Microsoft & Xbox shut down multiple Bethesda studios, including the makers of Hi-Fi Rush – WGB

By admin May8,2024

Xbox has made a shocking announcement that multiple Bethesda studios are being closed.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that Tango Gameworks is being shuttered. While not a commercial powerhouse, Tango Gameworks has produced several beloved games such as Ghostwire Tokyo, but is probably best known for last year’s Hi-Fi Rush which launched to nothing but positivity from critics and gamers alike. It was released on PlayStation 5 earlier this year, but we don’t know how well it did. Presumably, not well enough for Microsoft.

Arkane Austin is another studio being shut down. Arkane Austin developed the mind-blowing Dishonored which never did draw in huge audiences but as nevertheless excellent. Likewise Prey never did find huge commercial success but became a cult classic. Last year though, may have been the nail in the coffin as the studio released Redfall to a deafening lack of interest from consumers and mediocre reviews. I wasn’t overly impressed with it, either.

Speaking of which, Redfall’s one year anniversary was just last week and stories began surfacing that people who bought the game’s £100 special edition had still not gotten the two extra playable heroes that were promised. Arkane Austin has now confirmed that those people will receive some sort of credit equal to the Hero Pass’ value. If you are one of those people, head over HERE to sign up for the credit process. Legally, I’m not sure how this will play out as I believe some regions will only allow cash as reimbursement to those effected.

Mighty Doom developer Alpha Dog Games will also closed down, with the game being switched off on August 7.

Roundhouse Studios isn’t getting closed down but will instead be merged with Elder Scrolls Online developer ZeniMax Online Studios.

In a refreshingly frank Tweet, Arkan Lyon boss Dinga Bakaba wrote: “This is absolutely terrible. Permission to be human : to any executive reading this, friendly reminder that video games are an entertainment/cultural industry, and your business as a corporation is to take care of your artists/entertainers and help them create value for you.

“Don’t throw us into gold fever gambits, don’t use us as strawmen for miscalculations/blind spots, don’t make our work environments darwinist jungles. You say we make you proud when we make a good game. Make us proud when times are tough. We know you can, we seen it before.

“For now, great teams are sunsetting before our eyes again, and it’s a fucking gut stab. Lyon is safe, but please be tactful and discerning about all this, and respect affected folks’ voice and leave it room to be heard, it’s their story to tell, their feelings to express.”

Numerous other Bethesda employees and as well as folk from across the industry have joined in to voice their dismay at these closures. Eurogamer already has a great article about the subject.

Why did Microsoft do this? Money, of course. Such is business, sadly. IGN managed to acquire an internal Email written by Matt Booty of Xbox in which he writes:

“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.

“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.”

Closures and job losses like this are always tough to swallow, especially when it involves a company so vast and so rich that it can easily afford to keep studios running even when they are not producing huge monetary gains. In smaller companies with limited resources it’s a sad but understandable decision that needs to be made, but for Microsoft it ultimately costs them very little to keep talented studios running, studios that may not produce games which sell millions but that do craft interesting, fun experiences such as Hi-Fi Rush.

I wish the best of lucky to everyone who has lost their job.

By admin

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