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Microsoft is axing the Xbox studios behind Hi-Fi Rush and Redfall

Four Xbox Games Studios developers are getting shut down and Redfall DLC has been scrapped as part of a savage new wave of layoffs from Microsoft.

Xbox closes Redfall Hi-Fi Rush: A woman glares angrily while wearing a leather jacket, with a robot with a glowing eye behind her. A white Xbox logo on a green background is next to her

In just over a month’s time, Microsoft will be delivering its big Xbox showcase, flaunting many of its amazing upcoming games and no doubt showering praise on its many first-party studios. However, before it gets there, it is going to swing the layoffs ax one more time. Four studios, including the teams behind games such as Redfall and Hi-Fi Rush, are going to be shut down or absorbed.

In an internal staff email sent by the head of Xbox Game Studios, Matt Booty, it is revealed that four teams in the Bethesda and ZeniMax arm are going to be impacted by a round of layoffs, closures, and resource reallocation. Potentially the biggest and most surprising involves Tango Gameworks, which in January last year shadow-dropped one of the best Xbox exclusives of this console generation out of nowhere: Hi-Fi Rush. The rhythm game was part of Microsoft’s recent push to ditch exclusivity after launch in order to ship first-party games to other platforms, and while it’s gone down just as well with the PlayStation audience as it did the Xbox audience, Tango is going to be completely shuttered.

The same goes for Arkane Austin. While Arkane is renowned for creating exceptional first-person experiences, the team based in Austin was responsible for one of the worst-received and disappointing games of recent memory. Even though vampire-slaying co-op game Redfall will never get anywhere near a best Xbox games list, it is still gutting to see that Arkane Austin, like Tango, will be totally shut down. While some staff will be moved to other teams within Bethesda to work on other projects, there will no doubt be job losses as well.

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The closure of Arkane Austin also means that the post-launch DLC planned for Redfall will never see the light of day. Any players that paid for the Hero Pass will be “eligible to receive the value of the upgrade”, according to a statement from Arkane.

The third studio being completely shut down is Alpha Dog Studios, which developed the Mighty Doom mobile game. The fourth is Roundhouse Studios, which most recently provided support on the development of Redfall. Roundhouse and its developers will be absorbed into ZeniMax Online Studios, the team behind The Elder Scrolls Online.

“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,” is the justification used by Booty in his message to employees, which was first made public by IGN. “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 news is extremely disappointing to hear. Not only does it compound what we’ve already seen over the last six months or so with swathes of industry layoffs, but it’s crushing to see experienced studios – one of which released a critically-acclaimed, multi-award-winning experience in Hi-Fi Rush just 15 months ago – discarded.

The timing of the news also totally sours my personal excitement for next month’s Xbox showcase, which will provide details on loads of new Xbox games. Be sure to follow us on Google News for more updates and opinions on Microsoft’s studio closures, as well as all the other Xbox news you need to know.