‘Feel the burn’ marketing tag ages very poorly — and very quickly — following Xbox studio closures

Microsoft has changed the tagline for a new Xbox wireless controller due to significant backlash after it closed down four studios.

The tagline “Feel the Burn Today” appeared in a Xbox blog post for the new Fire Vapor Special Edition Controller right around the time Microsoft itself reported that it would be closing four games development studios. Social media users immediately noted the poor timing, and Microsoft backtracked in acknowledgement of it.

On May 7, Xbox Game Studios announced the closure of Arkane Austin and Tango Gameworks and the loss of all jobs there. Two other studios were shuttered, according to an email Matt Booty, the head of Xbox Game Studios, sent to employees.

The closure has resulted in the cancellation of post-launch support for Redfall, including any DLC expansions. However, Arkane Studios, headquartered in Lyon, France, will continue to operate. The supernatural shooter launched by Arkane Austin in May 2023 is officially done and will not receive any post-launch support, including the two DLC characters that Xbox had promised at the time of release.

After unveiling the new game controller and publishing the tagline, Microsoft discreetly updated the Xbox Wire blog post for the controller. The original title, “Feel the Burn Today with the Fire Vapor Special Edition Controller,” was changed to a more generic one announcing a new color variant in the ongoing Vapor series of Xbox wireless controllers.

Microsoft is among several companies that have made major layoffs in its gaming division, cutting around 1,900 workers from its Xbox, Activision Blizzard, and ZeniMax teams in January.

Anger in the gaming industry

Shortly after the news broke, Arkane Lyon boss Dinga Bakaba shared an impassioned thread, describing the situation as “a f***ing gut stab”. He added: “Don’t throw us into gold fever gambits, don’t use us as strawmen for miscalculations/blind spots, don’t make our work environments darwinist jungles.”

Bethesda’s regional director Alistair Hatch stated he was “Angry. Frustrated. Shocked. Furious. Speechless. Dumbfounded. Perplexed.”

Featured image: Microsoft

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