Redfall, the upcoming vampire shooter from Arkane, is only going to be available on Xbox and PC when it launches later this year. However, it seems that wasn’t always the case. A new interview has revealed that Arkane was working on a PlayStation 5 version of the game until Microsoft bought the studio’s parent company, Bethesda, and then canned the port. Remember when Xbox boss Phil Spencer said Microsoft didn’t plan to “take games away from another playerbase”? Hmm.
Due on May 2, 2023, Redfall is an online co-op shooter that features a whole lotta blood-sucking vampires. You play as a slayer who has to use weapons, stakes, magic, and stealth to take down all the vamps and save your small town before it’s too late. The game seems cool and it’s nice to hear that developer Arkane is looking to remove the previously-announced always-online requirement. However, if you are a PlayStation owner, you won’t get to play Arkane’s next big title, even though at one point there was a PS5 port in the works.
Speaking to IGN France (and translated by IGN), Redfall director Harvey Smith explained that once Bethesda was bought by Microsoft in 2020, things changed fast. “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.’”
Smith said that before the buyout, Arkane was developing the game for all platforms. And while it might suck for PlayStation owners, Smith wasn’t too upset about the cancellation of the PS5 port as the studio can now focus on “one less platform” which should make development easier.
“And Game Pass has a ton of people that can play,” said Smith. “It could be our biggest game ever because of the 30 million Game Pass [members] or whatever that number is.”
Xbox boss Phil Spencer’s past comments on exclusives
While Smith and Arkane might be pleased with Microsoft’s choice to kill the PS5 port and focus on the Game Pass and Xbox ecosystems, it seems to directly contradict previous statements Phil Spencer made to Kotaku in October 2020, shortly after the proposed Bethesda acquisition was first announced.
“This deal was not done to take games away from another playerbase like that,” Spencer said. “Nowhere in the documentation that we put together was: ‘How do we keep other players from playing these games?’ We want more people to be able to play games, not fewer people to be able to go play games.”
Kotaku has contacted Xbox and Bethesda about Redfall’s canceled PS5 version.
Canceling a PS5 port of a big game like Redfall seems to run directly in opposition to that statement. And while I understand that, duh, Microsoft wants its games to be Xbox-exclusive, that’s not the message the company has been putting out for the last year or so as it’s tried to convince courts and regulatory groups around the world that it won’t make Call of Duty an Xbox exclusive once it completes its separate, nearly $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard King.
Maybe it won’t monopolize Call of Duty. But future Activision and Blizzard games, especially new IP coming from either company, are likely to end up like Starfield and Redfall: available only on Xbox and PC, leaving would-be fans on PlayStation out in the cold.