Xbox shuts down studios behind Hi-Fi Rush and Redfall

Xbox shuts down the studios behind Hi-Fi Rush and Redfall (Image via Bethesda Softworks, Xbox Game Studios)
Four Bethesda-owned studios have been closed (Image via Bethesda Softworks || Xbox Game Studios)

Microsoft and Xbox have officially shut down four game-development studios under its wing, including two of the most iconic Bethesda Softworks studios: Arkane Austin and Tango Gameworks. The former is best known for titles like the original Dishonored, Prey (2017), Prey: Mooncrash, and Redfall, while the latter is famous for titles like The Evil Within, Ghostwire Tokyo, and Hi-Fi Rush.

The other two smaller studios hit by the recent wave of shutdowns include Alpha Dog Games, developers behind the mobile game Might Doom, and Roundhouse Studios.

The studio shutdowns were confirmed via an email by Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty, read on to learn more.

Xbox shuts down Arkane Austin and Tango Gameworks, among other Bethesda Softworks studios

Although the games by Arkane Austin and Tango Gameworks had a massive fan following, they might not have been commercially successful on the same level as other Bethesda or Xbox IPs. Arkane Austin was a part of Arkane Lyon (formerly known as Arkane Studios) and was responsible for some of Bethesda's best titles.

Arkane Austin was initially spearheaded by Raphael Colontonio, one of the co-creators of the Dishonored franchise, who left Bethesda Softworks after the release of Prey (2017) to start his own indie studio, WolfEye Studio. While many heralded Prey among the best immersive sims, its sales weren't as much.

Arkane Austin then went on to develop Mooncrash, a semi-roguelike DLC for Prey, which garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics and players alike. However, the studio's most recent title, Redfall, met a disastrous end and was crowned by many as one of 2023's worst games.

While both Matt Booty and Phil Spencer promised that Redfall would recover with post-launch patches, even after major title updates, the game has yet to reach an acceptable state in terms of quality and content. Additionally, the studio didn't release the two promised DLC playable characters for Redfall's Bite Back Edition owners.

What's even more baffling is the shutdown of Tango Gameworks, the studio behind one of 2023's best Xbox titles: Hi-Fi Rush. Much like Arkane Austin's games, Tango Gameworks's titles were never huge commercial successes but were of incredibly high quality and often delivered a unique experience compared to most of Bethesda's offerings.

Addressing the closure of these studios, Matt Booty mentions:

"Today I’m sharing changes we are making to our Bethesda and ZeniMax teams. These changes are grounded in prioritizing high-impact titles and further investing in Bethesda’s portfolio of blockbuster games and beloved worlds which you have nurtured over many decades."

Booty also addressed how the shutdown will affect current employees of the four studios:

"To double down on these franchises and invest to build new ones requires us to look across the business to identify the opportunities that are best positioned for success. This reprioritization of titles and resources means a few teams will be realigned to others and that some of our colleagues will be leaving us."

Xbox's announcement of the recent studio shutdowns at Bethesda Softworks comes just months after Microsoft announced its plans to cut approximately 2000 jobs across different gaming divisions under its umbrella, including those under Xbox Game Studios, Bethesda Softworks, and Activision Blizzard.

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Edited by Suman Biswas
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