One Year After Saying They Don’t Plan To Shut Arkane Austin, Xbox Shuts It

Today, several Bethesda studios were either shuttered or absorbed by other studios. Arkane Austin, the developer known for games like 2017’s Prey and last year’s Redfall, was one of the studios on the chopping block. 

This time last year, Xbox’s Matt Booty told Axios the plan was to keep Arkane Austin open while they continue updating Redfall. “That is the plan right now,” said Booty. “They are hard at work on updates and continued content for Redfall.”

Booty also told Axios that he feels “accountable that we could have done a better job with Arkane.” Well, it’s the developers on the receiving end of that accountability today as Booty announced today’s studio closures in an email to employees. Here’s what he wrote specifically about Arkane Austin today:

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.

Sure, Redfall wasn’t a great game – but not every game will be the next big thing. And for a platform that needs games to keep Game Pass going, today’s decision to shutter Arkane Austin, Tango Gameworks, and Alpha Dog Studios doesn’t make much sense, especially at a time when we see smaller games becoming hugely popular. Almost every big game launched in 2024 came out of nowhere or was developed by small teams: Helldivers 2, Palworld, Manor Lords, Balatro, and countless others.

What kind of message does this send to the rest of the Xbox teams? If I’m the folks at Ninja Theory, I’m sweating bullets. Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II looks fantastic, but can it be successful enough for whatever metrics Xbox deems appropriate at the time? 

Supposedly, Xbox was pleased with Tango Gameworks as recently as last August.

Until they weren’t. 

It’s hard to see how any team not working on Forza, Call of Duty, Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, or Halo aren’t constantly looking over their shoulder, wondering if their studio is next.