Shinji Mikami’s exit played a role in Xbox’s choice to close Tango Gameworks.

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Shinji Mikami’s departure from Tango Gameworks last year seems to have played a pivotal role in Microsoft’s choice to shut down the studio. Mikami, who founded the studio over a decade ago, left shortly before Microsoft’s announcement of the closure. This surprising turn of events sheds light on the impact of Mikami’s exit in the studio’s fate.

Microsoft’s decision to close Tango Gameworks raised eyebrows, considering it was the company’s main presence in the Japanese gaming market. The studio had recently released the successful game Hi-Fi Rush before the closure. Notably, both Shinji Mikami and Ikumi Nakamura, known for directing Ghostwire Tokyo, had left the studio. Matt Booty, head of Xbox’s Game Studios, hinted at these significant departures contributing to the studio’s shutdown.

In an interview on the Strictly Business Podcast with Variety, Booty suggested that Microsoft’s decision was forward-looking. He emphasized the importance of creative and team leadership in a successful game’s development. This implies that Microsoft doubted the potential of Tango Gameworks’ remaining team to deliver future success, ultimately leading to the closure of the studio.

Additionally, the uncertainty in the Japanese market, influenced by the devaluation of the Japanese Yen, may have factored into Microsoft’s strategic shift away from Japanese studio investments. This decision reflects a cautious approach during the region’s economic recovery.

It’s clear that various factors, including leadership changes, market conditions, and strategic considerations, played a role in Microsoft’s choice to close Tango Gameworks. The impact of Shinji Mikami’s departure highlights the significance of key personnel in shaping the fate of game development studios.

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