Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios

Microsoft is closing multiple Bethesda Softworks studios, reports IGN, saying the "devastating" cuts include Arkane Austin (Redfall), Tango Gameworks (The Evil Within), mobile developer Alpha Dog Games, and the folding of Roundhouse Studios into ZeniMax Online Studios. The report is technically a rumor, as it's based on an internal email, but IGN says it has confirmed it's bona fide and there are already reactions online from affected former staff. Microsoft completed its acquisition of Bethesda in 2021, so the cynical view could be surprise this bloodbath took so long. Here's the letter head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty sent to staff noting this is not about creativity, it's about cost savings for Microsoft, the scrappy startup valued at $3 trillion:
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.
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37.
 
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Studios
May 8, 2024, 21:05
37.
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Studios May 8, 2024, 21:05
May 8, 2024, 21:05
 
I'd bet money that the offline patch wasn't going to make its May release date, a day before it was supposed to drop they would say it had been pushed till August for extra polishing.
“We’ve arranged a society on science and technology in which nobody understands anything about science and technology, and this combustible mixture of ignorance and power sooner or later is going to blow up in our faces." Carl Sagan
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36.
 
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios
May 8, 2024, 21:01
36.
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios May 8, 2024, 21:01
May 8, 2024, 21:01
 
jacobvandy wrote on May 8, 2024, 11:19:
Teddy wrote on May 8, 2024, 09:05:
Use your brains for a moment and consider that Microsoft well knew there was supposed to be some big fix coming in less than a month and they still pulled the plug. Anyone who thinks it was a knee-jerk reaction is just plain being stupid. As you said, these people were paid for the last year to continue working on it. A full year and clearly Microsoft was not satisfied with what what they've done and did not think it was worth completing. Regardless of who was at fault for it, look at the game that was released. Do you REALLY trust that the same people that made that suddenly managed to 'fix' it and make it good or great? My bet is that Microsoft took a look at what had been accomplished and realized that the money spent in the last year had been squandered and any more spent would just be adding to the dumpster fire.

So in that case, their reasons are not just short-sighted, but also intentionally rather than ignorantly malicious -- a multi-trillion-dollar company decided to fuck over what few fans of the game there are in order to save what, maybe a million bucks? When that extra couple weeks of work from might have also prevented the game from sun-setting permanently by enabling an offline mode? YOUR bets and guesses are no more or less valid than anyone else's in this thread, yet others are expressing optimism and hope for what could have been, while you incessantly attempt to justify a mega-corp's greed. Which is all this is, at the end of the day...

While you blindly hold to the idea that said company owes it to you to invest millions in a game virtually no one else is ever going to buy. Might want to zip up, your entitlement is showing. There is no malice in recognizing failure and refusing to allow it to become an even bigger failure. There is nothing short-sighted in that either.
35.
 
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios
May 8, 2024, 11:19
35.
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios May 8, 2024, 11:19
May 8, 2024, 11:19
 
Teddy wrote on May 8, 2024, 09:05:
Use your brains for a moment and consider that Microsoft well knew there was supposed to be some big fix coming in less than a month and they still pulled the plug. Anyone who thinks it was a knee-jerk reaction is just plain being stupid. As you said, these people were paid for the last year to continue working on it. A full year and clearly Microsoft was not satisfied with what what they've done and did not think it was worth completing. Regardless of who was at fault for it, look at the game that was released. Do you REALLY trust that the same people that made that suddenly managed to 'fix' it and make it good or great? My bet is that Microsoft took a look at what had been accomplished and realized that the money spent in the last year had been squandered and any more spent would just be adding to the dumpster fire.

So in that case, their reasons are not just short-sighted, but also intentionally rather than ignorantly malicious -- a multi-trillion-dollar company decided to fuck over what few fans of the game there are in order to save what, maybe a million bucks? When that extra couple weeks of work from might have also prevented the game from sun-setting permanently by enabling an offline mode? YOUR bets and guesses are no more or less valid than anyone else's in this thread, yet others are expressing optimism and hope for what could have been, while you incessantly attempt to justify a mega-corp's greed. Which is all this is, at the end of the day...
34.
 
