Amid Xbox Exclusivity Concerns, Hi-Fi Rush Dev Says It Didn't Shelve Any Platforms After Acquisition
Microsoft was very hands-off when the acquisition happened.
Hi-Fi Rush, one of the early pleasant surprises of 2023, launched exclusively on Xbox and PC. But there were never any plans for the game to launch on other platforms before Microsoft acquired publisher Bethesda Softworks, according to game director John Johanas, who also shared that Game Pass benefited developer Tango Gameworks.
Speaking with GameSpot during an interview at Anime Expo 2023, Johanas stated that when the Microsoft purchase happened, it was late into the game's development, and the team was "undecided on platforms right as this was happening, and then it was like, 'Okay, Xbox, that was easy.'" Johanas said. "It's not that we had something working, and we just shelved it or anything like that."
After Microsoft officially purchased Bethesda parent company ZeniMax in 2021, Johanas said Microsoft was very hands-off.
"Legitimately, there was no change. We just kept making it, and we didn't get any feedback from Microsoft in the sense of changing something," he said. "At that point, realistically, our game was pretty much solidified into what it was. It was kind of finishing it up, and everyone who saw it thought it looked cool."
The only hurdle Tango Gameworks faced with Microsoft was finding a good time to release it "so it doesn't overlap with other titles." Johanas then explained how being on Game Pass was great for the team because the game "was completely different than anything we've ever done." Since the game was a surprise launch day one on Game Pass, it helped the team because players "didn't spend time thinking about ways to hate on it or nitpick small things."
As of late, there's been a lot of discourse around Microsoft keeping games exclusive to Xbox. Late last year Microsoft had pledged to keep Call of Duty multiplatform if the Activision Blizzard deal goes through. But the FTC trail has raised some concerns, such as how Microsoft's Bethesda acquisition led to games such as Starfield ending up as Xbox console exclusives.
Hi-Fi Rush was surprise-released back in January. Just recently, a new update added a new challenge mode.