Microsoft shuts down several Bethesda studios, merges others

Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by CT Phipps, May 8, 2024.

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  1. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Carbon Dated and Proud

    Sep 17, 2016


    https://www.ign.com/articles/micros...orks-and-more-in-devastating-cuts-at-bethesda

    Microsoft has closed a number of Bethesda studios, including Redfall maker Arkane Austin, Hi-Fi Rush and The Evil Within developer Tango Gameworks, and more in devastating cuts at Bethesda, IGN can confirm.

    Alpha Dog Games, maker of mobile game Mighty Doom, will also close. Roundhouse Studios will be absorbed by The Elder Scrolls Online developer ZeniMax Online Studios. Microsoft, currently valued at over $3 trillion, did not say how many staff will lose their jobs, but significant layoffs are inevitable. IGN has asked Bethesda for comment. Microsoft declined to expand further when contacted by IGN.

    On Redfall, the disastrous vampire co-op game will now not receive promised updates, including an offline mode and new character DLC, as Microsoft has ended all development on the game. Microsoft said Redfall will remain online to play, and it will provide a "make-good" offer for those who bought the Hero DLC.

    Arkane Lyon, which is working on Marvel's Blade, survives the cull, as does Bethesda Game Studios (Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, Starfield), and Machine Games (Indiana Jones and The Great Circle). Doom developer id Software is also unaffected.

    In an email to staff sent by Matt Booty, head of Xbox Game Studios, Microsoft blamed the cuts on a “reprioritization of titles and resources”. The email, verified by IGN, is below:

    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


    Microsoft's announcement of the cuts at Bethesda come over three months after the company announced plans to cut 1,900 staff from its video game workforce, and amid a boom time for Bethesda's Fallout series following the breakout hit Prime Video TV show. The closure of Tango Gameworks hits just over a year after the launch of Hi-Fi Rush, what many considered to be one of the best Xbox games in recent years. Tweeting in April 2023, Aaron Greenberg, VP, Xbox Games Marketing at Microsoft, addressed concern that Hi-Fi Rush had failed to meet sales targets, calling the game "a break out hit for us and our players in all key measurements and expectations." Greenberg continued: "We couldn’t be happier with what the team at Tango Gameworks delivered with this surprise release." Hi-Fi Rush launched on PS5 as part of Microsoft's new multi-platform push in March.

    In a series of tweets, Arkane Lyon chief Dinga Bakaba hit out at the cuts, calling them "absolutely terrible." "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," Bakaba continued.

    "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.' "

    Layoffs are sweeping the video game industry, with a number of high-profile studios cutting staff or shutting down. In stark contrast to a year of blockbuster video game hits, one of the biggest ongoing industry trends in 2023 was the prevalence of mass layoffs, and they have continued into 2024. While actual figures are difficult to obtain, estimates suggest the number of workers laid off in games last year approached or exceeded 10,000. A recent GDC survey of developers suggests one-third of all game developers were impacted by layoffs last year, either directly or by witnessing them happen at their company.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2024
  2. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Carbon Dated and Proud

    Sep 17, 2016
    Yeah, cancelling Redwall and obviously setting up a new Fallout game studio.
     
  3. Mr Fish

    Mr Fish Slippy sloppy, The

    Sep 11, 2010
    Wait, no more Evil Within? Wtf I hate Microsoft now!
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 2
  4. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Carbon Dated and Proud

    Sep 17, 2016
    I liked the original game and am kind of pissed as I had no idea the IP wasn't dead.
     
  5. Resardiv

    Resardiv Herr

    323
    Feb 14, 2024
    The Redfall team was working on DLC 5 hours before the studio got closed. Someone on Twitter posted the changelog.
    Also, no more Prey:?
     
  6. Norzan

    Norzan So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Apr 7, 2017
    The fact they were still working on Redfall after the critical lashing and the poor sales of the game is kind of weird. I'd think Microsoft would have canned the whole thing a while ago.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2024
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 2
  7. Mr Fish

    Mr Fish Slippy sloppy, The

    Sep 11, 2010
    From what I heard all the immersive sim talent left Arkane during Redfalls development anyway so it was already a dead studio.
     
