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Xbox Game Studios boss: Tango Gameworks closure was 'forward-thinking' decision

It was also implied that personnel changes within Tango influenced the decision makers at Microsoft.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

June 21, 2024

2 Min Read
Key artwork for Ghostwire Tokyo
Image via Microsoft

Xbox Game Studios boss Matt Booty has described the closure of Hi-Fi Rush developer as a "forward-thinking" decision.

Speaking on Variety's Strictly Business podcast (as spotted by Kotaku senior reporter Ethan Gach), Booty said Hi-Fi Rush "did well" for Microsoft and Xbox, but implied leadership changes within Tango Gameworks were a factor when deciding to shutter the studio.

"There are a lot of people and processes and oversight to make sure we're making a good decision [to close a studio]," said Booty. "I won't get into the real nitty gritty details of what went into the decision, mostly out of respect for the people there. Just because there was a lot of work that went into delivering Hi-Fi Rush, which was a great game and did well for us.

"I think the thing to be considered is that, for us, it's as much a forward-looking situation as much as it is looking back at one certain game. There are a lot of things that go into [delivering] success for a game. What leadership do you have? What creative leadership do you have? Is the team the same team that shipped something successful previously? We have to look at all of those things together and then ask ourselves 'are we set up for success going forward?'"

Although he didn't talk specifics, it's worth remembering that Tango founder and CEO, Shinji Mikami, departed the studio in February 2023–just over a month after Hi-Fi Rush debuted. Mikami went on to establish a new studio called Kamuy Inc. and has previously indicated he might only direct one more title before retiring, having most recently served as an executive producer on Ghostwire Tokyo and Hi-Fi Rush at Tango.

When looking at its studios, Booty said Microsoft had to consider whether some factors that previously led to success may "not all still be in place," and indicated that influenced how it chose to set out its stall moving forward.

He added that doesn't always mean closures, pointing to the decision to allow former Call of Duty support studio Toys for Bob to go independent following Microsoft's merger with Activision Blizzard.

"We've announced we've got a publishing deal with [Toys for Bob] and we'll share more about that when it's important," continued Booty. "I think back to a studio called Twisted Pixel in Texas that we acquired, then we had a change in goals and it wasn't a perfect match anymore. That studio today is still thriving. We wanted to set them up for success, so we absolutely look at what the possible business options are."

Booty was doing the rounds just months after Microsoft laid off 1,900 workers after dropping $68.7 billion on Activision Blizzard. The Xbox maker then closed a number of ZeniMax studios including Arkane Austin, Alpha Dog Games, and Tango Gameworks. 

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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