Xbox’s Worst Exclusive, Redfall, Gets 60fps Mode In Major Patch

Vampire hunters catch one on the streets of a quiet New England town.

Image: Arkane / Bethesda

After months of silence, vampire shooter Redfall is receiving its biggest update yet following a disastrous launch back in May. The second big patch will add the Game Pass multiplayer game’s long-awaited 60 frames-per-second mode on Xbox Series X/S, as well as a host of gameplay improvements and bug fixes.

“Today’s update brings Performance Mode to Xbox Series X/S, stealth takedowns, a bevy of new controller settings, and a lot more changes to Redfall,” the development team wrote on Bethesda’s website. While the 60fps mode is the biggest addition, a raft of accessibility features and improvements to stealth gameplay and aiming sensitivity are also welcome changes. Whether it’s enough to begin addressing some of the deeper disappointment around Redfall’s lackluster enemy encounters and unfulfilling progression system remains to be seen.

Redfall was panned by many critics and players when it launched earlier this year. Expected to be the first-party blockbuster that would end Microsoft’s drought of console exclusives, it instead failed to live up to the months of marketing hype that preceded it. In addition to bugs, performance issues, and complaints about the core gameplay loop, it also launched on the “next-gen” Xbox Series X/S with a “next-gen” price tag of $70 but without the 60fps performance option that players on PC would have access to.

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer apologized for the situation at the time, but a report by Bloomberg later revealed other issues underlying the game’s rough development. Made by Arkane, best known for immersive sims like Prey and Dishonored, Redfall was instead an online multiplayer game that at one point was planned to include microtransactions as part of a push by parent company ZeniMax into live-service monetization. While those features were stripped out, a lack of development resources and constant turnover reportedly made it hard for the studio to deliver on Redfall’s confusing blend of genres and gameplay mechanics.

Recently, Bethesda marketing head Pete Hines said in an interview that despite the harsh reception, Redfall wouldn’t be abandoned. Instead, he expected new players joining Game Pass a decade from now to give the game a shot and enjoy it thanks to ongoing post-launch support. With Cyberpunk 2077‘s recent 2.0 victory lap after a botched release, many are wondering if Redfall can pull of something similar, or if Microsoft will pour the money into it required to make that happen.

If it does, it will still have a big uphill battle to fight. The game only has a few dozen players on Steam at any given moment. Still, Redfall’s second update is a start.

Big Xbox Shakeup Might Avoid Another Redfall Debacle

Today Microsoft announced a re-organization within its Xbox division that will see ZeniMax and Bethesda Game Studios report more directly to head of game services, Matt Booty. The shift comes after vampire shooter Redfall was so poorly recieved that Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer went on a fan podcast to publicly apologize for the situation.

As reported by The Verge, Microsoft’s latest executive shuffling will see Booty, previously in charge of overseeing Xbox Game Studios, expand his purview to include ZeniMax and Bethesda as the newly appointed president of game content and studios. Meanwhile, former VP Sarah Bond will now be president of Xbox in charge of everything related to the platform including “Devices, Player & Creator Experiences, Platform Engineering, Strategy, Business Planning, Data & Analytics and Business Development.”

“ZeniMax will continue to operate as a limited integration entity led by Jamie Leder, President and CEO, reporting to Matt,” Spencer wrote in a memo to staff today, but the closer collaboration appears designed to avoid another mishap like Redfall. The announcement comes a week after Bethesda marketing head Pete Hines announced he’d be retiring from the company after 24 years.

Arkane Austin’s multiplayer shooter combined elements of Stephen King horror, immersive sims like Dishonored, and loot mechanics from Borderlands into an intriguing but ultimately messy mix that felt unpolished, incomplete, and hollow. A promised 60fps mode for the console version, alongside a patch containing other fixes and improvements, didn’t arrive until six months after release.

Spencer apologized to disappointed fans, but defended the decision not to delay it and said internal mock review scores pointed to a much better reception than the one it eventually got. “I feel accountable that we could have done a better job with Arkane,” Booty told Axios in a June interview. “It was a miss, but how much of a miss?” he sad at the time, adding, “I want to support them to be able to keep working to deliver the game they had in mind.”

According to a report by Bloomberg shortly after Redfall came out, the game suffered from a lack of clear direction, a lack of resources, and a lack of conviction in the shift to online multiplayer for a studio renowned for its single-player experiences. It’s still unclear how much Microsoft was aware of the situation surrounding the game, and whether more direct intervention might have saved it or simply led to it being canceled altogether. Bloomberg reported that 70 percent of Arkane Austin staff who worked on Prey had left by the time Redfall shipped.