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Redfall and The Evil Within developers both shut down by Microsoft

Microsoft is closing the studios behind Redfall, The Evil Within, Mighty Doom, and more as it looks to focus on “high-impact” videogames.

Redfall, Arkane Tango Gameworks Evil Within closures

Microsoft has announced that it is closing down four developers under Bethesda, in a “reprioritization of titles and resources” that looks to focus on “high-impact” videogames. The closures include Redfall studio Arkane Austin, The Evil Within developer Tango Gameworks, Mighty Doom maker Alpha Dog Games, and Roundhouse Games. These closures come amid ongoing layoffs across the industry after Microsoft announced plans to release 1,900 workers after merging with Activision Blizzard King.

Head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty announced the closures in an email sent to staff, which says Microsoft is “further investing in Bethesda’s portfolio of blockbuster games and beloved worlds.” Redfall studio Arkane Austin is one developer shutting down, with Booty saying players that already bought the hero DLC for the co-op game will get “make-good” offers in return.

“[Arkane Austin] will close with some members of the team joining other studios to work on projects across Bethesda,” Booty writes in the email verified by IGN. “Arkane Austin has a history of making impactful and innovative games and it is a pedigree that everyone should be proud of. Redfall’s previous update will be its last as we end all development on the game. The game and its servers will remain online for players to enjoy and we will provide make-good offers to players who purchased the Hero DLC.”

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The Redfall Hero Pass was to include two new heroes, bringing the vampire FPS game’s total to six, but a full year after launch this content is nowhere to be seen. The Evil Within and Hi-Fi Rush developer Tango Gameworks is also closing, with Booty saying that “Hi-Fi Rush will continue to be available to players on the platforms it is today.”

Hi-Fi Rush was also awarded Best Audio Design at last December’s The Game Awards.

Mobile developer Alpha Dog Games is another developer closing down, as Mighty Doom “will be sunset” on Wednesday August 7 alongside the ability for players to make purchases in the game. Lastly, Roundhouse Games is being folded into ZeniMax Online Studios to work on The Elder Scrolls Online.

Microsoft Redfall closure

“These changes are not a reflection of the creativity and skill of the talented individuals at these teams or the risks they took to try new things,” Booty adds. “We are making these tough decisions to create capacity to increase investment in other parts of our portfolio and focus on our priority games.”

Dinga Bakaba, head of Arkane Austin’s sister studio Arkane Lyon, has released a statement following the closure news. “This is absolutely terrible. Permission to be human: to any executive reading this, friendly reminder that video games are an entertainment/cultural industry, and your business as a corporation is to take care of your artists/entertainers and help them create value for you,” Bakaba writes.

“For now, great teams are sunsetting before our eyes again, and it’s a fucking gut stab. Lyon is safe, but please be tactful and discerning about all this, and respect affected folks’ voice and leave it room to be heard. It’s their story to tell, their feelings to express.”

As of right now, it’s unclear when the closures will come into effect, or how many developers will lose their jobs.

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