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios
May 8, 2024, 09:05
34.
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios May 8, 2024, 09:05
May 8, 2024, 09:05
 
Squirmer wrote on May 8, 2024, 00:03:
Teddy wrote on May 7, 2024, 20:36:
Redfall is a new, unproven IP that is now irreparably stained. Could they have spent the money to fix it? Sure. But why?

Tell that to the people who bankrolled the past year of extra work on it! Millions more in wages alone spent on it for nothing, more bad management. Whatever reputational damage they were trying to fix for a year they've now made even worse. Put the blame where it really belongs is all I'm saying.

If you say so. I don't know who's reputation you think has been damaged by this. Arkane Austin was already in the toilet from the Redfall release and I don't blame Microsoft one bit for pulling the plug on them. The fact that Microsoft has money doesn't mean they should be expected to throw it into a pit. Use your brains for a moment and consider that Microsoft well knew there was supposed to be some big fix coming in less than a month and they still pulled the plug. Anyone who thinks it was a knee-jerk reaction is just plain being stupid. As you said, these people were paid for the last year to continue working on it. A full year and clearly Microsoft was not satisfied with what what they've done and did not think it was worth completing. Regardless of who was at fault for it, look at the game that was released. Do you REALLY trust that the same people that made that suddenly managed to 'fix' it and make it good or great? My bet is that Microsoft took a look at what had been accomplished and realized that the money spent in the last year had been squandered and any more spent would just be adding to the dumpster fire.
33.
 
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios
May 8, 2024, 08:19
33.
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios May 8, 2024, 08:19
May 8, 2024, 08:19
 
Squirmer wrote on May 8, 2024, 00:03:
Teddy wrote on May 7, 2024, 20:36:
Redfall is a new, unproven IP that is now irreparably stained. Could they have spent the money to fix it? Sure. But why?

Tell that to the people who bankrolled the past year of extra work on it! Millions more in wages alone spent on it for nothing, more bad management. Whatever reputational damage they were trying to fix for a year they've now made even worse. Put the blame where it really belongs is all I'm saying.

I think it would be more understandable if we had a mid publisher here or maybe even a struggling publisher but this is fucking Microsoft we are talking about here. Microsoft raked in a NET INCOME of $21.9 billion (from $61.9 billion revenue) last QUARTER, and as stated before, they made a smooooth $72bn NET PROFIT in 2022 as well as the same $72bn in 2023 in spite of the Actblizz merger. Given the fact that Q1 is traditionally weak, they are on track to an even smooooother $100bn net profit in 2024.

Microsoft, more than anyone else in the entire business, could have very easily afforded to give Arkane the chance of a redemption arc with that planned May update. Given the absurd financials, running a relatively small studio like Arkane Austin is not even pocket change for Microsoft. They could have easily granted them a few months more to turn the ship around (as unlikely as that may seem but still...).

On the other hand, I remember watching the first Redfall trailer when it was revealed at E3 (IIRC?) or a related event (Xbox Summer Showcase or summin'?) and a lot of people were left with a strong 'WTF' impression back then.
So, one could also make a case that Arkane ignored the initial feedback and that they already squandered their chance at redemption before the game was even released. Because the writing was on the wall for a long time. Redfall was a premeditated failure. Arkane stubbornly pressed forward with it anyway and reaped what they sowed.

As always, things aren't as black & white as it may seem. Well, except for the FACT that Microsoft still remains a shit corp, of course .
-=Threadcrappeur Extraordinaire=-
32.
 
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios
May 8, 2024, 01:01
Prez
 
32.
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios May 8, 2024, 01:01
May 8, 2024, 01:01
 Prez
 
Teddy wrote on May 7, 2024, 23:52:
Prez wrote on May 7, 2024, 22:02:
...it should be possible to make a bad game without being eliminated for it.

I've been close to writing that very thing all day, because it used to be that way. One bad release was a mistake that was always allowed to be corrected years ago. That hasn't been how game companies operate for quite a while now however.

The average cost to develop a AAA game has gone from around $1-3 million in 2000 to $200 million in 2023. With 100-200 times the money involved, the stakes are higher and the consequences are larger.

No one asked for budgets to grow that ridiculously large, so I am not very sympathetic. Just as movie budgets have ballooned to an absolutely ludicrous degree, game budgets have gotten insane as well.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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31.
 
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios
May 8, 2024, 00:03
31.
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios May 8, 2024, 00:03
May 8, 2024, 00:03
 
Teddy wrote on May 7, 2024, 20:36:
Redfall is a new, unproven IP that is now irreparably stained. Could they have spent the money to fix it? Sure. But why?

Tell that to the people who bankrolled the past year of extra work on it! Millions more in wages alone spent on it for nothing, more bad management. Whatever reputational damage they were trying to fix for a year they've now made even worse. Put the blame where it really belongs is all I'm saying.
30.
 
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios
May 7, 2024, 23:52
30.
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios May 7, 2024, 23:52
May 7, 2024, 23:52
 
Prez wrote on May 7, 2024, 22:02:
...it should be possible to make a bad game without being eliminated for it.

I've been close to writing that very thing all day, because it used to be that way. One bad release was a mistake that was always allowed to be corrected years ago. That hasn't been how game companies operate for quite a while now however.

The average cost to develop a AAA game has gone from around $1-3 million in 2000 to $200 million in 2023. With 100-200 times the money involved, the stakes are higher and the consequences are larger.
29.
 
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios
May 7, 2024, 22:02
Prez
 
29.
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios May 7, 2024, 22:02
May 7, 2024, 22:02
 Prez
 
...it should be possible to make a bad game without being eliminated for it.

I've been close to writing that very thing all day, because it used to be that way. One bad release was a mistake that was always allowed to be corrected years ago. That hasn't been how game companies operate for quite a while now however.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Avatar 17185
28.
 
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Studios
May 7, 2024, 21:46
28.
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Studios May 7, 2024, 21:46
May 7, 2024, 21:46
 
christheshitter wrote on May 7, 2024, 20:06:
So the head studio Arcane isn't being shut down the ones who did Dishonoured and Prey 2017 just it's subdivision Arcane Austin who made Redfall? I got it right? So their wiki page has got it all wrong then.

The wiki page is correct, though I've seen some people misunderstand the story today to mean all of Arkane is now gone, or else not be aware of which team made which games.

Arkane used to be one entity, they all worked together on the first Dishonored. Then they split into two distinct teams, Lyon (France) and Austin (Texas), and have been more or less alternating releases since then. While Austin made Prey (2017), Lyon made Dishonored 2. Lyon also made that standalone DLC aka 'Dishonored 2.5', Death of the Outsider, as well as assisted on those Wolfenstein FPS spin-offs Youngblood and Cyberpilot. Then while Austin made Redfall, Lyon made Deathloop and began working on the upcoming Marvel's Blade.
27.
 
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios
May 7, 2024, 20:36
27.
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios May 7, 2024, 20:36
May 7, 2024, 20:36
 
Squirmer wrote on May 7, 2024, 18:22:
Judging from the reporting on Redfall's development, Arkane was forced to make a game they didn't want to make, they lost all their experienced devs as a result, and now the rest of them are paying the price for poor management.

For people who would still say Arkane fucked up so they deserve it etc, consider that it should be possible to make a bad game without being eliminated for it. Like that's how a well functioning industry should run. The game industry is not well run, we all know this. Don't align yourself with the fucking bean counters.

Sometimes it should be possible. Sometimes it should not. Like it or not, in almost every job and every company there are some tasks or projects that can just NOT afford to fail. If this was a smaller expenditure game, they'd likely have more leeway. But a game where someone hands you hundreds of millions of dollars to make.... you'd better produce something that is at least good. If this was a game sitting at a 70% review score and sold passably well but still at a loss, they would still be in business. They made a game that struggled to scrape up a 50% review score average and it absolutely tanked in sales.

Alternately, if they had been making a game that was based on a solid and rock-steady IP, they probably would have been given the money and time to fix it. I'm pretty convinced that's why Fallout 76 wasn't just plain abandoned. It wasn't for the love of gamers or to be kind to their devs. It was because they couldn't afford to let the game tarnish the Fallout name, so they spent what they needed to in order to try and regain some face. Redfall is a new, unproven IP that is now irreparably stained. Could they have spent the money to fix it? Sure. But why? They weren't going to save the IP by doing so. The next game would have tanked just on the memory of the first unless they managed to pull a No Man's Sky which in my experience is not just rare, but very nearly a unique situation that no one investing millions is going to count on.

