Xbox boss apologizes as Starfield, Redfall delays raise concerns over 2022 lineup

Xbox boss apologizes as Starfield, Redfall delays raise concerns over 2022 lineup

Game lag happens all the time and is always disappointing. But this week’s announcement of delays to two Bethesda titles and Xbox console exclusives – starfield, by Bethesda Game Studios and redfallby Arkane – was hit particularly hard.

The two games were given dates for 2022 during last year’s Summer Xbox Show and represent the first real fruits of Microsoft’s $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda will not be released on PlayStation and will be added to the Xbox Game Pass library on day one. starfieldIn particular, it was highly anticipated as it was the first major RPG from the makers of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim and failure 4 in seven years.

Both have now been pushed back to the first half of 2023. Crucially, Xbox is left with no significant releases from internal studios slated for 2022. Fans, of course, aren’t happy; Last year, Microsoft promised it would bring “at least one” first-party game to Game Pass every quarter.

Xbox boss Phil Spencer took to Twitter to offer support for the delay, as well as a dose of regret. “These decisions are tough for the teams making the games and our fans. While I fully support giving teams time to release these great games when they are ready, we do hear the feedback.” he wrote. “It is expected to deliver quality and consistency, we will continue to work to better meet those expectations.”

But what are those expectations and why is the conversation so tense around them? A delay for a title as complex and ambitious as starfield is hardly unprecedented, and such announcements are usually met with a fair amount of resignation, and “a delayed game may be good after all, but a bad game is bad forever,” quotes Miyamoto. That was certainly the case with the recent and similar delay in what had been Nintendo’s flagship 2022 title, a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It was less so with starfield and redfall.

The problem here is that Xbox’s empty schedule for 2022 points to the long road Microsoft faces ahead of Spencer’s years-long studio acquisition frenzy — which this year resulted in a staggering $68.7 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard -dollars culminated – to convert into actual software. In four years, Microsoft’s gaming division has grown into a constellation of studios of unprecedented size and reach, and there are legitimate questions about the Xbox organization’s ability to manage this massive development pipeline.

The games – whether from studios acquired since 2018 or more established parts of the Xbox empire – just aren’t coming out. Very little has been seen or said about Playground Games. fable and ninja theory hellblade 2both of which were announced years ago. Laboratory of the Undead state of decay 3, those of the coalition Perfectly dark, and rares Always wild Everyone is reportedly floundering in development hell or extensive reboots. The acquisitions in Xile, Tango Gameworks and Double Fine have to get past the “still contractually required to release games on PlayStation” phase.

Everwild - a woman with white hair reaches out to touch the nose of a fantastic deer-like animal

Rare’s Everwild, first announced in 2019.
Image: Rare/Microsoft

Even Turn 10 Studios, which could previously be relied upon to release a new Forza Motorsport like clockwork every two years, hasn’t released a game since 2017. (Restarting the series is the only possibility for a late 2022 release). Xbox, but it’s by no means a given.)

While none of these incidents are surprising or even necessarily worrisome on their own, together they don’t paint a healthy picture of project management at Xbox Game Studios. Concern about this could explain why Xbox made the – in hindsight unwise – decision to set a firm date for November 2022 starfield over the past year, despite widespread pandemic-related disruptions to development plans, the project’s ambition, and Bethesda Game Studios’ somewhat shaky record at polishing and bug-fixing its games.

Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier called that he had heard that release date had made some starfield Developers “extremely concerned” that it will become the “next cyberpunk‘, referring to the botched, unfinished release of the CD Projekt game.

Hopefully that possibility has been avoided and the pressure on Bethesda staff from the delay eased – in this case it can only be a good thing. And it’s true that Microsoft has amassed so much talent and so many enviable qualities during its acquisition spree that it can inevitably present a wealth of games to Xbox owners and Game Pass subscribers in the long run.

But the delays too starfield and redfall shine a harsh light on Xbox’s ability to manage its sprawling development empire, whether they’re actually symptomatic of it or not. No wonder Spencer feels his teams still have something to prove when it comes to “quality and consistency.”

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