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Xbox's Matt Booty implies Tango Gameworks closure was partly due to leadership change

"Is the team the same team that shipped something successful previously?"

Chai in Hi-Fi Rush
Image credit: Tango Gameworks

Xbox's Matt Booty has spoken more on the closure of Tango Gameworks earlier this year, and, while he did not name names, it appears that a change in leadership at the Hi-Fi Rush studio was a factor in Microsoft's decision.

In conversation with Variety's Strictly Business podcast, the Xbox executive was asked about the closure of Tango Gameworks, and whether Microsoft had tried to seek another buyer for the studio.

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"I won't get into the real sort of nitty gritty details on you know, what went into the decision, mostly out of respect for the people there, just because you know, there was a lot of work that went into delivering Hi-Fi Rush, which was a great game and you know did well for us," Booty began.

"I think the thing to be considered is that for us, it's as much a forward looking situation as much as it is looking back at one certain game... There are a lot of things that go into success for a game. You know, what leadership do you have? What creative leadership do you have? Is the team the same team that shipped something successful previously?

"And we have to look at all of those things together and then ask ourselves, are we set up for success going forward? And while there may have been factors and situations that previously led to success, they may not all still be in place as you look at what you're doing going forward."

Booty seemed to be referring - at least in part - to the departure of Tango Gameworks founder Shinji Mikami last year. Mikami established Tango Gameworks in 2010, with the studio going on to develop The Evil Within series and Ghostwire: Tokyo. Prior to this, he worked at Capcom on the Resident Evil series.

Booty also seemed to suggest closing down Tango Gameworks wasn't the only option Microsoft considered. He gave examples of previous Xbox-owned studios that have since gone independent, such as Toys for Bob, which now has a publishing deal in place with Microsoft.

"I think back to a studio called Twisted Pixel in Texas that we acquired and then for a sort of change in goals, it wasn't a perfect match anymore, but that studio today is still thriving," Booty continued. "We wanted to set them up for success. So we absolutely look at what the possible business options are to keep a studio open or to keep you know, perhaps have it change hands. And it's just one of the things, of course, that we look at across the board."

Booty closed: "Sometimes those things come together, sometimes they don't."

Colourful, cartoony promotional artwork for Hi-Fi Rush showing protagonist Chai and friends posing dramatically in mid-air.
Image credit: Tango Gameworks/Microsoft

As well as Tango Gameworks, Redfall and Dishonored developer Arkane Austin and Mighty Doom studio Alpha Dog Games were also impacted by Microsoft's closures in May.

Many were quick to condemn the company's decision to shutter these studios, with Arkane Lyon boss Dinga Bakaba calling it a "fucking gut stab".

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