Hi-Fi Rush “Ain’t No Indie Game” Says Game Director

Hi-Fi Rush is the rare game where we only see developer interviews after the game’s release. And that’s due to the nature of the game being “shadowdropped“, released directly upon its reveal early this year during Xbox’s Developer Direct broadcast.

Xbox Wire has interviewed key personnel at Tango Gameworks, the developer behind the surprise hit release, and it’s a very interesting read. But one key takeaway is that, despite Hi-Fi Rush’s relatively small scope, it’s still a AAA, big-budget game. Not a smaller budget AA game, or an indie game.

“It was supposed to be a small project from Tango,” said John Johanas, game director for Hi-Fi Rush. “And people probably see it as this weird, sort-of AA title. Or people are like, ‘Oh, they made a nice indie game.’

“This ain’t no indie game.”

Johanas obviously didn’t declare the development budget for the rhythm-based character action game, but did say “it was not a cheap game to make.”

Lead programmer Yuji Nakamura also chimed in on the game’s scale. “In my mind, small projects would be maybe 20 to 30 people for two years. We ended up developing for about five; I wouldn’t call it a small project at all,” he said.

Audio director Shuichi Kobori said: “I saw all the tasks that went into it, and those tasks were huge. I would never call it a small project.”

That said, the early portions of the development did saw a smaller team of people working on the game, as this was the other game Tango is working on while the main team focused in developing Ghostwire Tokyo. And Johannes has a very specific vision for the game, like how the gameplay should be 70% action, 30% rhythm-based, something that remained unchanged despite attempts of team members to suggest having the balance tuned a lean more into the rhythm aspects.

Hi-Fi Rush definitely carried that “indie spirit”, that feel that a game like this could have only been made if it was not imposed to be a blockbuster hit. Which is why probably many folks see it as an indie game, despite that not being true.

Hi-Fi Rush is out now on Xbox Series X|S and PC (Steam, Microsoft Store) and also on Game Pass. Check out our review of the game here.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept