Microsoft closes several Bethesda game development studios

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Key notes

  • This latest move suggests a possible shift in strategy regarding the publisher’s portfolio, potentially prioritizing larger established franchises.
Redfall

Microsoft has begun a major reorganization in its Bethesda Softworks section, leading to the shutting down of some studios. This involves Arkane Austin which made the team-based shooting game Redfall and Tango Gameworks who created games such as Hi-Fi Rush and The Evil Within. Additionally, Alpha Dog Studios, creators of the mobile game Mighty Doom, will cease operations.

Roundhouse Games is going to become part of ZeniMax Online Studios, who make The Elder Scrolls Online game. Microsoft has not shared how many workers will be affected by these shutdowns.

The work on the game Redfall has stopped and there will be no more updates that were promised before. Microsoft plans to give a form of payback to players who bought the Hero DLC. Arkane Lyon, Bethesda Game Studios, Machine Games and id Software are not impacted by the changes in structure.

Microsoft completed the purchase of ZeniMax Media, the company above Bethesda, in 2021. This recent action hints at a change in their approach to managing the games from this publisher, maybe focusing more on bigger and well-known series.

Matt Booty, head of Xbox Game Studios, Microsoft, share the below content via email to Microsoft Xbox employees.

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

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