Hi-Fi Rush director explains the game’s surprise launch

Hi-Fi Rush took everyone by surprise with its reveal and surprise launch, and the director explains how it happened.

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Hi-Fi Rush took everyone by surprise with its reveal and surprise launch, and it blew everyone away with its unique and engaging gameplay.

It’s not every day that you see a game get launched shortly after its announcement. Because of this, we asked how that happened when we got to interview Hi-Fi Rush director, John Johanas.

So, what happened was that the game was supposed to be teased at a big event, but then the COVID-19 pandemic happened. This threw a wrench in the studio’s plans.

Johanas explains:

We initially had the idea of teasing way back, but then, it was the worst time possible as it was right when the coronavirus pandemic began. So, we weren’t able to tease it at an event because all the events were canceled. We then held it off and waited a while for a good opportunity.

Then, we thought, okay, what can we do now because we know we have a really interesting product and we’re thinking of ways that we can show it off. We knew that those who played it initially wanted to play it right away. So, the initial idea was to have a very short campaign. I think the idea during the first pitch was an announcement then a release after three months.

Slowly, that time period between announcement and release got smaller because we thought, ‘wouldn’t it be cooler if we launch a title a bit closer to its announcement.’ And then, as we’re nearing our anticipated release date, we were looking at opportunities on where we could announce it to make the best impression. There wasn’t quite a good spot that fit well within the timeframe that we’re doing it.

The game’s targeted release date got closer and closer, and then it was decided that a surprise launch for Hi-Fi Rush might be worth a shot.

So then the idea came up for the Developer_Direct that Xbox was doing, and that’s when the marketing and PR team thought about shortening that window to literally as short as it can possibly be to this shadow drop,” said Johanas. “There was really a push from marketing and PR to get this one big moment to show the game and have people just immediately go and play it.

It’s a total departure from what we did before. Maybe some people’s first instinct is, oh, it’s totally different [from Tango Gameworks’ other titles] so it’s probably not that good.  But we were very confident in the product and we wanted people to play it right away. In the end, it wound up working out better than we could have imagined.

Given the game’s success with this release strategy, it won’t be a surprise to see more games try out a surprise announcement and launch in the future.

Hi-Fi RUSH is available now on Xbox Series X|S, Windows, and Game Pass.

For more on the game, check out our review as well as our full interview with director John Johanas:

Full Interview: Hi-Fi Rush director John Johanas on the game’s development and surprise reveal