In a surprising move, Robot Entertainment has passed on development of free-to-play RTS Age of Empires Online to Gas Powered Games. In a short post about the switch on the game's blog, Gas Powered Games reveals that the transfer “has been the plan for some time,” and GPG and publisher Microsoft share a similar vision about the long-term success of the social-focused strategy game.
Robot Entertainment, as you may know, was founded by a lot of ex-Ensemble staff, so Microsoft putting an Age of Empires in their hands seemed like a natural, fitting move. This developer transition doesn’t strike me as quite a natural move, but it’s not like GPG doesn’t have RTS or strategy chops. This is the studio that built Supreme Commander and Dungeon Siege, after all.
== TEASER ==As for what Robot Entertainment is doing now with AOE off its back? Well, there’s some news on that front. Earlier this week, Robot announced its third-person action game with a tower defense twist, Orcs Must Die!, for PC download and console digital distribution platforms. In a nutshell, the game is about protecting one’s keep with traps, both physical and magical, from a flowing stream of Orcs.
In a recent post on its forums, Robot Entertainment echoed Gas Powered Games, saying that allowing GPG to take on the lead developer role for AOE Online was always the plan. It also added that the Orcs Must Die! announcement will be followed by other original game reveals in the near future.
But until then, here's the first Orcs Must Die! trailer:
No word on the release date for AOE or Orcs Must Die, but both should hit in 2011.