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    Hi-Fi Rush

    Game » consists of 2 releases. Released Jan 25, 2023

    Hi-Fi Rush is a rhythm-based action game developed by Tango Gameworks.

    Hi-Fi Rush, Tango, and the Cruelty of the Games Industry.

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    MooseyMcMan

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    Edited By MooseyMcMan

    Last year, in a year packed with so many high profile releases that I couldn't get to every one that I wanted to play (totally unlike this year where that's already happened and the year isn't even half over), Hi-Fi Rush was the game that I wanted to play most, but didn't. And it was entirely because it wasn't on the console I own, if I had a modern Xbox, or a gayming PC, I absolutely would have played it.

    Fast forward to 2024, after rumors swirled of Xbox bringing games to other consoles, suddenly it came true, and Hi-Fi Rush was on my preferred video game machine. But, as these things go, it came amidst one of the most packed first few months of any year I can remember. Hard to justify buying it when it was snugged up between $70 hundred hour games I felt compelled to play. Thankfully, eventually the new releases slowed down, so even if there's still several I'm waiting on price drops for (I would've bought Persona 3load if the first good sale on it wasn't a couple days after I bought Dragon's Dogma II), I found myself without a hundo hour epic taking up my time. Even though I had just made a large purchase (renewing my PS+), I could better justify buying the game while it had a price drop.

    Now here I am, having finally played Hi-Fi Rush, after a year of longing. After a year where I replayed DMC 5 (at this point I can safely say at least a top twenty game of all time for me)...three times? After earlier this year, where I played Metal Hellsinger (thanks video game subscription services for that one) which was an...okay attempt at the fusing of action and rhythm games. Enjoyable, but never felt like it was quite there.

    So, after all that, did Hi-Fi Rush live up to the hype?

    This game rocks.
    This game rocks.

    There's a moment, at the end of the first level, where main character Chai fights a giant robot, all in time with a Nine Inch Nails song, and I found myself wondering, as a grin grew across my face, “is this a perfect video game?” Days later, after defeating the final boss (also set to a different NIN song!), I think I found the answer:

    “This is a perfect video game.”

    That's not to say it's suddenly my favorite game ever, or anything like that. What I mean is, for what this game sets out to do, it does it perfectly. Genuinely, I think the only criticisms I have are stuff like, the unlockable Rhythm Tower mode might be too strict with its time limit, and I wish more of the cosmetic stuff was unlocked prior to finishing the story. Before the credits rolled, I only had access to a handful of t-shirts, then suddenly there was a whole in game store with options for every piece of Chai's clothing, and full outfits for all his friends.

    Those are just nitpicks, though. And considering the game has a handful of 2D cutscenes where everyone just wears the default outfits, I get why they wouldn't want everyone suddenly swapping full outfits for those, at least on a first time. Even the Rhythm Tower, this game is so expertly crafted, that the time limit being so strict just makes me think the problem is I'm just not good enough, or haven't mastered some aspect of the combat to let me deal with the enemies more efficiently.

    Even within moments of starting the game, it's obvious this is something special. It's so bright, colorful, vibrant, and just pulsing with life. Literally, so much of the world moves in beat with the music, with Chai, that it all just comes together wonderfully, and just feels like nothing else I've played. I don't want to spend time using this as an excuse to be mean to another game, but compared to this Metal Hellsinger just felt drab and lifeless, even as it was trying to do some stuff like this.

    Hi-Fi Rush though, even Chai's footsteps are all in time with the music. It's one of those things, where in other games, sometimes I would just, for nothing other than fun, try to get that to line up. If the character's gait just happened to be more or less the same BPM as the music, I'd do that, just for fun. Here, it's baked into the game.

    That's just part of the aesthetic, of course, it's the everything else that's relevant to the game. Whether it's timing dodges in rhythm to do three in a row, or the fact that both Chai's and all the enemies' attacks happen to the beat, it just works and feels natural in a way that just has to be felt and played to be believed.

    You cannot actually drive the forklifts, sadly.
    You cannot actually drive the forklifts, sadly.

