With Devs Like Tango Gameworks Getting Sunsetted, Creative Gaming Has No Future

It's beyond comprehension why Xbox did what it did.

Story Highlights

  • In a very ridiculous move, Microsoft has killed the brilliant Tango Gameworks, among other studios.
  • Redfall’s failure aside, why strike down the dev of the magnificent Hi-Fi Rush and The Evil Within?
  • If creative gems universally praised like Hi-Fi Rush are considered a flop, gaming’s future is truly bleak.

As hurtful as it may be, layoffs and studio shutdowns have become a common occurrence in the video game industry these days. In most cases, it happens because of a particularly nasty failure; a game that flops so hard it takes the studio alongside it. That might be justifiable to some extent, but what about shutting down a great developer who made nothing but creative, successful gems? What possible reason can exist for such a heinous act?

YouTube video

Tango Gameworks Is No More

If you’re not aware of what particular developer I’m talking about, let me explain. Microsoft has decided to restructure its Bethesda and ZeniMax teams, and by restructure it means killing some studios and laying off who knows how many people. The unfortunate victims of this massacre are the Redfall developer Arkane Austin, Hi-Fi Rush developer Tango Gameworks, and others.

In the case of Arkane Austin, an argument can be made that it was justified closure, considering how Redfall was nothing more than an utter failure that disappointed everyone ever interested in it. However, tell me this, what in the world was Tango Gameworks’ fault? Was it at fault for making a perfectly enjoyable and creative game beloved by all? 

Redfall deserved it, but the others didn't | Source: Steam
Redfall deserved it, but the others didn’t | Source: Steam

Hi-Fi Rush And The Evil Within — Undoubted Gems

To explain just how much of a travesty this was, let’s look at some of Tango Gameworks’ awe-inspiring creations. There’s not even a need to look that back, Hi-Fi Rush is a very recent and a perfect example. Combining rhythmic actions with fast-paced action, the game’s hybrid choice of mechanics revitalized the “rhythm-action” genre and broke ground for subsequent projects.

I did NOT expect this game (Hi-Fi RUSH) To be such a banger when announced yesterday. Great job Bethesda!
byu/DontTakeMeSeriousli ingaming

It won’t be wrong to say that Hi-Fi Rush was one of the most surprising releases of 2023, and possibly all-time. It came out of nowhere and took the world by storm. A game of this creative majesty is quite rare these days; it gave us all an unforgettable romp of pure fun. Regrettably, it was never meant to be. 

Hi-Fi Rush was pure creative goodness, a modern-day gem | Source: Steam
Hi-Fi Rush was pure creative goodness, a modern-day gem | Source: Steam

Hi-Fi Rush wasn’t the only majestic adventure Tango Gameworks worked on. Horror fans have lost a gem today, the brilliant The Evil Within series. The first game, directed by Resident Evil creator and Tango Gameworks founder Shinji Mikami, may not have reached those heights, but it was a superb survival horror adventure nonetheless.

Rest easy, Sebastian. Absolute legend.
byu/SpiderGirlGwen intheevilwithin

Exciting gameplay, a sublime execution of intense moments, atmospheric horror that tells a story of its own, and the creepiness never quite leaving you alone, I had a blast and a good scare playing this beautiful piece of art. I’m at a loss for words to describe how great of a loss this is for gamers all around.

The Evil Within deserved better | Source: Bethesda Softworks UK
The Evil Within deserved better | Source: Bethesda Softworks UK

And if that wasn’t enough already, remember that Tango Gameworks was also responsible for Ghostwire: Tokyo, whose future is also unknown.

Creativity Has No Value Now, Only Profit

Hi-Fi Rush was a global sensation and sold quite well, plus the worldwide popularity and craze of the game was all positive publicity. However, apparently that wasn’t enough for Microsoft and the game wasn’t as profitable as expected. If a revolutionary game like Hi-Fi Rush wasn’t a success, than I don’t even know what counts as a success for these big corporations.

Is making absurd amounts of money 100 times more than the production costs what classifies as a “success”?Creative thinking and imaginative approach have no place in the companies’ plans now. Over 2 million players after only a month and a game that redefined the boundaries of creative goodness somehow doesn’t mean success. 

Besides, the game’s demand among PlayStation players was so high that Microsoft finally accepted it and released the game on the PS5. It hasn’t even been 2 months, was this period enough to say that the game will not sell anymore? Microsoft never gave Hi-Fi Rush the chance.

The same is the case with the Evil Within series. I accept the series was not too big of a success, and the sequel performed much worse, but over 3 million units sold combined is still not what I consider to be an absolute flop. The series was an enjoyable adventure and fairly successful, yet undeservedly benched.

A Bleak, Formulaic Future Awaits

With decisions like this, it’s no wonder the games of today rarely think out of the box and go on risky experiments. Anything that makes even a little less-than-expected money is worthless. It’s only a matter of time before games become so scripted and formulaic that only the stuff that makes guaranteed profit releases, nothing outside a very scrutinized line.

A game that gave new meaning to Rhythm-action, paved the way for the genre’s exposure, and enabled the creation of games like Beat Slayer, Hi-Fi Rush’s impact was felt all around the world. In a time when imaginative freedom was in short supply, Hi-Fi Rush was a ray of hope and creativity incarnate. However, Microsoft squashed it, as these big companies always do

Look guys, look, it’s Microsoft.
byu/Party-Organization-9 inHiFiRush

This is one of the reasons why I’m against acquisitions. Independent studios are forced to obey strict regulations and end up killing their creativity to meet the criteria. Microsoft truly didn’t deserve Tango Gameworks.

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Hanzala is a dedicated writer who expresses his views as opinion pieces at eXputer. He's always been fascinated by gaming and has been an avid consumer of many different genres for over a decade. His passion for games has him eager to encounter the latest RPGs and actively look for new Soulslike to challenge. He puts forth his experience and knowledge of gaming into captivating opinion pieces.

Experience: 8+ months || Education: Bachelors in Chemistry.

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