“My throat is still raw”: Redfall’s Harvey Smith reflects on the end of Arkane Austin

Harvey Smith, co-director of Redfall, spoke about his 16 years at Arkane, “a small company set up in 1999 by six French guys in one room.”

His lengthy thread on X, formerly Twitter, follows yesterday’s news that Microsoft is shutting down a number of Bethesda studios, including Arkane Austin after developing the co-op shooter Redfall.

Smith has worked at Arkane for 16 years after becoming co-creative director alongside company president Rafael Colantonio in 2008. He has worked on films such as Dishonored and Prey. Colantonio left the company in 2017 and founded WolfEye Studios.

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“What a place. It’s been 16 years for me. I’ll always cherish some games. Very proud of the team and the culture. There’s no perfect place, but we cared a lot and put in the effort,” Smith said.

“My thoughts now are to help my beloved team take on new roles, in the aftermath. We’ve shipped games together, played together, and weathered the pandemic and multiple psychological hurricanes together. So my effort is geared toward making that happen.”

Reflecting on his time at Arkane, Smith highlighted the strong friendships formed at the studio beyond being just co-workers.

“Yesterday as we were packing up and checking in on each other, I spent some time with the people who were part of crafting Redfall, Dishonored 1, and Prey, yes, but before Deus Ex, Ultima, and countless other games that left a mark on me,” Smith said.

“I say this and you probably get it: This doesn’t even include the deep and vast worlds created and the experiences we’ve had in games, board games, and playing role-playing games over the years.

“Studios thrive on this, and some of the same creators have been playing D&D, Magic, and others for decades together. Some of our best work, in fact, haha. And it’s often fuel for our creative fires.”

He continued, “Up and down, yes. But you certainly understand that this is the way things are (if you’re lucky, haha). I will never take for granted the number of people who want to make something that moves people, and wins awards. And a lot of creators play with it.” Content in every field work hard to achieve this.

“I hope everyone is very lucky.”

Smith’s topic is an emotional reminder of the people behind the games, who are now most affected by Microsoft’s decisions.

“Lyon will eventually grow into a powerhouse,” Smith said. “It’s led by some people who are very dear to me, some of whom preceded me in the corners, some of whom I did my best to empower early on because I just felt their talent burning.”

“I’ve been responding to people reaching out to me all day and night, and it keeps going. Respected friends and colleagues are the best. But again, the number of people who just loved the games and said amazing things is also very high. Just being humble. Love you all.”

“I made a bunch of calls yesterday. Made connections and made plans. My throat is still sore. Our staff is really great. And many of them – like many colleagues – are scrambling. I hope circumstances change soon.”

Ultimately, Smith concluded, “We endure these things because we care about people and the business. And when they come together, as a great relationship or a great creative work, that’s literally the purpose of existence.”

Smith is among many others within Arkane and Bethesda, and across the industry, to express their thoughts on Microsoft’s decision to shut down Arkane Austin, Tango Gameworks, and Alpha Dog.

Arkane Austin has reportedly been working on a major update for Redfall “until very recently” to introduce an offline mode, as well as a long-awaited Hero Pass that will now not be released.

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