Microsoft closes Arkane Austin, Tango Gameworks, and other Bethesda studios

Microsoft has shut down and dismantled four major Bethesda studios as part of a "reprioritisation" effort.
Hi-Fi Rush microsoft studio show down tango gameworks

Microsoft has shut down four major Bethesda studios, including Arkane Austin (Prey, Redfall), Tango Gameworks (Hi-Fi Rush, The Evil Within), and Alpha Dog Games (Mighty Doom), as part of a business “consolidation” designed to increase future opportunities. As part of this decision, support studio Roundhouse Games has also been shuttered, with all employees transferred to ZeniMax Online Studios.

The news was first reported by IGN, which published an email sent to staff by Matt Booty, Head of Xbox Game Studios. In the email, Booty outlines a range of changes set to hit Arkane Austin, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog Studios, and Roundhouse Games immediately.

As detailed, Arkane Austin will shut down, with some members of the team joining other studios. Work on Arkane Austin’s latest game Redfall will cease immediately, despite major updates reportedly being in the works. Tango Gameworks will also shut down, despite its award-winning smash hit Hi-Fi Rush recently getting a PlayStation 5 port.

Read: Hi-Fi Rush was a major success, according to Xbox

Alpha Dog Studios is also closing, and its mobile game Mighty Doom will be sunsetted on 7 August 2024. All microtransactions in the game will be turned off, and there will likely be some end-of-service events to thank players for their time. Roundhouse Games, as mentioned, will be integrated into ZeniMax Online Studios, likely to function as a support team for work on The Elder Scrolls Online.

“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 said. “We are making these tough decisions to create capacity to increase investment in other parts of our portfolio and focus on our priority games.”

“Bethesda remains one of the key pillars of Xbox with a strong portfolio of amazing games and thriving communities …  As we align our plans and resources to best set ourselves up for success in this complex and changing industry, our teams across Arkane Lyon, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, MachineGames, ZeniMax Online Studios and the Bethesda publishing and corporate teams will be well-positioned to build new IP, explore new game concepts, and expand on our existing franchises.”

In a post of farewell, Tango Gameworks has thanked players for exploring the worlds it created. Arkane has shared a similar message, thanking players for supporting the team over many game releases. It has also confirmed Arkane Lyon will continue to produce games with a focus on “immersive experiences.”

In a seperate post, Dinga Bakaba, Arkane Lyon head, has pleaded with Microsoft and other corporate businesses to stop treating game developers as “strawmen for miscalculations/blind spots.”

“Don’t throw us into gold fever gambits,” Bakaba said. “Don’t make our work environments darwinist jungles. You say we make you proud when we make a good game. Make us proud when times are tough. We know you can, we seen it before.”

Our thoughts are with those impacted by the closures of Arkane Austin, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog Studios, and Roundhouse Games.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.