    Part of me was worried that I might not like this game, because despite on paper it being completely up my alley, I don't think of myself as having like, any rhythm at all. I've never had any musical talent, not that I really put in the effort to actually try to learn an instrument. But I can't sing, I couldn't dance to save my life, and as much as I've enjoyed some rhythm games in the past, I've never been that good at any of them. Maybe I managed to beat Elite Beat Agents on hard, but I mostly played stuff like Guitar Hero on easy, and even the new-ish Rock Band mode in Fortnite (that I mostly play because my friend likes it a lot (it's fun, I won't lie)), I only bumped up to playing on medium recently.

    Once I actually started the game though, it all just came together. I don't really know how to describe it, other than to say it just works. It just feels natural! Maybe I'm a more rhythmically inclined person than I realized, it just needed to be presented to me in the form of something I understand better than music, or dance. Namely, the form of a stylish action game!

    To be fair, I can absolutely see how someone might find Chai's attacks only coming out on the beat to be frustrating. Miss those beats, and it can feel a little awkward to wait for him to actually do the animation, but even then, his light attacks are fast enough that even missing the beat doesn't feel bad by any means. Thing is, though...I was actually on the beat for the vast majority of the game. Like many stylish action games, Hi-Fi Rush rates your performance both during/after each fight, and at the end of the levels. It even uses a letter grading like DMC, though here it only tops out at S. Frankly, I spent so much time at S that I wish it went higher, your first SSS always feels like an achievement in DMC.

    One of the metrics is percentage on the beat, and on my first playthrough, mine was usually hovering around seventy percent (which often meant the upper sixties, to be honest). I have gotten better though, after first writing this up, now that I'm deep in replaying the game (on Very Hard), I feel like the percentage is closer to eighty, and sometimes higher even. I think that's pretty good! For someone who doesn't feel like I have any actual rhythm, I'm really happy with how good I ended up being at this game, even if some of the fights in the back half ended up taking me a few (or eleven for the final boss) attempts.

    Probably should mention I played the whole thing on Hard, since I heard Normal was a little easy. Only penalty for dying is it lowers your overall rank at the end of levels, like that really matters, so I didn't mind having to retry some fights. And not just bosses, some of the later regular enemies get really tough too, and keeping track of them during the most hectic fights gets really tough! Will say though, it feels great to get a D on my first time in a level on Hard, then replay it on Very Hard and get an A.

    No Caption Provided

    The thing is, as novel and new an idea as “fighting to the beat” feels like it is, after playing the game, and thinking about it, it's really just a natural extension of what the stylish action genre does. The Devils May Cry of the world already amp up the music the higher letter rank you're at in the fight. Getting up to SSS and hearing the lady yelling “PULL MY DEVIL TRIGGER” gets me excited! It does a lot to make the fights feel more electric, more alive than it would if the music was static.

    Hi-Fi Rush does this too, of course, but it feels like that idea was extended out to the entire game, whether it's attacks coming out on the beat, or simply timing Chai's footsteps, and other little animations in the world to it too. By going that extra distance, particularly syncing the actual fighting up with the music, it all just comes together into a special, perfect thing. Every part of it just feels in tune with every other part. It's fun, it's exciting, it's tense when I get overwhelmed, but feels incredible when I pull it all off. And, importantly for this genre, it's got styyyyyyyle for days.

    Both visually, as is obvious, but in the combat too. Chai might only have the one weapon (a scrap guitar), but he's got just enough different combos and abilities (especially with the ally attacks) to keep it fresh throughout. There's just something about launching enemies into the air and doing juggle combos that, doesn't matter what game it's in, when it's done well, it's one of the most fun things out there.

    The enemies have a lot of variety too, ranging from weak minions the same size as Chai, to hulking robots, often with special mechanics that allies need to deal with. Energy shields Peppermint can blast, physical shields Macaron can smash, or...just being on fire that Korsica can put out with a gust of wind. They have uses outside of when they're needed too, and even have special combo enders/parry follow ups, that are so powerful they use a chunk of Chai's special Reverb meter (normally used for Special Attacks).

    Team attack with Peppermint.
    Team attack with Peppermint.

    Naturally, this wouldn't work if the soundtrack didn't, but I think it's fantastic. Most of it is original, and most of that rock. Not all of it, there's a bit of other stuff in there, like one level that felt kinda...jazzy? I mean it reminded me of Persona 5, a game whose music I also love, so I thought that was cool here too. Some of the licensed music too, like a weird remix of Beethoven’s Fifth, I was genuinely not expecting, but it's a great pick to time a boss fight to!

