Diabolical Theory Makes Xbox Infinitely Worse Than PlayStation, Proves More Studios Will Be Shut Down After Tango, Alpha Dog

No Xbox studio is safe, no matter how beloved their games.

alpha dog's wraithborne, tango's hifi rush

SUMMARY

  • Xbox recently closed four studios despite promises of creative freedom when acquiring them.
  • The closure of Tango Gameworks, creator of the acclaimed Hi-Fi Rush, highlights the disconnect between Microsoft's words and actions.
  • Fans are "reverse review bombing" Hi-Fi Rush with positive reviews to show appreciation for Tango and protest Microsoft's studio closures.
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The recent closure of multiple Xbox studios, including the critically acclaimed Tango Gameworks, developer of 2023’s beloved Hi-Fi Rush, has leveled an unprecedented amount of outrage towards Microsoft from the games industry at large.

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However, what made it worse was the trillion-dollar company’s executives internally telling development teams that they want “smaller games” that bring “prestige and awards” to the company, right after shuttering those four studios. Here’s why this extraneous pursuit will lead to even more studio closures within Xbox.

Xbox’s Demands Go Against Its Actions

Xbox had one prestigious game that racked up lots of awards, and it proceeded to shut down the studio that made it.
Xbox had one prestigious game that accrued lots of awards, and it proceeded to shut down the studio that made it.

Over the past few years, Xbox has been on a spending spree of close to $100 billion. The platform holder has acquired extremely famous names in the industry like Blizzard, Bethesda, Activision, id Software, and many more. Xbox claimed that it wanted to acquire them to give them 100% creative freedom, but it appears to have been a devious land grab for famous IPs.

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Hi-Fi Rush, a surprise hit from Tango, is a prime example of this. It was a delightful, critically-acclaimed gem which, according to Microsoft, exceeded Xbox’s internal success metrics, yet the studio that birthed it was still deemed expendable and ultimately shut down.

What makes it even more ironic is that Hi-Fi Rush was the perfect representation of the aforementioned executives’ comments. It was a short and sweet experience that resonated brilliantly with players and went on to earn several nominations and awards throughout the rest of 2023, yet it wasn’t enough to save Tango from being axed entirely.

If Hi-Fi Rush‘s incredible success wasn’t enough for Microsoft, then how can other Xbox teams not be terrified of the future reception of their games? What if Avowed, which is set to release later this year, is met with middling reviews? Would Microsoft put Obsidian on the chopping board for not bringing the company the “prestige and awards” it so craves?

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Hi-Fi Rush Fans Are Sending A Clear Message To Microsoft

Hi-Fi Rush fans are showering the game with positive reviews to express their discontentment with Tango's closure.
Hi-Fi Rush fans are showering the game with positive reviews to express their dissatisfaction with Tango’s closure.

If we were to go by Microsoft’s words, then no studio that isn’t working on blockbuster IPs like Call of Duty and Elder Scrolls is safe, and with recent reports alleging that Xbox will reportedly cut more jobs, everyone is seemingly bracing for impact as the organization trims itself to the bone, and then some.

The closure of Tango Gameworks, though, has deeply saddened and confused many. In honor of the Shinji Mikami-founded studio closing its doors, several fans are deploying a tactic that was also used after Sony reversed course on its decision to implement mandatory PSN linking for Helldivers 2: reverse review bombing.

Hi-Fi Rush‘s Steam page is being bombarded with positive reviews by fans as a sort-of last rites ceremony for Tango, while also conveying the message of wanting more such games to Microsoft. Ultimately, it’s the talent, the passion behind the games, that truly matters, but the trillion-dollar company’s recent actions suggest otherwise.

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Solely focusing on Call of Duty will lead to the demise of creative freedom and individuality on Xbox.
Solely focusing on popular IPs like Call of Duty will lead to the demise of creative freedom & individuality on Xbox.

The positive review bombing speaks to the massive community rallying behind the studios Microsoft cast aside. It stands in stark contrast to the corporate PR speak about “prioritization” and “difficult decisions.” The truth is, these decisions prioritize profits over passion, and the studios are merely collateral damage.

Microsoft has still not given an official reason as to why it shut down those four studios, but the internal emails from Xbox Games Studios head Matt Booty suggest an increased focus on the more popular IPs the company owns. If Xbox turns out to just be a yearly CoD machine, then the Activision Blizzard deal may have been the one move that entirely kills the brand.

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Written by Viraaj Bhatnagar

Articles Published: 214

A lifelong gamer, lover of cars, and Master's student of Automotive Journalism, Viraaj Bhatnagar is a gaming writer at FandomWire who aims to be one of the greats. When he's not hunched over on his laptop typing out copy, he can be found lapping circuits in Gran Turismo or slaying draugr in God of War.