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Xbox chief apologizes as Starfield and Redfall delays raise concerns about 2022 lineup

Game delays happen all the time, and it’s always disappointing. But Announcing this week that two Bethesda titles will be postponed Xbox console exclusives – starfieldAnd From Bethesda Game Studios and Redvalefrom Arkane – It was badly damaged.

The 2022 matches were scheduled for last year Xbox Summer Showand represent the first real fruits of Microsoft’s $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda. Bethesda games will be the first since the PlayStation takeover has not been released, and on day one they will be added to the Xbox Game Pass library. starfieldIn particular, it was highly anticipated, being the first major RPG game from the makers of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim And Fallout 4 In seven years.

Both have now been pushed into the first half of 2023. More importantly, this leaves Xbox without any significant releases from its in-house studios scheduled for 2022. Last year, Microsoft promised that it would bring First party game “at least one” every three months to Game Pass.

Xbox chief Phil Spencer has taken to Twitter to offer support for the delay as well as help with remorse. “These decisions are difficult for the teams making the matches and for our fans. While I fully support giving teams time to release these great games when they are ready, we are hearing the comments,” he wrote. “Quality and consistency are expected, and we will continue to work to better meet those expectations.”

But what are those expectations, and why is the talk about them so fraught? Delaying a complex and ambitious title like starfield Never seen, such advertisements are usually met with a reasonable rate of resignation and “a late game can be good in the end, but a bad game is bad forever” Miyamoto quotes. This was definitely the case with The last and similar delay For what was Nintendo’s flagship title of 2022, sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I’ve been less so with starfield And Redvale.

The problem here is that the Xbox’s blank schedule for 2022 points to the long road Microsoft faces in turning around the years-long Spencer Studio acquisition wave — which this year culminated in a surprising surprise. $68.7 billion to buy Activision Blizzard – In the actual program. In the span of four years, Microsoft’s gaming arm has expanded into a constellation of studios of unprecedented size and scope, and there are legitimate questions to be asked about the Xbox enterprise’s ability to manage this massive development pipeline.

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The games — whether from studios acquired since 2018, or from more established parts of the Xbox empire — simply haven’t been released. Very little has been seen or said about Playground Games.” myth ninja theory Hellblade 2Both were announced years ago. Undead Labs state of decay 3, Alliance total darknessAnd rare Everwild everyone He is said to stumble at development hell or Extensive reboots. The acquisitions inXile, Tango Gameworks, and Double Fine have not yet passed the “still contractually required” stage for the release of games on PlayStation.

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

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

While none of these incidents are surprising or even necessarily worrisome in isolation, together they do paint a healthy picture of project management within Xbox Game Studios. Concern about this may explain why Xbox made the decision – too late, unwise – to put a corporate date in November 2022 starfield Last year, despite the pandemic-related widespread turmoil in development schedules, the project’s ambition, and Bethesda Game Studios’ slightly shaky record in polishing and fixing their games.

Jason Schreyer from Bloomberg She said He had heard that this release date had made some starfield Developers are ‘extremely concerned’ that it may turn out to be ‘next’ Cyberpunk”, referring to the failed and incomplete version of the game CD Projekt.

This possibility was hoped to be avoided, and the pressure on Bethesda staff was relieved, due to the delay – in which case it could only be a good thing. And it’s true that Microsoft has amassed so much talent and so many enviable characteristics during its acquisition spree that it will inevitably be able to provide Xbox owners and Game Pass subscribers with a gaming bonus in the long run.

But the delay for starfield And Redvale Sheds a harsh light on Xbox’s ability to manage its sprawling development empire, whether or not it’s 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.