Redfall: AAA Gaming is Exhausted

Garon CockrellGames, Video GamesLeave a Comment

Redfall: AAA Gaming is Exhausted

One of the quirks of video gaming, something almost unique in the world of consumer products, is that the biggest projects out there often fail at launch. While part of this can be chalked up to the extreme complexity of modern games, the increasing likelihood is that publishers simply don’t know or, if we’re being conspiratorial, don’t care about what’s being released to players. Of course, there’s also another angle – players want too much.

Vampire shooter

Arkane Austin’s and Bethesda’s Redfall is the biggest offender of late. Just a few days after the game’s release, the vampire shooter continues to rack up ignominious achievements, losing “thousands” of players already and forcing an apology from Xbox Game Studios’ Phil Spencer. The problems are familiar – a lack of polish resulting in floating objects and monsters that can’t navigate the terrain, as well as awful performance on PC.

It’s unfortunate. Redfall was in a bit of a privileged position as far as content goes. Games based on vampires aren’t exactly common, with Vampire: The Masquerade holding on to much of the market. The Elder Scrolls series also had a brief fixation with vampires in Skyrim’s Dawnguard DLC but classic franchises like Legacy of Kain and Castlevania seem to be dormant, barring a Netflix show based on the latter.

A much larger bloodsucker fandom exists within the iGaming niche. Titles like Transylvania: Night of Blood, Vampire Hunters, and Vampires vs. Wolves can be found on the Buzz Bingo website. These slots feature many tropes common to vampire media, including towering castles, sharp teeth, and goblets of blood. Werewolves, which Resident Evil Village recently took a stab at, can also be found in Night of Blood.

CD Projekt Red

The worry for gamers is that Redfall is likely to be just another broken game that’s swept under the carpet before the cycle repeats itself in a few more weeks. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Forspoken, and The Last of Us: Part 1 were all symptoms of the same problem. So, there’s an obvious question to ask: why does this keep happening? CD Projekt Red’s quester designer Pawel Sasko seems to have one answer.

In a rather expletive-laded post, Sasko said that developers are “running at a […] wall” juggling the impossible scale of AAA projects. Sasko pointed to the fact that the CD Projekt Red game The Witcher 3 was loaded with “tricks” to hide technical quirks but the more seamless nature of gameplay in the company’s next project, Cyberpunk 2077, meant that this was impossible.

Those tricks included having characters with no legs because they couldn’t be seen in normal gameplay or hiding the loading of game objects behind cinematic cuts, otherwise known as black screens. Of course, this has always been normal in game development. Unfortunately, the rise of the ”go everywhere, do anything” aspect of AAA titles means that gaps in the world can usually be seen – and the human and technical cost of creating a world down to its atoms is why nothing seems to work properly anymore.

Not every AAA game falls into this particular category of broken – especially not co-op shooter Redfall – but there’s a feeling that developers may have to take a large step back before they can go forward. Sure, a varied world is nice but who is really going to miss the kind of endless, meaningless sidequests that vast RPGs are increasingly known for? It’s time for the more linear games to make a comeback, as AAA gaming is no longer fit for purpose.

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Garon CockrellRedfall: AAA Gaming is Exhausted