Microsoft is to close down the studios behind Redfall and Hi-Fi Rush

Hi Fi Rush Microsoft Bethesda
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A series of high-profile closures have been announced at studios owned by Microsoft, including Redfall developer Arkane Austin and Hi-Fi Rush’s Tango Gameworks.

In yet more grim gaming industry news, Microsoft has announced a series of closures across the studios under its ownership. The studios affected fall under the Bethesda and ZeniMax banners, and include Arkane Austin, which released last year’s vampire shooter Redfall, and Tango Gameworks, the firm behind Hi-Fi Rush and The Evil Within.

The cuts were announced in an email written by Xbox Game Studios boss Matt Booty and published by IGN. In it, Booty said the closures were being made in order to “double down” on certain franchises and “identify the opportunities that are best positioned for success.”

As a result, Booty writes, Arkane Austin will be closed, with some staff moved to other studios within Bethesda; development on Redfall will cease as a result. “The game and its servers will remain online for players to enjoy,” Booty added, “and we will provide make-good offers to players who purchased the Hero DLC.”

Tango Gameworks, the studio behind such well-reviewed titles as The Evil Within and its sequel, Ghostwire: Tokyo and Hi-Fi Rush, is also closing. This one’s a particular surprise, given how much acclaim Hi-Fi Rush – surprise launched on PC and consoles as a digital-only release – was one of 2023’s best-received games.

Other closures are Alpha Dog Studios, developer of mobile game Mighty Doom, and Roundhouse Games, a studio which contributed to the development of Redfall.

Microsoft’s announcement is the latest in a series of job losses and studio closures announced over the past year or so. The troubled Embracer Group has been frantically restructuring and cancelling games; EA and PlayStation have let go hundreds of staff between them. Microsoft has itself cut around 1,900 staff in recent months.

This latest series of announcements has a particularly sour taste, given that the runaway streaming success of Amazon’s Fallout TV show has led to a major uptick in sales for the videogames, developed by Bethesda Game Studios. When Microsoft talks about the “reprioritization of titles and resources”, it could be referring to Fallout 4, the 2015 sequel that suddenly became the biggest selling game in Europe thanks to the above-mentioned TV series.

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