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Xbox and Tango Gameworks might have surprised everyone with the same-day release of Hi-Fi Rush after the Developer_Direct, but the studio had been working on the project for half a decade. Tango director John Johanas shared a bit of the game’s development history in a recent Xbox Plays livestream, which Twitter user Dreamboum posted.

Johanas said that, where Obsidian’s Pentiment, which Microsoft only greenlit thanks to Game Pass’ low-risk nature, Tango greenlit Hi-Fi Rush long before Xbox even acquired parent company ZeniMax and even before Xbox Game Pass existed.

“It’s one of those dream games that I had way back,” Johanas said. “Ihad finished working on The Evil Within 2, and we knew that Ghostwire was the next title that we were going to make. And so I was like, what if I pitch… the most un-Bethesda game I could possibly imagine?”

The result was a pleasant surprise that seems to have struck a chord with fans, thanks to its rich cel-shaded style and blend of action-platforming with rhythm mechanics. It’s certainly not what most people expected from Tango or even Xbox, whose 2023 slate consists mostly of shooters and realistic games, including Forza Motorsports and the horror shooter Redfall, the latter of which is set to release in May.