    Still though, I mentioned it earlier, and I'm mentioning it again: I love me some Nine Inch Nails, and I think this game has the best use of it I've ever encountered. And not necessarily the songs I expected. Or at least, I know this game's rated T, but I still wasn't expecting to be hearing Trent yelling about something getting him “hard” during a rather...goofy sequence before the last boss. I won't spoil it, but I was giggling a whole lot in that bit.

    Obviously with games in this genre it's easy to just get wrapped up in the combat, but Hi-Fi Rush spends most of its time between the combat encounters. A fair amount of light platforming, some hidden goodies and easter eggs to find, things like that. Even a few “side quests,” but those are all quick, and never require straying too far to complete. Mostly it feels there for world building, to flesh out what goes on with Vandelay Technologies, and just how mistreated all its (seemingly entirely robotic?) workforce is. Often played for comedy (and it can be pretty funny!), but there's enough truth behind what these robots say, and complain about that I can't help but feel like a lot of it came from personal experience.

    The game's fun, the soundtrack is great, it looks absolutely beautiful, and it has a great cast of characters too. Chai is a wonderful sort of himbo, his head so empty because his heart is just too full. Peppermint's the smart and sassy hacker/inventor who doesn't want to put up with Chai's dumb ideas at first, but learns to trust him eventually. Macaron, CNMN, Korsica, even the cat 808 who never talks (despite other characters using her like a radio to keep in touch with Chai), they're all just fun characters to see and interact with. All the bosses too, they're just fun! I especially liked Zanzo doing JoJo's poses, complete with the menacing symbols floating in the air.

    Posing with Macaron. Wish you could pose allies in the photo mode too!
    Posing with Macaron. Wish you could pose allies in the photo mode too!

    There's some fun bits of dialog with NPCs through the levels too, including a pair of cameos from a certain other Tango series, that I was delighted to see pop up in every level...

    Voice acting is great too. I especially want to shout out Robbie Daymond as Chai, and Erica Lindbeck as Peppermint. I know these two pop up everywhere these days (they're half of the player voices in Helldivers II), but hey, they're great at their jobs! I know part of the reason so many voice actors are so prolific is because of how underpaid they tend to be, which is why I always like to praise it when the performances deserve recognition.

    I usually prefer to use the phrase “stylish action” over “character action” for this type of game, but I do often think about the time Austin Walker wrote about it, back in a review for Astral Chain. About how much character is important to this genre, and in that case it was criticizing Astral Chain for doing very little to endear its characters, or imbue them with any sort of, well, character.

    So, back to Hi-Fi Rush, of all the games in this genre, I think this one did the best first go at giving character to its characters. I love Dante, but the first Devil May Cry was pretty rough in a lot of ways. Which is fair, if it didn't literally invent the genre, it's still the game most largely responsible for shaping what it would eventually become, and that's not easy to do. Even Bayonetta, she was always a fun character to inhabit, but the story of that first game? I'm not going to say it's bad, just not the game's strongest suit. Metal Gear Rising had the advantage of Raiden being an existing character, but even then, he always played second fiddle to Snake, so as great as it is, the game still feels like a spin-off in a lot of ways.

    But like everything else, Hi-Fi Rush nails it in one go. A lot of that is the fantastic voice acting, but also the funny and heartfelt writing. And just how creative it is with a lot of its ideas. The thing that gives Chai his special music powers? You know how I said his heart was too full? Well, his MP3 player accidentally got lodged in his Iron Man heart implant. Numerous times, especially early on, it cuts in close to his chest, and there, instead of a beating heart, is a beating music player, which is a really fun, silly idea!

    And Chai having an adorable robot cat buddy that turns into an orb during fights, again, it's silly in the most fun way imaginable. Impeccable character design for her, from snout to tail.

    Perfect creature (robot).
    Perfect creature (robot).

    I just can't lavish this game with enough praise. Perfect isn't a word I use often, because I tend to be Captain Literal about it, and again, I could nitpick at some stuff, but honestly? Who cares, I think this game is perfect. It's astoundingly fun, I love the characters, the world, and really enjoyed its story about all the problems caused by corporate greed, and incompetence. Specifically that the main characters were all fighting against that, of course.

