It’s no secret that Arkane Studios specialises in slow, methodical storytelling; something that we’ll see in it’s all new vampire FPS game, Redfall. Some players may be put off a rich, drawn out narrative, but Arkane Austin’s producer Harvey Smith loves the team’s slow and steady approach to action.
When I asked Smith about Starfield, the elephant in the room when it comes to Bethesda’s 2023 line-up, one of the main factors that he believes differentiates the two games (other than the obvious: one’s in space, the other has vampires) is Arkane’s methodological approach to action.
“Y’know, I played Forza Horizon 5 not long ago on Game Pass,” he tells me, eliciting a slightly confused eyebrow quirk – picture a Nintendog when you used to tell it random words. We’d been chatting about Starfield, where on earth does Forza fit into this?
“I had never played a Forza game before, and this giant aeroplane is cruising over Mexico, and they’re dropping cars out of the back end. I’m just sitting there, the whole house is rumbling from the sound design – it’s very good, and I have it cranked up – and I’m driving these cars as they’re falling out of an airplane like ‘this is f**king crazy!’ – and it’s the first three minutes of the game.”
“[As I was playing] I was thinking about our games, and they start so slow,” he tells PCGamesN, letting out a chuckle. “Dishonored starts and you’re in prison, and they bring you a scrap of bread and you’re just sitting there like ‘what the f**k’ – there’s rats, and guys insulting me. Then, you eat the bread, and there’s a note.
“It’s the slow start, and different people like different kinds of games,” he continues. “We tend to attract the thoughtful, introspective, player-paced exploration people who want a rich narrative that they have to infer. A lot of people who play [Redfall] fully – like a friend who comes over and plays it for 20 hours or whatever – they’ll say something like ‘it took me a while to realise that there’s an in-depth story being told here, but you don’t put it in my face constantly; I have to infer it.’
“We’re covered,” he says with a laugh, and his positivity is infectious. As someone who much prefers slower-paced story games (Dragon Age, Plague Tale, the list goes on) Redfall, while action packed, has a story that I want to explore. There’s a conspiracy here, an experiment gone wrong at the cost of so many lives – as I said in my Redfall gameplay preview, Arkane draws you with a bloodstained carrot on a sharpened stake, and it leaves you hungry for more.
The Redfall release date is set for May 2, so if you’re intrigued by Arkane’s new adventure, be sure to gear up for Armageddon by flexing your demon-slaying muscles in some of the best vampire games out there. After all, practice makes perfect.