Xbox Says It Needs "Smaller Games" After Closing Hi-Fi Rush Studio

Xbox head Matt Booty has called for the brand to develop more "smaller games" that give "prestige and awards" just a day after closing Hi-Fi Rush studio Tango Gameworks.

Published: May 9, 2024 8:20 AM /


Chai looking puzzled in Hi-Fi Rush, a game whose developer Tango Gameworks was recently canned by Microsoft

Xbox head Matt Booty has called for his studios to develop "smaller games" that attract "prestige and awards", just a day or so after closing four Xbox studios.

According to The Verge, Xbox recently held a town hall (a sort of internal presentation) during which Booty made the aforementioned comments, which are sure to confuse some considering Xbox's recent moves.

Earlier this week, Microsoft shut down four studios under the Xbox umbrella, including Hi-Fi Rush developer Tango Gameworks and Redfall studio Arkane Austin (but not Arkane Lyon, where Marvel's Blade is currently in the works).

Chai looking up at the board of Vandelay staff in Hi-Fi Rush
Some might say Hi-Fi Rush was exactly the kind of game Matt Booty seems to be calling for.

In that light, Booty's comments might seem a touch incongruous, especially given that Hi-Fi Rush, Tango's most recent (and final) game, seems to be exactly the kind of project he wants Xbox to be involved with.

Xbox hasn't disclosed sales numbers for Hi-Fi Rush, nor has it announced player numbers via Game Pass, but the studio has said that the game was a "break out hit", which casts the closure of Tango in a rather confusing light.

Given the failure of Redfall, Arkane Austin's closure is perhaps a little more understandable, but according to Bloomberg's Jason Schreier, Booty also said that game wasn't the reason for Austin's shutdown during the aforementioned town hall.

Schreier also says that Arkane Austin and Tango's closure, as well as the shutdown of Mighty Doom developer Alpha Dog and Redfall co-developer Roundhouse, is part of a "cost-cutting initiative" that isn't over yet.

Redfall characters aiming their guns at a vampiric enemy
Redfall's failure apparently wasn't a factor in Arkane Austin's closure.

Rather tragically, Schreier also says that Arkane Austin was in the midst of pitching a new immersive sim-style title closer to Prey or Dishonored than Redfall's multiplayer experiment.

Schreier's Bloomberg article also quotes Jill Braff, head of Bethesda's parent company ZeniMax, who says that it's "hard to support nine studios" around the world and that ZeniMax was "about to topple over".

In the article, Schreier cites "people familiar" as suggesting that Microsoft's record-breaking Activision Blizzard acquisition has increased scrutiny on Xbox from the company's heads, which could be why the cuts were made.

Still, it does seem odd that Booty would seemingly say Xbox needs games like Hi-Fi Rush just a day or so after the studio responsible for that game was closed. Stay tuned for more on this and all other things Xbox and Microsoft-related.

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Joe has been writing for TechRaptor for five years, and in those five years has learned a lot about the gaming industry and its foibles. He’s originally an… More about Joseph