Microsoft shuts down 4 game studios behind Hi-Fi Rush, Redfall, Mighty Doom, gamers enraged

Microsoft has decided to bring the axe down on the heads of Arkane Austin, Tango Gameworks and Alpha Dog Studios. These studios will all be shutting down.

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Microsoft closes down their game studios

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IGN has verified an email sent by Matt Booty (the Xbox Game Studios head) to staffers. In the email, Booty wrote that Alpha Dog Studios (the developer of the Mighty Doom mobile game) will be closed down and that Mighty Doom will sunset on August 7 this year. Players will no longer be able to pay for in-game purchases. The same goes for Tango Gameworks (the developer of Hi-Fi Rush), which will also close down, though Hi-Fi Rush will still be available on all platforms it has been ported to.

As for Arkane Austin (who developed Redfall), they will also be closed, but some staffers will be joining other Bethesda game studios to work on other upcoming games. Redfall will also no longer be receiving any updates, but servers will remain online. There’s also Roundhouse Games, which will now be made part of Zenimax Online Studios. Roundhouse will be made to work on The Elder Scrolls Online MMORPG and allow Zenimax to “grow the world that millions of players call home.”

redfall bite back edition

Booty also wrote that these changes were “grounded in prioritizing high-impact titles and further investing in Bethesda’s portfolio of blockbuster games” and that Microsoft was doubling down on these franchises and investing to build new ones. To do so, they looked at their studios to “identify the opportunities that are best positioned for success”. He also wrote that these decisions were made “to create capacity to increase investment in other parts of our portfolio and focus on our priority games.”

The three studios that were shut down made posts on X (formerly Twitter), where they thanked players for enjoying the titles they created. Alpha Dog Studios said that anyone looking to get refunds on in-purchases they bought in Mighty Doom can do so through the link in their post. The same goes for Arkane Austin, whose posts included a link where players could receive a refund if they purchased the premium Bite Back upgrade or the Hero Pass that’s part of the Bite Back upgrade for Redfall. Details for both are still being finalized as of writing.

Online backlash

With the announcement of studios being shut down, people have taken to the internet to express just how furious they are with Microsoft. Many pointed out that Hi-Fi Rush was well-received by the gaming public and had won a few awards, yet Tango Gameworks was still closed down by Microsoft. Some also said that regardless of whether a studio put out a good game or a bad one, Microsoft would still shut it down.

Not only that, a new Fire Vapor Xbox controller was unveiled the same day the studio closures were announced. The headline for this Microsoft blog post was initially titled “Feel the Burn Today with the Fire Vapor Special Edition Controller.” However, because it seemed as though Microsoft was mocking the studios they closed down, they faced additional backlash and hatred from the public. The headline has since been changed.

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Mike Ybarra, the ex-president of Blizzard, made an X post saying that knew what Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer was going through in regards to choosing to close multiple studios down. He added that he wasn’t defending Spencer and that getting into tough and unexpected situations was part of this job, as well as “taking accountability for the outcomes.” Ybarra also wrote that Spencer was a good human who deeply cared for developers and the creative process in making a game and that the closures hurt him as well.

Many X users were not happy with Ybarra’s post and said they felt no sympathy for Spencer and did not believe he was hurt like Ybarra said he was. Users also pointed out that Ybarra had previously slashed employee bonuses and mandated workers to go back to working in person while he was still the president of Blizzard.

Some also said that Toys for Bob, a developer that was once owned by Activision, thereby being owned by Microsoft as well, spun off into an independent game studio. Many expressed their happiness that Toys for Bob managed to get out, while others encouraged developers to do the same thing and leave Microsoft.

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