Hi-Fi Rush is getting positively review bombed on Steam after Microsoft killed its studio: "At least they went out with a bang"

 Hi-Fi Rush Chai and 808.
Hi-Fi Rush Chai and 808.

What you need to know

  • Earlier this week, Microsoft shut down three Xbox Game Studios developers, including Arkane Austin, Alpha Dog Games, and Hi-Fi Rush maker Tango Gameworks.

  • Hi-Fi Rush, a rhythm action game with stylized visuals and a rock-heavy soundtrack, was widely considered to be one of 2023's best games and one of the best Xbox games in recent memory. It won several industry awards and was called a "break out hit" by Xbox's marketing vice president.

  • The acclaim made Microsoft's closure of the studio all the more shocking, and both developers and fans alike have strongly criticized the firm for its decision over the last few days.

  • To show support for Tango Gameworks while simultaneously lambasting Microsoft, Hi-Fi Rush players are "positively review bombing" the title on Steam. 700 positive reviews and counting have been posted in the past three days.

Earlier this week, Microsoft shut down three Xbox Game Studios developers and absorbed a fourth into ZeniMax Online Studios, laying off many employees in the process and exacerbating a devastating trend of cuts across the industry. The decision drew heavy criticism from developers and fans alike, especially since the Xbox firm already laid off 1,900 workers in its gaming division a few months ago in January.

One of the studios closed was Tango Gameworks, the team known for The Evil Within, Ghostwire: Tokyo, and — most recently — Hi-Fi Rush, a shadow-dropped 2023 rhythm action game that garnered widespread acclaim and won several industry awards. According to Xbox's own marketing vice president Aaron Greenberg, the title "was a break out hit for us and our players in all key measurements and expectations," which made the shuttering of the developer all the more shocking.

In a show of support for the studio, Hi-Fi Rush players on Steam have begun a "positive review bombing" campaign, with 700 positive reviews and counting posted in the last three days. Most of the reviews thank Tango Gameworks for creating what is widely viewed as one of the best Xbox games and best PC games of 2023, while simultaneously lambasting Microsoft and its choice to kill the developer.

"RIP Tango Gameworks. At least they went out with a bang," wrote reviewer MysteryMii. "Thank you Tango Gameworks for this wonderful game! Had so much fun when came out, the visuals, the gameplay, the killer beat, is hope to 100% finish it for the great work you did," said DraugurPhoenix before adding, "Thank you for nothing Microsoft."

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"Hi Fi Rush was the best game Xbox published in over a decade, it won awards and was beloved by everyone. Microsofts answer is to shut them down, and it's crap," wrote KillianCU. "I fear because of the licensed music it will get delisted in the future because MS clearly doesn't care. Tango, Arkane Austin and everyone affected today didn't deserve this."

Microsoft Gaming head of game content and studios Matt Booty said in an email to staff seen by Windows Central that Tuesday's "reprioritization of titles and resources" was necessary, with a Bloomberg report revealing he also commented that ZeniMax leadership was spread too thin like "peanut butter on bread” in a town hall meeting (when asked about shutting down Tango, Xbox president Sarah Bond didn't really answer the question). Most still condemn the closures, however, with many pointing towards Microsoft soaring past earnings expectations with a $21.9 billion net income in the last quarter and its status as the most valuable company in the world.

Analysis: Thank you, Tango Gameworks

Image of Chai and 808 lounging on the extra soft cushions in Hi-Fi Rush.
Image of Chai and 808 lounging on the extra soft cushions in Hi-Fi Rush.

Ultimately, what occurred earlier this week was horrible no matter how Microsoft tries to explain or justify it, but I am at least glad to see a large outpouring of support for Hi-Fi Rush and Tango Gameworks. The developers that made up that studio created some truly wonderful games, and my heart — as well as the hearts of everyone here at Windows Central — go out to everyone who was affected by this week's cuts and any others. I hope everyone from Tango, Arkane Austin, and Alpha Dog Games is able to find a new position elsewhere.

It should go without saying, but you should absolutely play Hi-Fi Rush if you haven't yet done so. It's playable on Xbox and PC through Xbox or PC Game Pass, respectively (or both with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate), and also $10 off to buy on Xbox right now. It's available on Steam and PS5, too, and you can get the Steam version for $11.99 (its MSRP is $29.99) along with several other games by signing up for a Humble Choice membership in May.

Additionally, Hi-Fi Rush is still getting physical copies despite Tango Gameworks' closure, though it's not yet known when these will actually come to market. Still, keep an eye on Limited Run Games' Twitter (X) page if you're interested, as that's where the latest developments on that front will be shared by the physical games publisher.

Humble Choice | $11.99/mo at Humble

Right now, Hi-Fi Rush is one of Humble Choice's included games, meaning you can get it and several other PC games for just $11.99 right now. Members get permanent access to new batches of games every month, and you can skip a month or cancel at any time.

See Hi-Fi Rush at: GMG (Steam) | Xbox | PlayStation