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News video games 09 May 2024, 07:20

author: Jacob Blazewicz

Industry Sympathizes With Hellblade 2 Devs; Also Expressing Concern for Fate of Doom, Avowed, and Psychonauts Creators

Following the sudden shutdown of Tango Gameworks, there are concerns about the fate of other Xbox studios. Journalist Jez Corden also has significant reservations about the actions of Microsoft, which is allegedly not very supportive of its teams.

Source: Ninja Theory / Microsoft.

The closure of four Xbox studios was an unpleasant surprise. Especially in the case of Tango Gameworks, the end of which worried players and journalists so much that many people are also concerned about the future of the developers of Doom, Hellblade, Avowed, Psychonauts, and other "smaller" Microsoft brands (via GamesRadar).

"Success" of Hi-Fi Rush sealed with the shut down of the studio

At first glance, this may seem like an exaggeration. "Killing" id Software and Doom makes no sense at all, and Microsoft seemingly makes efforts to promote both the new games of Obsidian Entertainment, the action RPG Avowed, and the second installment of the Hellblade series.

The catch is that until Monday, the same could have been said about Tango Gameworks. Hi-Fi Rush was one of the most pleasant surprises in 2023. The game, released out of nowhere and shortly after its announcement, quickly won over the hearts of players and reviewers. Microsoft has never officially disclosed sales figures, and although the title has been on Game Pass since the beginning, it appeared that the Redmond giant was content with the performance of this title.

Despite this, the team was shut down less than two months after Hi-Fi Rush debuted on PlayStation 5. We have already written about the reactions not only of players and journalists, but also of other developers. In short: Microsoft's decision to close Tango Gameworks is completely incomprehensible to them.

Hellblade 2 without marketing

It's easy to understand why there are concerns about the future of other Xbox studies in this context. Especially Ninja Theory, because Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 is another "small" hit that Microsoft supposedly needs, and which will go straight to Game Pass.

The dry entry reminding about the premiere of the second Hellblade didn't improve the mood of Senua's fans. The official Xbox account clearly didn't make an effort: the whole message boils down to the game title and release date. This is everything contained in the post meant to promote the release of this highly anticipated game, as noted with sarcasm - but also with apprehension - by internet users, including journalists Tom Henderson and Jez Corden.

The devs themselves are putting more effort into promoting second installment (via X). Nevertheless, let's be honest: the Xbox brand has an incomparably larger reach than Ninja Theory's social media.

Microsoft the greatest enemy of Xbox?

The above-mentioned Jez Corden is also worried about the second part of Senua's story. A journalist associated with Windows Central has already complained that Microsoft cannot explain what it considers to be a "success" for its games. He also mentioned that Xbox studios feel "unsupported" by the Redmond giant and, as a result, after the closure of Tango Gameworks, they fear for their future. Apparently, the Xbox have a problem with - as Corden put it - "internal PR."

He gave Hi-Fi Rush as an example. Microsoft claimed that the game was performing well, despite the reports by Jeff Grubb from VentureBeat that were relayed by Corden. Both journalists were criticized for this, even though after the closure of Tango Gameworks, it must be acknowledged that Grubb's information turned out to be true.

In this context, the journalist mentioned Hellblade 2. The game enters the market practically without marketing as a digital title and debuting in Game Pass. This is also not a title that fits the typical requirements of a "mega-publisher" like Microsoft. If Microsoft truly doesn't adequately support developers, Ninja Theory employees have reason to worry, as nothing kills creativity and studio morale like job insecurity.

Another disturbing similarity - if it can be defined as such - is the fact that Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 may also be released on PlayStation 5. This wouldn't be an excessive surprise, although it has't been confirmed by Microsoft yet (via The Verge).

Jacob Blazewicz

Jacob Blazewicz

Graduated with a master's degree in Polish Studies from the University of Warsaw with a thesis dedicated to this very subject. Started his adventure with in 2015, writing in the Newsroom and later also in the film and technology sections (also contributed to the Encyclopedia). Interested in video games (and not only video games) for years. He began with platform games and, to this day, remains a big fan of them (including Metroidvania). Also shows interest in card games (including paper), fighting games, soulslikes, and basically everything about games as such. Marvels at pixelated characters from games dating back to the time of the Game Boy (if not older).