Xbox Blames Leadership Shake-Up For Tango Gameworks Closure

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Shinji Mikami's Departure Played Huge Role in Decision!

Story Highlight
  • The leadership changes were cited as factors in the decision to shut down Tango Gameworks.
  • Xbox questioned the studio’s ability to replicate past successes without Mikami’s leadership.
  • The decision to close the studio aims to focus resources on impactful games.

The unexpected closure of Tango Gameworks after Hi-Fi Rush’s recent success was a surprising decision from Xbox. Xbox’s decision to shut down the studio was met with shock and disappointment in the gaming community.

Matt Booty, an Xbox executive, explained that this move aims to focus resources on more impactful games and simplify operations. However, Booty also feels the studio’s closure stems from concerns about recent creative leadership changes at Tango Gameworks.

Why it matters: The explanation implies that the departure of Shinji Mikami was one of the major reasons why Tango Gameworks was shut down.

Hi-Fi Rush
The studio closure highlights the unpredictable nature of the gaming industry.

Before its closure, Tango Gameworks saw a major event with the departure of Shinji Mikami, founder of the studio known for creating Resident Evil and The Evil Within. Mikami left in 2023, and his exit was likely a key factor in the decision.

According to Booty, changes in leadership and staff might have affected the studio’s future prospects. Speaking at the Strictly Business podcast, Booty insisted that while past hits like Hi-Fi Rush were impressive, there were doubts about the team’s ability to repeat that success.

What creative leadership do you have, is the team the same team that shipped something successful previously? We have to ask ourselves, are we set up for success going forward?

-Matt Booty

It’s important to have the right creative and leadership team for lasting success. When someone like Mikami leaves, it can upset this balance and make future achievements uncertain, Booty implies.

Furthermore, Matt Booty mentioned that shutting down Tango Gameworks wasn’t the only choice on the table. He pointed to other Xbox-owned studios that went through big changes.

Ghostwire: Tokyo Tango Gameworks
Tango Gameworks had two titles in development before the closure was announced.

For example, Toys For Bob, known for recent Crash and Spyro games, became independent with a new publishing deal. Likewise, Twisted Pixel, another acquired studio, regained indie status after shifting its goals.

Last year, Xbox revealed its plans to invest more in Tango Gameworks following Hi-Fi Rush’s success. However, despite being a critical and commercial success, Hi-Fi Rush couldn’t prevent the studio from closing down.

Its surprise release and popularity showcased the team’s creative talent but also revealed the unpredictable nature of the gaming industry, where even successful projects can be affected by larger corporate decisions.

The gaming industry might currently be the most volatile it has ever been. Over 2700 layoffs were confirmed just two weeks into 2024.

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