As far as the developers themselves, as I read it, all the really good, senior devs and designers already quit that studio, so what was there to save of the studio itself? The lower level devs could have been folded into other studios, perhaps, but that only works if there's room for that.
26.
 
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Studios
May 7, 2024, 20:24
26.
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Studios May 7, 2024, 20:24
May 7, 2024, 20:24
 
christheshitter wrote on May 7, 2024, 20:06:
So the head studio Arcane isn't being shut down the ones who did Dishonoured and Prey 2017 just it's subdivision Arcane Austin who made Redfall? I got it right? So their wiki page has got it all wrong then.

As far as I know, Redfall and Prey 2017 was Arcane Austin. Dishonoured and Deathloop are Arcane Lyon.
25.
 
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Studios
May 7, 2024, 20:12
25.
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Studios May 7, 2024, 20:12
May 7, 2024, 20:12
 
christheshitter wrote on May 7, 2024, 20:06:
I got it right?

Nope.

So the head studio Arcane isn't being shut down the ones who did Dishonoured and Prey 2017 just it's subdivision Arcane Austin who made Redfall?

- Arkane
- Dishonored
- its

Now it's right... Scholar


-=Threadcrappeur Extraordinaire=-
24.
 
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Studios
May 7, 2024, 20:06
24.
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Studios May 7, 2024, 20:06
May 7, 2024, 20:06
 
So the head studio Arcane isn't being shut down the ones who did Dishonoured and Prey 2017 just it's subdivision Arcane Austin who made Redfall? I got it right? So their wiki page has got it all wrong then.
23.
 
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Studios
May 7, 2024, 18:40
23.
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Studios May 7, 2024, 18:40
May 7, 2024, 18:40
 
I think you'll find it's spelled boner fide.
22.
 
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios
May 7, 2024, 18:22
22.
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios May 7, 2024, 18:22
May 7, 2024, 18:22
 
Judging from the reporting on Redfall's development, Arkane was forced to make a game they didn't want to make, they lost all their experienced devs as a result, and now the rest of them are paying the price for poor management.

For people who would still say Arkane fucked up so they deserve it etc, consider that it should be possible to make a bad game without being eliminated for it. Like that's how a well functioning industry should run. The game industry is not well run, we all know this. Don't align yourself with the fucking bean counters.
21.
 
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios
May 7, 2024, 18:01
21.
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios May 7, 2024, 18:01
May 7, 2024, 18:01
 
Pretty sad, I really like Tango’s games. I hope the main devs continue with their own studio. Their games seemed more indie style anyway. They don’t need to be triple-A these days. Open a small studio and keep making those great games!
Avatar 12787
20.
 
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios
May 7, 2024, 17:49
20.
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios May 7, 2024, 17:49
May 7, 2024, 17:49
 
It would be great if this were all about trimming the fat and returning Bethesda to the days of old when they were a seat-of-the-pants developer making great games to stay employed...but this is clearly about maximizing profits for shareholders and executives and was almost certainly part of the calculus that justified a $7.5B purchase of Zenimax in the first place.
Avatar 20761
19.
 
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios
May 7, 2024, 17:47
19.
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios May 7, 2024, 17:47
May 7, 2024, 17:47
 
Xeth Nyrrow wrote on May 7, 2024, 15:48:
Only reason I can think of is Tango got closed because Hi-Fi Rush was a guinea pig for an Xbox exclusive released on Playstation that didn't do well enough. It's a thin theory I'll admit but what else could it be? The fact it was a Japanese dev studio? Maybe Sony offered them more money.

Oh man, I SO hope Sony snaps them up. Helldivers 2 debacle aside, Sony's been KILLING it with their single player games.
Avatar 15603
18.
 
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios
May 7, 2024, 17:30
18.
Re: Microsoft Closes Multiple Bethesda Studios May 7, 2024, 17:30
May 7, 2024, 17:30
 
Please tell me no one is shocked or surprised by this. I assume the people laid off weren't. The sword has been hanging over their heads since the purchase. I know the feeling. I had that sword hanging over my head for a decade before it fell.
“Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.” -- Carl Sagan
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