The Buck Stops With Phil Spencer, 1000xRESIST Is A Must-Play, And More Gaming Opinions For The Week

Image for article titled The Buck Stops With Phil Spencer, 1000xRESIST Is A Must-Play, And More Gaming Opinions For The Week

Photo: Xbox / Kotaku / Justin Sullivan (Getty Images), Image: Microsoft, Supergiant Games, Arrowhead Studios / Sony, Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda / Obsidian / Kotaku, Fellow Traveller, Screenshot: Tango Gameworks / Kotaku

People had strong feelings, to put it mildly, after Xbox shuttered Arkane Austin, Tango Gameworks, and other studios, and we share some of our own. Also, PlayStation finally relented on a requirement that PC players maintain a PSN account, but not before colossal fan uproar, and as the dust started to settle, we had some thoughts on the whole debacle. That and much more awaits you in the pages ahead.

An image show's Phil Spencer in front of a Game Pass logo missing the word game.

Photo: Xbox / Kotaku / Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

On May 7, Xbox announced that it was closing three studios: Arkane Austin (Redfall), Tango Gameworks (Hi-Fi Rush), and Alpha Dog Games (Mighty Doom). Support studio Roundhouse Games was also being absorbed by Zenimax Online Studios (Elder Scrolls Online). The news is yet another example of Xbox—which has spent billions buying up studios—cutting costs, laying people off, and rearranging chairs on the good ship Xbox, which lately feels like it’s drifting aimlessly. – Zack Zwiezen Read More

Chai striking a cool pose in mid air with his robotic cat

Image: Microsoft

On May 7, Microsoft closed down four first-party development studios it had acquired from Zenimax Media in 2021 including Tango Gameworks, developer of The Evil Within series and 2023’s surprise hit Hi-Fi Rush. It’s the latest round of layoffs and closures that the gaming industry, and Xbox specifically, has seen in recent months. But with the Xbox portfolio seemingly growing bigger with acquisitions only for Microsoft to then lay off the developers doing the most interesting work, it raises questions about the actual value of the company’s Game Pass subscription service. After all, that service seemed great, in no small part, precisely because it gave subscribers access to the games made by the very developers that have now been shuttered. – Willa Rowe Read More

Hypnos all wrapped and asleep

Image: Supergiant Games

As of Monday, May 6, Hades II is now available in Early Access. That’s an exciting development for fans eager to play the sequel to developer Supergiant Games’ 2020 action roguelite. But while plenty of gamers around the world will be diving into Early Access, I won’t be one of them. – Willa Rowe Read More

Chai is seen looking nervous at something off-screen with 808 the cat on his shoulder looking similarly nervous.

Screenshot: Tango Gameworks / Kotaku

Today, May 7, Xbox announced it’s shutting down three studios and merging another. This includes Redfall developer Arkane Austin and Mobile Doom studio Alpha Dog Games, while Roundhouse Games is being absorbed into Elder Scrolls Online developer ZeniMax Online Studios. But perhaps most shocking of all is the closure of Tango Gameworks, the team behind The Evil Within series and, most recently, the rhythm action game Hi-Fi Rush. – Kenneth Shepard Read More

A screenshot of a Helldivers 2 player running away from an area being bombarded.

Image: Arrowhead Studios / Sony

Last week, Arrowhead Studios announced that an upcoming update to its hit co-op shooter Helldivers 2 would require existing PC players on Steam to make a PlayStation Network account to continue playing. If they didn’t, they’d lose access to their Helldivers accounts, and that news did not land well. The move was bad for a litany of reasons, not least of which was the fact that Steam is supported in more countries than PSN, meaning that many players in some regions of the world would have no viable way to play the game they’d already owned on PC for months. As Helldivers 2 began getting delisted from several countries over the weekend, its community took to the offensive and review-bombed both the game and its ten-year-old predecessor. – Moises Taveras Read More

Key art of Fallout 4 that shows the series' Power Armor at a workshop set up in a garage.

Image: Bethesda Softworks

Earlier this week, Xbox announced that it would be shuttering several studios it had attained as part of its $7.5 billion purchase of Bethesda, including Arkane Austin, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog Games, and Roundhouse Studios, the last of which is being absorbed into another team. Collectively, the studios’ produced games like Dishonored, Prey, Redfall, Mighty Doom, Hi-Fi Rush, and more. These studios, and some of the more innovative titles that they developed, seemed at one point to be the future of Xbox’s floundering brand. After a downturn in many of Xbox’s large key franchises due to mismanagement, the shifting priorities of its audience, and the Xbox’s dwindling image across the world, titles like the ones these teams were developing seemed like the start of a promising new era for Xbox, one that might be marked by more creative, sustainably made games that weren’t designed to bleed its audience dry. – Moises Taveras Read More

An image shows a super mutant standing in front of New Vegas.

Image: Bethesda / Obsidian / Kotaku

Following the release of Amazon’s live-action Fallout TV show, it seems everyone is playing a Fallout game again. From newer titles like Fallout 76 to older games like Fallout 3, Bethesda’s post-apocalyptic franchise is arguably bigger than ever thanks to the recently released hit series. – Zack Zwiezen Read More

A woman dressed in all blue stares towards camera

Image: Fellow Traveller

One of my biggest gaming regrets was not playing Vanillaware’s time-travel narrative adventure 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim when it was released in 2019. Everybody around me kept telling me to just pick up the damn game and give it a try because they knew I would like it. I didn’t play it until 2023, at which point I quickly smacked myself over the head because it was absolutely my type of game. – Willa Rowe Read More

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