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Redfall's final update arrives with offline mode as Arkane Austin devs praise their departing colleagues

"So many people worked so hard to make this patch a reality"

A screenshot from Redfall which shows the player looking at a huge, glowing heart.
Image credit: Microsoft

Arkane Austin's ailing vampire shooter Redfall has received its final update, as the developers themselves are purged by parent company Microsoft. Announced a few weeks back, Redfall game update 4 introduces a much-requested offline mode and single-player pausing, together with some new progression features and activities: a Community Standing bar whereby Support currency can be spent on rewards from the Safehouse Skill tree, and Elder Nests, aka vampire nests with specially modified vampire bosses. That's in addition to new enemy encounters in Redfall Commons, improved AI and a new Unrivaled Weapon.

The new Elder Nests will appear around Redfall much like Heart Nests, and are distinguished by a purple glow. Slay the boss vampire lurking within, and you'll earn a temporary Heart Shard buff that scales to campaign difficulty. As for the revamped Neighbourhood stuff, there are six ranks of Community Standing encompassing 39 permanent buffs, from cosmetics appearing on your map and compass to an Escape Plan buff that activates a salvaged Bellwether cloak for 10 seconds when your health is critical.

"All the upgrades from the Community Standing Skill Tree are meant to provide you with a mixture of QoL and gameplay benefits," the developers note. "A few of the traits will even help collectors finish out their hunt for cosmetics and Grave Locks." You can read more about the patch on Bethesda's official site.

Microsoft announced that Arkane Austin together with Hi-Fi Rush developers Tango Gameworks would close on May 7th, in what Xbox's Matt Booty termed a "consolidation of our Bethesda studio teams, so that we can invest more deeply in our portfolio of games and new IP."

Arkane Austin's other works include the wonderful Prey. Redfall isn't nearly as captivating, but I think even detractors would agree that it harboured the spark of something greater, with an engrossing setting and visual direction that were spoiled by bugs, a shortage of compelling activities and some rather scanty post-launch support during its first year.

"The thing is, I actually quite like wandering around Redfall," Ed Thorn wrote in our review. "Discounting the pop-in and the MMO-esque warring factions that don't actually damage one another, it's got some impressive buildings and occasional hints of Arkane magic, and even the jank can't pull me out of enjoying the lazy port town controlled by vampires. There's a nice ratio of imposing museums to auburn flora, coupled with moments of wonder as you notice the sea's been parted by supernatural forces, or as you're whisked into the warped halls of a vampire's brain during a big set piece. Interiors are also on point, too. Arkane know how to make rooms seem lived in and there's plenty of it here."

While it'll never be the game it could have been, Arkane Austin managing to add offline support in the face of layoffs means that Redfall won't vanish as and when Microsoft turns off its servers. "So many people worked so hard to make this patch a reality, even after they learned Arkane was closing," lead narrative designer Steve Powers wrote on Xitter as the patch went live last night. "I am so immensely proud of the Arkane team and will treasure my time with them forever."

Best of luck to all of Arkane Austin's survivors.

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