    I'm not done yet with the game, either. Curiously, despite hidden challenge rooms being a staple of the genre, Hi-Fi Rush decided to lock those until after credits roll, I assume as a reason to go back and replay the levels. So I've got those to find and complete, and like any good stylish action game, just improving my own skill is enough of a draw to keep me going for now. The Arcade Modes (added in an update that was just included with the PS5 version) seem really fun too. Definitely more so than the Rhythm Tower, for me at least.

    One mode is kind of rogue-like-y, with different upgrades and challenges along a series of random fights, but at least I can't (usually) time out! And the only penalty for dying (or timing out in certain challenge rooms) seems to be losing score multiplier or points, so it's a lot less punishing too. There's also a BPM mode, where doing well enough fills a meter that when full, triggers the “boss” of the floor, and after beating that, the BPM increases, which also speeds up the whole game. It's subtle at first, but by the end, when it's at 200 BPM, it's a lot. There's an EX Mode for that which I haven't unlocked, which might be endless? I thought the mode said it was endless, but I definitely hit an end, so I dunno!

    Anyway, Hi-Fi Rush is an absolutely tremendous game, and I'm willing to say it's a modern classic. Not quite my absolute favorite in the genre, but definitely among my favorites. I don't feel bad including it with the likes of DMC 5, REVENGEANCE, and Bayonetta 2. It might not have quite the technical depth as those in its combat systems, but boy does it have styyyyyyle. And most important, heart.

    Some costume options. Obsessed with the 808 shirt.
    Some costume options. Obsessed with the 808 shirt.

    So, this is the part where I should be saying, “Oh, I can't wait to see what this studio does next. Imagine what they could do in a sequel. New weapons for Chai? Maybe other playable characters? Let Peppermint take the lead for a bit! Different ways to incorporate music into the world, or game mechanics? What fun licensed songs are going to show up during boss fights, or other sequences? The whole game is set on this one island, maybe they could explore somewhere else in the world!”

    But... Well, obviously from the title of this blog that I've been deliberately avoiding something, because I wanted to, at least at first, write about the game. Because there's an alternate version of this, where I open with the other side of my feelings from the first level. Before even getting to NIN in that boss fight, there was a moment about halfway through the level where I felt like I was about to cry.

    Here I was, playing this game that immediately just felt amazing in every little aspect, and I was doing so...on the day the news came about Tango Gameworks' closure. It wasn't quite like the week before when I was a couple hours into Rollerdrome and saw the news about Roll7 closing, in this case I was so infuriated by the news that I, on an impulse, bought Hi-Fi Rush that morning. In my defense, I had almost bought it the week before when a sale price started, but decided to be “responsible” since I was about to spend eighty bucks to renew my PS+.

    Hey, at least my impulsive decisions only cost like twenty dollars.

    Anyway, hanging over my head the entire time was this awful feeling. Bittersweet is the closest word I can think of, but that isn't quite it. Just, knowing that Tango poured their hearts into this amazing game, then spent another year porting it and giving it a few (really good!) free updates like a fantastic photo mode (with 60+ different fun poses for Chai), and the aforementioned Arcade Modes, and they got punished for it. Punished for having the gall to ask for more staff to make a sequel at a time when Microsoft was finally tightening the purse strings for Xbox.

    I'd be remiss to not at least mention Arkane Austin, never mind that third studio that Xbox couldn't even be bothered to put their correct name in the official announcement on the closures, and the fourth studio that got folded in to another one. It's no secret that Prey (2017) is one of my favorite games from the last decade, and even with its flaws (mostly technical, at least on console), I'd also call it a modern classic. The Mooncrash DLC was really great too! And yeah, I read that article from Jason Schreier on Redfall. I know that about seventy percent of the people at Arkane Austin when Prey finished had left by the time Redfall shipped, and who knows how many of that remaining thirty percent were there by the time the studio closed a year later.

    I still don't think any studio should be one bad game away from closing, even if from what I read online, it sounds like that's exactly where most studios are at these days. Or, in the case of Tango, one good game away from closing. I'm not going to say every game Tango made was amazing, but the ones I've played have all at least been good. Ghostwire Tokyo's biggest problem was open world bloat, a smaller, more focused version could have been great. And honestly, halfway through my playthrough, the game got a big anniversary update that genuinely made it way better. New abilities, new side quest content, and new enemies that were a lot of fun to fight. Even a rogue-like-y mode! That's a HUGE amount of stuff to do in a free update to a single player game that, as far as I know, didn't have any paid DLC? It had a deluxe edition/upgrade to that, but that was just some costumes, as far as I can tell.

