The company valued at over $3 trillion just closed several game studios.
Image from when Xbox acquired Bethesda and all subsidiary studios, half of which were just shutdown by Microsoft today.

Arkane Austin, the studio behind Redfall and 2017's Prey, has been shutdown by Microsoft. Tango Gameworks, the studio behind The Evil Within series and the multiple award-winning Hi-Fi Rush, has been shutdown by Microsoft. Alpha Dog Games, the studio behind the mobile game Mighty Doom, has been shutdown by Microsoft. Roundhouse Studios will not be shutdown but will instead be absorbed by The Elder Scrolls Online developer ZeniMax Online Studios.

There is no word on just how many people lost their jobs today across all of these studios.

We do know that Redfall will not receive several promised updates, nor will there be any character DLC released. All development on Redfall has been ended. Microsoft says that the game will remain online to play (at least for now), and they will offer a "make-good" form of compensation to those that already purchased the Hero DLC or the pricey Bite Back Edition of Redfall that included the Hero Pass promising two future Heroes.

Mighty Doom developer Alpha Dog Games has a similar message for players seeking refunds for purchases of in-game currency. The pinned message at the top of their Twitter feed also says that all development on Mighty Doom has come to an end and that the servers will be shutting down on August 7th. Mighty Doom was one of my favorite games of 2023 and continues to be a game that I enjoy playing nightly even now.

Tango Gameworks is the studio behind The Evil Within games, Ghostwire Tokyo, and they recently released Hi-Fi Rush on the PlayStation 5 in March. Hi-Fi Rush was announced and released on the same day in January 2023, and pulled in several award nominations and four award wins. The latest award coming less than a month ago when it took home a BAFTA Game Award for best animation.

The last two tweets from Tango Gameworks. The first announcing a BAFTA Game Award win and the next saying that Microsoft shutdown the studio.

The most recent two social media posts from Tango Gameworks would give anyone whiplash.

An email announcing these studio closures to employees was sent from the head of Xbox Game Studios, Matt Booty. The email, seen in its entirety below, blames the cuts and shutdowns on a "reprioritization of titles and resources."

Today I’m sharing changes we are making to our Bethesda and ZeniMax teams. These changes are grounded in prioritizing high-impact titles and further investing in Bethesda’s portfolio of blockbuster games and beloved worlds which you have nurtured over many decades.

To double down on these franchises and invest to build new ones requires us to look across the business to identify the opportunities that are best positioned for success. This reprioritization of titles and resources means a few teams will be realigned to others and that some of our colleagues will be leaving us.

Here are the changes going into effect:

Arkane Austin – This studio will close with some members of the team joining other studios to work on projects across Bethesda. 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.

Alpha Dog Studios – This studio will also close. We appreciate the team’s creativity in bringing Doom to new players. Mighty Doom will be sunset on August 7 and we will be turning off the ability for players to make any purchases in the game.

Tango Gameworks – Tango Gameworks will also close. We are thankful for their contributions to Bethesda and players around the world. Hi-Fi Rush will continue to be available to players on the platforms it is today.

Roundhouse Games – The team at Roundhouse Games will be joining ZeniMax Online Studios (ZOS). Roundhouse has played a key role in many of our recent game launches and bringing them into ZOS to work on The Elder Scrolls Online will mean we can do even more to grow the world that millions of players call home.

With this consolidation of our Bethesda studio teams, so that we can invest more deeply in our portfolio of games and new IP, a small number of roles across select Bethesda publishing and corporate teams will also be eliminated.

Those whose roles will be impacted will be notified today, and we ask that you please treat your departing colleagues with respect and compassion. We will provide our full support to those who are impacted in today’s notifications and through their transitions, including severance benefits informed by local laws.

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. I acknowledge that these changes are also disruptive to the various support teams across ZeniMax and Bethesda that bring our games to market. 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 look to the future, there is an impressive line-up of games on the horizon. In 2024 alone we have Starfield Shattered Space, Fallout 76 Skyline Valley, Indiana Jones and The Great Circle, and The Elder Scrolls Online’s Golden Road. 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.

- Matt​
Today's shutdowns and layoffs come just two months after Microsoft laid off employees from Toys for Bob and Sledgehammer Games. In January 2024, Microsoft announced that they were laying off 1,900 people from their various gaming divisions.

Arkane Lyon (not included in today's studio closures) studio director Dinga Bakaba took to social media to share his disgust and frustration at these job losses and shutdown of these studios. Bakaba held very little back in a series of tweets.

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.

Don't throw us into gold fever gambits, don't use us as strawmen for miscalculations/blind spots, 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.

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.

Inside baseball, but if I read "immersive sim curse" from the community, especially from a fellow dev, I swear to God... Please, let's talk about the *real* challenges instead of rehashing irrational anxieties of the past.

Even more inside baseball, but with a very, very wide range, as a wise and sorely missed man said: "Please Stop."