When the folks at Xbox hosted their developer livestream last week, no one expected a new game to launch. Much less one none of us knew about. With the game finished, Tango Gameworks and Bethesda opted for a shadow drop of their action rhythm combat game.
The reception to Hi-Fi Rush has been overwhelmingly positive from fans and critics. It’s sitting at 88 on Metacritic with a 9.1 user score. A quick look at Steam shows 98% of nearly 4,000 reviews are positive. I played a little bit of it over the weekend, and it’s fantastic. It looks great, sounds incredible, and plays even better.
And the lack of traditional marketing doesn’t appear to be hurting the game at all. If anything, it’s filling the need for an Xbox exclusive during the current first-party drought.
The Steam launch of Hi-Fi Rush again shows that launching on Game Pass doesn’t hugely impact sales. Currently, the game sits at #6 on Steam’s top-selling games (by revenue). Here’s how the top 10 shakes out currently (note this is by revenue, so there will be free-to-play games in the list because of microtransactions within them):
- Steam Deck
- Hogwarts Legacy
- Dead Space
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
- Destiny 2
- Hi-Fi Rush
- EA Sports FIFA 23
- Valve Index VR Kit
- Lost Ark
- Red Dead Redemption
It hit the #8 spot for the week, according to SteamDB, beating out recent releases like Forspoken.
Not too shabby for a game with no traditional marketing push. But I doubt we’ll see game releases like this become the norm. First, this dev (Tango Gameworks) isn’t trying to make a name for itself. It was founded by Shinji Miami, who directed the first Resident Evil and Dino Crisis games. Plus, the studio is already known for its The Evil Within series. Not to mention you have its publisher Bethesda and Xbox, which can give it one hell of a marketing push alongside Game Pass.
Shadow drops will always be a thing, but they’ll be pleasant surprises, not the industry norm.
Hi-Fi Rush hit at the perfect time. We are still a few months out from Bethesda’s Redfall on Xbox’s first-party side of things. And a couple of weeks from the highly anticipated Hogwarts Legacy. A fun action game around a dozen hours long is the perfect one to drop right now.
It’ll be interesting to see how well the game does on Xbox’s most-played chart. Another recent Game Pass release, High On Life, surged to near the top of the list thanks to being on the service.