Microsoft shuts down four game studios, including the developer behind Hi-Fi Rush

Microsoft is closing down four studios, including Tango Gameworks, the developers behind the Bafta award-winning Hi-Fi Rush. The Tokyo studio, along with Texas-based Arkane Austin and Canadian developer Alpha Dog Studios, will be shuttered. Wisconsin-based Roundhouse Games will be integrated into the Elder Scrolls Online developer ZeniMax Online Studios.

The exact number of job losses resulting from these closures hasn’t been disclosed by Microsoft. These closures are occurring within subsidiary Bethesda, which Microsoft acquired for $7.5 billion in 2020.

Matt Booty, the Head of Xbox Games Studios, conveyed the news via email to staff. This move entails the termination of development on Arkane Austin’s Redfall, with some team members transitioning to other studios. Microsoft also plans to compensate players who pre-ordered downloadable content for Redfall.

The decision to prioritize high-impact titles and invest further in Bethesda’s portfolio of games has led to these changes, according to Booty. However, there will also be a reduction in roles across Bethesda’s publishing and corporate teams.

The closure of Tango Gameworks marks the end of a studio responsible for popular titles like The Evil Within and Ghostwire: Tokyo. The departure of Shinji Mikami, its founder, further signaled trouble. In response, the studio thanked its fans for their support.

Criticism has arisen from both gamers and industry insiders, with Dinga Bakaba, the studio head of Arkane Austin’s sister studio Arkane Lyon, condemning the cuts as “absolutely terrible.” He urged executives to remember the importance of nurturing talent in the entertainment industry.

These closures add to a series of job losses in an industry already marked by significant layoffs, with Bethesda itself facing cuts announced earlier in January 2024. At that time, Microsoft’s gaming division employed around 22,000 people.