Why Redfall’s Problems Could Be Bad News for Starfield Fans

Despite their obvious differences, Redfall and Starfield could be linked by the former's rough development and technical problems.

Starfield game
Photo: Bethesda Softworks

Redfall recently released to a critical panning. Gamers and reviewers alike have decried the game as buggy and boring, which unfortunately seems to be a bad sign for Xbox Series X/S’ next upcoming exclusive, Starfield.

At first glance, this logic kind of makes sense since both games share the publisher, Bethesda Softworks. However, Hi-Fi Rush was also published by Bethesda, and that title is awesome, possibly “Game of the Year” material. How could Hi-Fi Rush’s quality and Redfall’s lack thereof spell doom for Starfield? Well, it’s because a notable Hi-Fi Rush leaker previously had some interesting things to say about the state of both games.

On January 25th, an insider by the name of Horns claimed that Tango Gameworks was planning to release “something you can play later today.” It turns out Horns was right. Hi-Fi Rush was released the same day. Horns then followed up that prophecy with this one related to Redfall and Starfield:

“So MS lost tons and tons of money on Azure this fiscal year. They’re asking all divisions to blunt the loss. One thing MS has floated for Xbox is releasing Starfield before fiscal year aka June 2023. Redfall is coming first and is in rough shape still, and probably should use more quality control, but it’s still in better shape than Starfield. Bethesda wants more time with Starfield and if they get their way Starfield will come in the Fall 2023. If MS gets their way it comes out in this fiscal year. If Starfield comes in June expect it to be in rough shape.”

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Fast forward to May 2 and Redfall releases in a buggy state, just as Horns predicted. Its gameplay is…fine, which is still a huge disappointment given the legacy of its developer, Arkane Studios. But bugs are more rampant in Redfall than vampires. Users have reported AI and pathfinding issues, memory leaks, and even floating chimneys. Many of these issues could have been fixed with more time and quality control, and Arkane will likely have its hands full trying to fix these issues. Give Redfall a few months or even a year, and it will be a vastly improved experience. The game still won’t measure up to Dishonored or Prey, but at least audiences won’t have to worry about enemies spawning inside of the floor anymore. 

Since Horns is two for two so far, their claims regarding the future quality of Starfield are concerningly plausible. After all, Horns stated that as rough as Redfall would be at release (and it is most certainly rough), Starfield is even worse, and Bethesda knows it. As Horns claimed Bethesda was pushing for a Fall 2023 release window. On the bright side, the company’s attempts to push back the game (Horns’ words) paid off. Bethesda has since revealed that Starfield will launch on September 6th. Although, that date is just on the border between Summer and Fall, so we have no idea if that’s enough time to make all the fixes the team wanted to make.

For what it’s worth, the concerns about Starfield aren’t limited to this one source. Multiple leakers and reporters stated that Starfield was in rough shape when it was delayed from 2022 to 2023. Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier even stated that some close to the project described it as the “next Cyberpunk.” Again, Starfield has been delayed since then, but there are currently quite a few red flags surrounding the expected performance of one of 2023’s biggest games.

Perhaps Bethesda can turn this around. Maybe Redfall’s failures can convince Bethesda’s higher-ups to give Starfield’s developers more time to polish the game. If that happens, then gamers might actually thank Redfall for serving as a sacrificial lamb to let Starfield flourish. If not, don’t be surprised if Horns becomes three for three with his predictions.