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Arkane axed a PS5 version of Redfall after being bought by Microsoft

Before Microsoft went and bought ZeniMax, Arkane's Redfall could've been a multiplatform title.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

March 22, 2023

2 Min Read
Cover art for Arkane Studios' Redfall, featuring the four leads executing a vampire.

Arkane confirmed its incoming game Redfall was at one point meant to release on PlayStation 5. 

Speaking to IGN France (and later translated), Arkane Austin's studio director Harvey Smith said a version of the vampire shooter was in development on Sony's console back in 2020. But those plans were later abandoned once Microsoft acquired the developer's parent company ZeniMax the following year.

"It was 'change' with a capital C," said Smith of the acquisition. "They came in and they said ‘No , we’re focusing on , PC and the Game Pass’.”

Smith seems to bear no ill will towards the decision, saying that Redfall's status as a Microsoft exclusive has helped the game. When the game releases on May 2, it'll also arrive on Xbox Game Pass, which he thinks will help it "become our biggest game thanks to 30 million subscribers." 

"It helps support Game Pass and have one less platform to worry about, one less complexity," he continued.

Redfall is a reminder not all Bethesda games are released equally

Discussions about Microsoft and Xbox eventually lead to how the publisher handles its first-party games. While it's not surprising to hear Redfall could've come to PS5, just knowing that it could've been in the cards is noteworthy all the same. 

It's even more notable since Redfall is a game with co-op as a focus. In recent years, online games have embraced cross-play, as it boosts a game's player count and makes it easier for players to connect with one another.

Not every Bethesda game will be locked to Xbox, but Redfall joins Starfield in being a high-profile Bethesda title that's now exclusive. It's still up in the air as to whether or not The Elder Scrolls 6 will share the same fate, though it seems Microsoft would like for it to be.

Moreover, this lends credence to concerns about Microsoft's treatment of future Activision Blizzard titles. The Xbox maker has said in the past it wouldn't lock off high-profile franchises like Call of Duty to Xbox, but Redfall shows that it would be extremely simple for Microsoft to do if it desired.

At time of writing, Ghostwire Tokyo and Deathloop are the last marquis Bethesda titles to release on PlayStation 5 for the foreseeable future. 

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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