    Familiar friends.
    Familiar friends.

    I know I usually don't do this, but I played The Evil Within 2 (another 2017 banger) without having played the first, and I really liked that game too! Enough so that I feel like, especially after all this, I should go back and play that first one. Between the technical issues (framerate) on PS4, and my not being in the mindset at the time for what at least looked like a hardcore survival horror game, I skipped it.

    But TEW 2 helped get me into a genre that I had never really appreciated before. I liked Resident Evil to an extent, but that was mostly just 4. Which I maintain to this day, is an action horror game. These days, I love the recent Resident Evils, and particularly because they've pushed the series back toward more survival horror. They even managed to get the RE4 remake as close to that as they could while remaining true to the original (especially on Hardcore). I genuinely credit TEW2 for opening me up to this genre, and I'm really thankful for it.

    So, I was devastated to see these studios close, and out of completely nowhere. This was far from the most jobs lost from this sort of thing (which is an awful thought in itself), but these are the ones that hit me the hardest. These aren't just studios that made good games, they made really interesting games. Games that, at their best, felt like little else out there. Games that we need more of, to be frank. Even Microsoft, in one of the most galling, insulting things I've ever read, said, THE LITERAL DAY AFTER CLOSING TANGO, that they need more “smaller games that win awards.”

    You know.

    Like Hi-Fi Rush.

    No Caption Provided

    I'm not the first person to write about this, and I'm sure I won't be the last. In this case, it's helpful because I can take some info others have written to add to what I'm saying here. Like one article that pointed out the seventy billion dollars spent to buy Activision could, “pay everyone at Arkane Austin an annual salary of $100,000 for 4,600 years.” I'm not doing the math, but it's very easy to look at that, divide it amongst the studios closed, and realize they could easily have afforded to not only keep these studios open, but massively expand them with as much new staff as they wanted for future projects.

    If only, in their infinite hubris, they hadn't made the largest acquisition in history just to get Call of Duty and Candy Crush. And Blizzard, I guess, but I would say at this point owning Overwatch is a net negative, haha. I suppose Diablo IV was received well enough?

    Another statistic I've seen is that the $350 million paid just to Bobby Kotick after the deal would have funded Tango and Arkane Austin for close to twenty years. These numbers are obscene on their own, but even more so knowing that this is likely another side effect of it all. Again, to use the words of someone else, Brad Hilderbrand (who I don't really know other than he used to work at Microsoft and EA, apparently) had quite a bit to say about Game Pass and the Activision acquisition. I have a link to the original thing, but given it's on Linked In, of all places, and I originally saw it in a screenshot, I might as well just post that here too.

    No Caption Provided

    The gist being that Game Pass makes it a lot harder for games to meet sales goals, and Xbox can't operate as freely as it used to. Make the largest acquisition in history, and even if Microsoft has effectively limitless money, eventually the rest of the company is going to start paying attention, and expect them to make that money back. Who knows if they ever actually will, I bet the majority of the impact from this purchase, long term, is going to be studios like Tango and Arkane Austin being shut down.

    Imagine being at another studio like that right now. What are the people at Machine Games thinking? If I was there, I'd be a ball of anxiety worrying that if Indy doesn't do well, we're next. I bet just about any other studio that isn't working on a guaranteed moneymaker is feeling something similar. The core Bethesda studio will be fine, even as people are starting to lose their patience with stuff like Starfield. The umpteen studios working on Call of Duty are probably safe, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone above Xbox looked at that, and questioned why so many studios need to be working on CoD, and couldn't one or two of them be cut?

    Like, the Gears and Halo teams are probably fine, but honestly? What about Id? What about Double Fine? Obsidian? I'd like to think that after this debacle, they learned their lesson and won't be so ruthless with other long time, “fan favorite” studios, but who knows. Clearly they didn't realize or care about how much people loved Tango.

    This is the only time I've seen review bombing...with positive reviews. In the wake of Tango closing, Hi-Fi Rush has seen a flood of positive reviews, making it by far Bethesda's highest reviewed game. Part of me is glad that so many people care, but also...none of this should have happened in the first place. In a better world, making a critically acclaimed, beloved, and award winning game would see the studio rewarded. Let them staff up, let them make whatever they want, clearly they have something special, and that should be nurtured, allowed to grow.

