Game delays happen all the time, and they are always frustrating. But this week’s announcement of two Bethesda titles and a delayed Xbox console exclusive – starfield, from Bethesda Game Studios, and redfallFrom Arkane – have hit especially hard.
The two games were given 2022 dates during last year’s summer Xbox Showcase, and represent the first real fruits of Microsoft’s $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda. They will be the first Bethesda games since the purchase will not be released on PlayStation, and will be added to the Xbox Game Pass library on day one. starfieldNotably, being the first major RPG from the makers of the , was highly anticipated The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim And fallout 4 in seven years.
Both have now been pushed to the first half of 2023. Crucially, this leaves Xbox without any significant releases from its internal studios scheduled for 2022. Fans, naturally, are not happy; Last year, Microsoft promised it would bring in “at least one” first-party game every quarter.
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer took to Twitter to offer support for the delay as well as help with abortions. “These decisions are difficult for the teams that make them up and our fans. While I fully support giving teams the time to release these great games when they are ready, we do listen to feedback,” he has written“As expected to deliver quality and consistency, we will continue to work to better meet those expectations.”
These decisions are difficult for the teams making the game and for our fans. While I fully support giving teams the time to release these great games when they are ready, we do listen to feedback. Looking forward to providing quality and consistency, we will continue to work to better meet those expectations. https://t.co/mIfXGd3rui
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) 12 May 2022
But what are those expectations, and why is the conversation around them so frightening? A Title As Complicated And Ambitious As Delay starfield Rarely is short, and such declarations are usually met with a fair proportion of resignation and “a delayed game may ultimately be good, but a bad game is always bad” Miyamoto quotes. This was certainly the case with the recent and similar delay that was Nintendo’s flagship 2022 title, sequel of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it’s less starfield And Redfall.
The point here is that Xbox’s empty 2022 schedule is a sign of a long road ahead for Microsoft in Spencer’s years-long studio acquisition spree — culminating in the astonishing $68.7 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard this year — into actual software. In the span of four years, Microsoft’s gaming arm has expanded into a conglomerate of studios of unprecedented size and scope, and there are legitimate questions being asked about the Xbox organization’s ability to manage this massive development pipeline.
Games — whether from studios acquired since 2018 or from more established parts of the Xbox — just aren’t coming out. Little is seen or said about playgrounds. fable and ninja theory hellblade 2Both were announced years ago. Murray Labs’ state of decay 3, of perfect dark alliance, more rare everwild All are reportedly faltering in development hell or a wider reboot. Acquisitions at Exile, Tango GameWorks and Double Fine have yet to move past the “still contractually required to release the game on PlayStation” phase.
Rare Everwild, first announced in 2019. Image: Rare/Microsoft
Even Turn 10 Studios, which previously could be relied on like clockwork to roll out a new Forza Motorsport every two years, has no longer released a game since 2017. Xbox, but it is by no means a given.)
While neither of these developments are surprising or necessarily worrisome in isolation, together they do not paint a healthy picture of project management within Xbox Game Studios. Concerns over this may explain why Xbox took – with short-sightedness, mindless – a firm decision to set a November 2022 date. starfield last year, despite widespread pandemic-related disruption to development schedules, the project’s ambition, and Bethesda Game Studios’ record slightly shaky on polishing its games and bug-fixing.
Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier said that he had heard that this release date had made some starfield developers are “extremely concerned” that this may change in the “next” cyberpunk”, referring to the failed, unfinished release of the CD Projekt game.
Ahead of E3 last spring, I talked to a few people at Starfield who were extremely concerned about committing to an 11-11-22 date based on the progress made so far. (The word “next cyberpunk” was floated.) Good on Bethesda for delaying even after announcing that specific date. https://t.co/QdWFf0zGIY
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) 12 May 2022
Hopefully this incident can be avoided, and the delay has eased the pressure on Bethesda employees — in which case it can only be a good thing. And it’s true that Microsoft has amassed so much talent, and so many enviable assets, during its acquisition spree that it will inevitably be able to present Xbox owners and Game Pass customers with a bounty of games in the long run.
but delay starfield And redfall Shed a harsh light on the Xbox’s ability to manage its vast development empire, whether or not they are actually a symptom of it. No wonder Spencer feels that, when it comes to delivering “quality and consistency,” his teams still have something to prove.