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

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

Redfall co-director Harvey Smith has reflected on his 16 years at Arkane, “a small company created in 1999 by ‘six French guys in a room'”.

His lengthy thread on X, formerly Twitter, follows yesterday’s news Microsoft is closing a number of Bethesda studios, including Arkane Austin following development of the vampire co-op shooter Redfall.

Smith was at Arkane for 16 years after becoming co-creative director alongside company president Raphaël Colantonio in 2008. He worked on the likes of Dishonored and Prey. Colantonio left the company in 2017 and founded WolfEye Studios.

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“What a place. It was 16 years for me. Some games I will always treasure. Very proud of the team and culture. No place is perfect, but we cared a lot and put in effort,” said Smith.

“My thoughts right now are helping my beloved team get into new roles, the aftermath. We shipped games together, played together, survived the Pandemic and multiple psychic hurricanes together. So my effort is going into them.”

Smith reminisced on his time at Arkane, highlighting the strong friendships formed at the studio beyond being simply work colleagues.

“Yesterday as we packed up and reassured one another, I spent time with people who were part of crafting Redfall, Dishonored 1, and Prey, yes, but prior to that Deus Ex, Ultima, and countless other games that left a mark on me,” said Smith.

“I say this and maybe you will get it: that does not even include the vast, deep worlds created and experiences we had gaming, board gaming and playing role-playing games over the years.

“Studios thrive on this and some of the same creators have been playing D&D, Magic, et al for literally decades together. Some of our best work, actually, haha. And often the fuel for our creative fires.”

He continued: “Ups and downs, yeah. But surely you get that that’s the way of things (IF you’re lucky, lol). I will never take for granted how many people want to make something that moves people, that wins awards, and gets played by so many. Creators in every field work so hard for that.

“I wish everyone could be so lucky.”

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

Said Smith: “Lyon would eventually grow to be a powerhouse. And it’s led by some people very dear to me, some of whom predate me at Arkane, and some of whom I did my best to empower early on because I could just feel the burn of their talent.”

“I replied to people reaching out all day and night, and it continues. Friends and respected colleagues are the best. But then again the number of people who just loved the games who have said amazing things is also very high. Just humbling. Love you all.

“I made a bunch of calls yesterday. Made connections. Made plans. My throat is still raw. Our people are really great. Many of them – like so many colleagues – are scrambling. I hope conditions change soon.”

Eventually Smith concluded: “We endure these things because we care about the people, the work. And when it comes together, as a brilliant relationship or a brilliant creative work, it is literally the purpose of existence.”

Smith is among many others both inside Arkane and Bethesda, and throughout the industry, to air their thoughts on Microsoft’s decision to close Arkane Austin, Tango Gameworks, and Alpha Dog.

Arkane Austin was reportedly working on a major update to Redfall “until very recently” to introduce an offline mode, as well as release its long-awaited Hero Pass that will now not see release.

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