    Instead, it was cut short. Uprooted, whatever analogy you want to use. People lost their jobs. And, for Tango specifically, this news broke after 10 PM in Japan. So like, I imagine most of them were still awake to see the news, but what an awful way to learn it. How do you even go to sleep knowing you just lost your job, your livelihood, completely out of the blue?

    It feels a little bad posting goofy screenshots amidst serious stuff, but it I liked the screenshots!
    It feels a little bad posting goofy screenshots amidst serious stuff, but it I liked the screenshots!

    Again, from the sound of it, for Tango and Arkane Austin, the main reason they were closed was they were both looking to hire more people for their next projects. But we'll never get to see Hi-Fi Rush 2, or The Evil Within 3 that was teased at some point. We'll never get to see Arkane Austin try to give Redfall a redemption story. Never get to see the new single player game they were gearing up to pitch.

    What a cruel, ruthless way to treat studios that should be the ones Xbox is championing. The whole idea of first party games is that they don't necessarily need to make every penny back, they exist to sell the console. Or even the Xbox/Game Pass ecosystem since these also launch on PC. The idea is supposed to be that these draw in people who otherwise wouldn't be interested, and the money is made back elsewhere. That lets these studios thrive when they otherwise wouldn't. But, no, all that matters is the bottom line. Xbox has a huge amount of money to make back; some exec decided that these studios weren't even worth keeping around. Who needs original, creative games when they're going to make more money on exploitative microtransactions?

    And it's just... I don't see a solution to any of this. Not just talking about the people who lost their jobs, I can only hope they find something good. Hopefully something better. I'd like to say I hope they can find a way to make new games, whether by getting jobs at other publishers, or in indie studios, but I don't blame anyone who got fed up and finds a more secure job elsewhere. As someone who tries to keep my own creative projects going, albeit in fits and starts these days, I know I'd never want to give up on that entirely, but it's never paid a single bill for me. I can't blame anyone who decides it isn't worth it, not worth all the stress, and just gives up.

    I'm just so mad. I don't think of myself as an especially angry person, or having much of a temper, but this? This is the angriest I've been about something in a long time. At least in terms of the length, and number of times I keep thinking about it.

    In a perfect world, games, and all other creative mediums are treated as they should be: Like art. Like they exist for the sake of it, whether that's just to entertain, or convey some sort of message, tell a personal story, whatever. In that world, they don't exist just to be content to be consumed, but that's increasingly the world we live in. Both in how people treat it, but more so how the corporations treat it.

    Chai admiring some art.
    Chai admiring some art.

    They don't care that Hi-Fi Rush is a masterpiece, they only care about how much money it made. They don't care that Tango was unique, that the people working there were unique. They don't care that the creative visions Tango had were unique, and they don't care that long term, having a studio like that is something worth cultivating. It's been over a decade since I last bought an Xbox, or used one regularly (and I don't intend to buy a new one now!). In that time, there's really only been a couple games I felt like I was missing out on. Sure, more than that I would enjoy, but frankly, I've lived just fine not playing Gears 4 or 5, and I'll continue living just fine if I never play Gears 6.

    Hi-Fi Rush was the game that I felt like I needed to play, and I might have given in and bought an Xbox at some point if they stuck to their guns on exclusives like this. The only other ones I can think of that I'd still really like to play some day are Pentiment (also on PS5 now), and Sunset Overdrive. I doubt that's getting a port any time soon, but you know what happened to the studio that made that game? They didn't work with Xbox again, and went straight back to PlayStation, where they now make Marvel games. Which, hey, plenty of problems with PlayStation too, don't get me wrong. I could rant about how much I miss the days of Japan Studio, and PlayStation publishing bizarre nonsense like Tokyo Jungle. They're making a lot of similar mistakes too.

    I feel like I'm rambling at this point, so I should just try to focus on my last few points here. Something needs to change. This can't last, eventually some bubble is going to burst, and the consequences are going to be devastating. As callous as it was to say the day after closing Tango, but they were right, they do need more smaller games. Everything being the biggest of the big isn't sustainable. I'm not saying nothing should be that big, look at my top ten list every year. It's filled with huge games, and this year's is going to be no different. I know what my tastes are, and they skew more toward big budget games. Am I part of the problem? At a point, aren't we all?

