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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Hi-Fi Rush Went Viral Internally at Bethesda, Leading to Shadow Drop

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Hi-Fi Rush, Tango Gameworks' rhythmic action game where every move happens to the beat of the music, made for an exciting shadow drop after last week's Xbox Developer Direct. It immediately caught fire on social media for its bright cartoon style, snappy rhythm-based gameplay, and boppin' soundtrack.

But the general public isn't the first to be enamored by Hi-Fi Rush. Apparently, it went a bit viral internally at Bethesda first – which in part led to Tango's decision to shadow drop it in the first place.

Speaking to IGN, director John Johanas said that the shadow drop decision came from the game's marketing team in part because of uncertainty about how a longer marketing cycle might play out. Because Tango is known for horror, and Hi-Fi Rush is decidedly not that, they thought simply dropping it onto Game Pass without a long lead-up would help it gain popularity naturally through sudden word of mouth, just as it had within Bethesda during development.

"If you're going to ask someone to purchase something in a shadow drop, you probably get a lot of skepticism, but the fact that Game Pass exists allows people to basically almost, what you would say is a demo theoretically. But it's not a demo, it's the full game. They can just play in and they can almost naturally talk about the game, talk to their friends, tell them how cool it is. That's what we were kind of hoping for because internally, we knew it was something special.

Hi-Fi Rush – Xbox Dev Direct

"That's how it actually built up within Bethesda…Some people had played it and they spoke about it to their other [colleagues]. They're like, 'Did you see that game that they're making there?' There's this weird sort of viral positivity to this just playing this game, and Game Pass just felt like an excellent opportunity to let something…lose that skepticism immediately by just playing it and people just talking about it."

We spoke to Johanas further about the team's work on Hi-Fi Rush, including how and why it was a departure from Tango's modus operandi as a horror studio. You can read our full interview right here, and check out our interview with Xbox head Phil Spencer where we touched on Hi-Fi Rush as well as Xbox's 2023 lineup and more.


Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.

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