the most of its next project.
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