    Even Hi-Fi Rush, yes, it's smaller than a 50 hour open world game, or a 100 hour JRPG, but it's not exactly what I would call a “small” game. No part of it feels, or looks like an indie game, it still feels like a game with the backing of a major publisher. It's just smaller, and more focused than what big publishers tend to put out these days.

    No Caption Provided

    “Only play indie games” is great for supporting smaller studios, but if everyone actually started doing that? I feel like that's just going to result in the big publishers going out of business, and again, thousands and thousands of people losing their jobs.

    Part of me thinks that if buying Activision was the first domino that ends in Xbox completely falling apart, it's entirely what they deserve for their hubris. But again, how many people are going to suffer along the way? I keep saying “lose their jobs” like the jobs are the important part, and not the people and their livelihoods. That's what I care about. At the end of the day, it's the people. And as long as we still live in this capitalist hellhole system, nothing's going to change.

    I just wish I had an answer, any answer about how we get from where we are to a better world. I still want to believe a better world is possible, but stuff like this just fills me with frustration, anger, and despair. I don't know what else to say, what else we can do. Other than just...enjoy the games you enjoy. Don't just enjoy them as “content,” appreciate them for what they are.

    Art. Creations. Appreciate the time, effort, and soul poured into them. Support them as best as you can, and at the end of the day, I guess that's all we can do for now.

    Hi-Fi Rush is one of the best pieces of art I've experienced in recent years. The highest of high recommendations from me, please take the time to experience it if any of what I said sounds appealing to you.

    Just make sure you do before it gets delisted in a decade because of the licensed music.

    Until then, just try to rock on as best as we can.

    Rest in peace, Tango Gameworks. <3
    Rest in peace, Tango Gameworks. <3
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    ThePanzini

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    #1  Edited By ThePanzini

    Matt Booty comments although tone deaf are not necessarily wrong. Hi-Fi Rush was in development for 5 years its small for a AAA title but not a small game, Arrowhead (Helldivers 2) for instance are smaller than Tango Gameworks, also Grounded was made by fewer people quicker and still topping the most played charts on Game Pass. Palworld, Manor Lords & Vampire Survivors have all done more for Game Pass at fraction of the cost, all high impact games.

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    beargirl1

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    Rock on, Moosey. 🤘🏾

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    brian_

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    #3  Edited By brian_

    Great article. I just want to push a little bit on this part.

    @mooseymcman said:

    “Only play indie games” is great for supporting smaller studios, but if everyone actually started doing that? I feel like that's just going to result in the big publishers going out of business, and again, thousands and thousands of people losing their jobs.

    It should never feel like that it is the consumers responsibility to protect the jobs of workers at a large company. That's the employer's job. I think people tend to conflate this with the want to support independent creators, who do not have the protections of a management team, making millions of dollars from their work, in place. They're responsible for bringing in the money by delivering successful products that people want to buy and running a successful business that people feel good about supporting. I realize that if we lived in a world where management did take proper responsibility, this stuff would happen far less frequently, and we wouldn't need to have this conversation in the first place, but continuing to feel like the onus is on the consumer to keep people employed isn't going to push them to do so either.

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    MooseyMcMan

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    apewins

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    Tango Gameworks has put out 4 games in 10 years (and, according to Wikipedia, one mobile game in addition to that). That is excellent output in these times where it seems that for most studios it takes 5-8 years to put out one game. Halo Infinite took 6 years to make. Naughty Dog is 4 years into development of something that has not even been announced (I'm not counting re-releases).

    That's the most shocking this about Hi-Fi Rush is how Tango had put out a game in 2022 and then in the next year they already have another one. The Evil Within series may not have been a huge success but it has a following as basically the only active horror tripe-A series out there besides Resident Evil (not active any more obviously).

    I can understand shutting down a studio that isn't performing. And if there was a studio that needed to be put down it would most likely have been 343 Industries that has had multiple chances of doing something interesting with Halo and has failed every time (I actually liked Halo 5 personally but I know most people didn't). Tango is one of the few studios at Microsoft that are actually performing, and the stated reason for the closure that they don't have enough middle managers to harass talented people who have proven that they can manage their work themselves is one of the most insane excuses they could have come up with. I don't buy it for a second, if the Activision deal hadn't happened and scared up the executives over how much money they are spending, this closure wouldn't have happened either.

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