Xbox Did Not Interfere With Hi-Fi Rush’s Development, Says Director

The director sang praises of Xbox, noting the positive experience.

Story Highlights

  • The Hi-Fi Rush director John Johanas appeared in an interview and said that game flourished under the Xbox leadership, calling the experience positive. 
  • Xbox reportedly let the developers work on the project on their own merit, leaving them to create an alluring experience without any external decisions.
  • The Xbox acquisition of Bethesda also did not affect the project in a negative sense; instead, it helped the developers in choosing the exact consoles to release the game.
  • Hi-Fi Rush has sold really well, moving more units than Forspoken on Steam at one point after its release. 

Hi-Fi Rush’s recent shadow-dropped release by Tango Gameworks took the world by storm; it is a unique action-rhythm title that dominated the sales charts for a while. However, its development had gone behind the scenes for many a year under Xbox’s leadership, and the game’s director had some words to say regarding its influence.

The director John Johanas recently appeared in an interview with Ungeek, discussing the impact of the recent prominent acquisition with Bethesda on the new entry. Moreover, John also elaborated on the leadership of Xbox and how all the elements ultimately altered the development of Hi-Fi Rush and its release.

John Johanas iterated that the Xbox acquisition with Bethesda did not follow a negative aftermath for Hi-Fi Rush. 

It really didn’t have any effect on the development of the game. When we were making the game and the platform wasn’t decided yet, we were just making it on a PC and we didn’t know which other platforms it was going to be on. We also didn’t know what the future consoles were going to be at that point either,” noted the Hi-Fi Rush director.

In fact, the acquisition appeared to make the development a tad bit easier for Tango Gameworks, as mentioned by the director. Hi-Fi Rush was able to benefit from the major buyout. In other words, the studio could pinpoint the exact platforms it should release the game on.

[The acquisition] made it a bit easier for us because we were able to focus on which platforms it will be released to help us polish the experience,” clarified director John Johanas.

The experience with Xbox also appeared to be a positive one for Tango Gameworks, which helped flourish the development of the Hi-Fi Rush. It seems that Xbox followed a hands-off approach with the leadership, letting the developers work on the game without any control over the project, and the aftermath led to a successful release.

In that sense, the experience with Xbox was positive, because there was no interference in a good way. They were like ‘go ahead with what you think sounds cool,’” elaborated the Hi-Fi Rush director.

Tango Gameworks mainly interacted with Bethesda and ZeniMax during most phases of the title’s development since Microsoft wanted to uphold the existing structure within the companies. 

All in all, the studio was only able to transition from such a wide range of genres because of the Xbox leadership and the hands-off approach. Tango Gameworks went from creating horror experiences to giving us one of the most rhythmic action games in only a few years.

Hi-Fi Rush beautifully blends the modern elements with the nostalgic 2000s style of music and visuals, making for a really enjoyable playthrough. Despite its small size, it has been the first major 2023 project that took off to new horizons, and the entry has proven to be a triumph for the studio and the gaming industry. 

For instance, the new entry was able to surpass Forspoken’s sales by a huge margin at one point after its release. It dominated Steam’s weekly sales charts, leaving many prominent games far behind. Its unique gameplay proved to be an instant hit, with the entry finding success overnight without any prior marketing campaigns.

What are your thoughts regarding the Hi-Fi Rush director John Johanas’ comments on the Xbox leadership and the hands-off approach leading to total freedom for developers? Do let us know your opinions in the comments below.

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Shameer Sarfaraz is a Senior News Writer on eXputer who loves to keep up with the gaming and entertainment industries devoutly. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and several years of experience reporting on games. Besides his passion for breaking news stories, Shahmeer loves spending his leisure time farming away in Stardew Valley. VGC, IGN, GameSpot, Game Rant, TheGamer, GamingBolt, The Verge, NME, Metro, Dot Esports, GameByte, Kotaku Australia, PC Gamer, and more have cited his articles.

Experience: 4+ Years || Education: Bachelor in Computer Science.

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