Game over for Arkane Austin and Tango Gameworks, respectively responsible for games like Prey or Hi-Fi Rush. According to information from the Bloomberg agency, Matt Booty, head of Xbox – Microsoft’s video games division – informed his employees in an email dated Tuesday, May 7 of the upcoming closure of these two studios as well as Alpha Dog Studios and Roundhouse Games.

The four studios have in common that they belong to the Bethesda-ZeniMax Media team, acquired by Microsoft in 2021. “These changes are justified by the prioritization of high-impact titles and an increased investment in the portfolio of successful games of Bethesda, which you have nurtured for many decades,” Matt Booty justifies in the email that Bloomberg was able to view.

If Alpha Dog Studios and Roundhouse Games are little known to the general public, the Japanese studio Tango Gameworks was responsible for the horror game series The Evil Within (2014-2017), directed by Shinji Mikami, previously creator of Resident Evil. The studio was able to bounce back after the departure of Mr. Mikami, at the beginning of 2023, with the rhythm game Hi-Fi Rush (2023), praised by players and critics.

The fourth studio affected by this announcement, Arkane Austin, was responsible for Prey (2017), whose sales were considered disappointing given the rave reviews from critics. Redfall, released in poor condition in spring 2023, was on the other hand considered a failure, as much for its “lack of audacity” as for its “failed storytelling” or “its technical performances bordering on passable” (see the review of the world).

Founded in 2006 in Austin, Texas, the studio included industry veterans who previously worked on the highly influential System Shock, Thief, Deus Ex and Bioshock series. It was the American subsidiary of the French studio Arkane, based since 1999 in Lyon and responsible for the Dishonored series, Deathloop, and currently working on a video game adaptation of the Blade comics. The French parent company is not threatened with closure.

Xbox’s announcement coincides with the closure of Bethesda’s French branch two weeks earlier. This other subsidiary of ZeniMax Media, and therefore of Microsoft, was responsible for marketing and communication around the brand’s games in France, in particular those from Arkane and Tango Gameworks. In January, Microsoft had already announced 1,900 layoffs within its video game divisions. The announcement then concerned “redundant sectors” within its newly acquired subsidiaries, Activision Blizzard and King.