  8. Resardiv

    Resardiv Herr

    323
    Feb 14, 2024
    Probably contractual obligations, as a deluxe edition was sold that included a season-pass. As the studio is now defunct; they don't have to develop any DLC. The game recived no post-launch content.
     
  9. Traeger91

    Traeger91 Still Mildly Glowing

    287
    Mar 10, 2024
    I guess Microsoft got tired of Todd forever moving the release post. "What's that, it's going to take you two decades to produce two games? HERE HAVE EVERYONE!"

    Hearing this news was weird, as it was second hand and the person telling me made it seem like Microsoft was closing the entirety of Bethesda. Also, something that's kind of bothered me since Microsoft acquired ZeniMax, people always talk about Bethesda as if it is its own independent thing. Like Microsoft didn't buy the parent company, just the subsidiaries.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2024
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 3
  10. Resardiv

    Resardiv Herr

    323
    Feb 14, 2024


    TTD: Total Todd Death
    Slight Edit. Arknane Lyon is still alive, the studio responsible for Dishonored.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2024
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 4
  11. Norzan

    Norzan So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Apr 7, 2017
    Bethesda deserves to go under far more than anyone else.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 6
  12. Resardiv

    Resardiv Herr

    323
    Feb 14, 2024
    I belived it was too big to fail, but Starfield showed me that even game journalists get fed up with Bethesdaslop. Their game design is ancient and boring; too safe and stale. If they don't improve with TESVI it might be Toddover for 'em.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 4
  13. Traeger91

    Traeger91 Still Mildly Glowing

    287
    Mar 10, 2024
    Essentially what I got from that news: Microsoft wants to restructure the entirety of the remaining subsidiaries, alongside the remaining people they kept (from the recently purged studios); into one giant subsidiary. Which I'm sorry but, not all game developers think alike nor have the same skill sets.

    Edit: I know this is unrelated but I don't think it's worth a thread (imagine compacting one of these, we might have a real world Super Sledge)

    https://www.youtube.com/shorts/UEyZsZcfTLo
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  14. Norzan

    Norzan So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Apr 7, 2017
    After Fallout 76 it showed Bethesda had lost whatever they had that they made them appealing to normies.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 2
  15. Resardiv

    Resardiv Herr

    323
    Feb 14, 2024
    My understanding is that the Xbox brand and console market in general seems to be in crisis. Consolidation and restructuring are part of being a large corporation, but what you describe sounds awful. Management Hell.
     
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  16. Resardiv

    Resardiv Herr

    323
    Feb 14, 2024
    What made Bethslop appeal to normies was the sense of "endless" exploration. How they could come to the decision to replace that with loading screens baffles me. Did the higher ups not realise their own strength? Are they surrounded by yes-men?
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  17. Mr Fish

    Mr Fish Slippy sloppy, The

    Sep 11, 2010
    Absolutely.

    Bethesda fans when Bethesda rolls out another poorly written dogshit balanced nonsensical sandbox world that treats its predecessors lore like shit:


    I don't have very high faith for the general gaming public actually growing a sense of taste and critical thinking. The reason for why Starfield failed so spectacularly is because they broke away from the format. The moment they go back to the format the soyboy paypiggies will rush back to their comfort zone and turn their brains off.

    b-but, Microsoft is gonna save it!
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 2
  18. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Carbon Dated and Proud

    Sep 17, 2016
    I hate the Evil Within is not getting a sequel but Starfield is.
     
  19. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Carbon Dated and Proud

    Sep 17, 2016
    Starfield is also fucking weird because if you want a Bethesda game in space, you have the Outer Worlds by Obsidian.
     
  20. Traeger91

    Traeger91 Still Mildly Glowing

    287
    Mar 10, 2024
    Kind of an "in name only" situation there. Since Microsoft didn't buy ZeniMax until March of 2021. And Microsoft has owned Obsidian since November of 2018
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1