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Microsoft has closed Hi-Fi Rush developer Tango Gameworks, Redfall studio Arkane Austin and more

Hi-Fi Rush screenshot
Hi-FI Rush. Image: Tango Gameworks

It’s only Tuesday and already the gaming industry is having its second PR nightmare. But Microsoft shuttering a number of Bethesda and Zenimax studios makes Sony’s Helldivers 2 blunder pale in comparison. Yes, you read that right: Microsoft has today announced that four studios, including Redfall developer Arkane Austin and Hi-Fi Rush developer Tango Gameworks are being closed.

IGN has shared a verified email sent to staff from head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty, which highlights the closures — described in the email as company “changes” and a “reprioritization of titles and resources”.

Arkane Austin’s closure means that further development on Redfall will end. The last update the game received is its final one. Microsoft has previously sold a Hero DLC bundle for content that never arrived in the game, and the email states that players will be provided “make-good offers” if they’ve purchased it. We’re not sure if that means an instant refund or if it’s some kind of reward elsewhere.

These “changes” to Bethesda/Zenimax also bring about the closure of Alpha Dog Games, a mobile studio who most recently worked on Mighty DOOM. Mighty DOOM will be sunsetted in August, and players will no longer be able to make in-game purchases. Roundhouse Studios, who assisted with Redfall, are also being closed, with all staff instead joining Zenimax Online Studios.

Perhaps the most shocking closure of all, though, is Tango Gameworks, the studio behind The Evil Within and Ghostwire: Tokyo. Most recently it has released Hi-Fi Rush on Xbox, one of the best-received first party games on the platform. It’s unclear from Microsoft’s email where the staff of Tango Gameworks will end up, with the email simply thanking them for their contributions.

Booty’s email also states that “a small number of roles across select Bethesda publishing and corporate teams will also be eliminated”. It’s not clear how many staff make up that “small number”.

What is clear, however, is that most people within the affected studios have only found out this news today, at the same time as the rest of the world. It’s a baffling decision, and it’s been very poorly received by… well, just about everyone. It’s also got to be concerning for other Microsoft-owned studios, knowing that such an announcement could come at any moment. And with Tango Gameworks amongst the mix, it seems not even a well-received game — something Microsoft should be holding very dearly — isn’t enough to save them.

Editor in chief // Kim's been into video games since playing Dizzy on her brother's Commodore 64 as a nipper. She'll give just about anything a go, but she's got a particular soft spot for indie adventures. If she's not gaming, she'll be building Lego, reading a thriller, watching something spooky or... asleep. She does love to sleep.