Giant Bomb News

25 Comments

Ensemble Studios Finishing Halo Wars, Then Shutting Down

"Fiscally-rooted" decision from Microsoft puts Age of Empires dev out after Halo Wars is out the door.

Microsoft has confirmed rumors unearthed by Shacknews earlier today. Ensemble Studios will shut down following the the completion of its current project, Halo Wars.

The statement is a weird one, balancing the line between talking up the need to shut down the studio to keep Microsoft Game Studios "on its growth path" while going out of its way to say that the quality of Halo Wars has nothing to do with all this. I have to say, this line really stands out at me...

In fact, many people who have had a chance to test drive Halo Wars agree that it is on track to being a fantastic game.

...are they trying to convince us... or themselves? Well, I'm probably reading way too much into the statement. It can't be easy, writing stuff like that.

It goes on to say that a core group of Ensemble guys are going to form a new studio that will be responsible for post-release support for Halo Wars. Also, Microsoft has stated that it's attempting to place the downsized individuals into new positions.

Get your Shacknews on if you want to see the full statement. Best of luck to all of those who've been impacted by this decision.
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
25 Comments
Posted by Jeff
Microsoft has confirmed rumors unearthed by Shacknews earlier today. Ensemble Studios will shut down following the the completion of its current project, Halo Wars.

The statement is a weird one, balancing the line between talking up the need to shut down the studio to keep Microsoft Game Studios "on its growth path" while going out of its way to say that the quality of Halo Wars has nothing to do with all this. I have to say, this line really stands out at me...

In fact, many people who have had a chance to test drive Halo Wars agree that it is on track to being a fantastic game.

...are they trying to convince us... or themselves? Well, I'm probably reading way too much into the statement. It can't be easy, writing stuff like that.

It goes on to say that a core group of Ensemble guys are going to form a new studio that will be responsible for post-release support for Halo Wars. Also, Microsoft has stated that it's attempting to place the downsized individuals into new positions.

Get your Shacknews on if you want to see the full statement. Best of luck to all of those who've been impacted by this decision.
Staff
Posted by Godzilla_Sushi

They better try to give as many jobs as possible to the employees. That's always the worst part. Who cares about the games when you know people are losing their jobs....

Posted by AndrewB

A long "Nooooo!" to this news. Ensemble is legendary. At least they'll be pulling an Obsidian in wrangling their team back together to form a new studio, but still, I have to say it's a sad, sad day for those of us who grew up on Age of Empires, and still think it is the greatest RTS series of all time.

Posted by AnEternalEnigma

I'm not buying the corporate hyperbole. This isn't a good thing for Halo Wars.

Posted by mrfluke

this really sucks imagine that after making a potentially kickass game they get the boot thats messed up

Posted by GalvanizedNails

how did this happen? I was under the impression that Ensemble was doing fairly well atm. Kinda strange if you ask me, I don't think this looks good for Halo Wars

Posted by logson

Wow. Though most of the employees will allegedly still have jobs, closing Ensemble seems so strange. AOE has always been a fantastic (and successful, no?) franchise, and it's sad to see the original dev go away.

Posted by CharleyTony

Microsoft Game Studios really looks like its doing all the wrong moves...

Dont they have a long term plan for stuff, like being able to actually make games, whos left ? Turn 10 ... is that it ? Forza is great but MS really needs solid studio support to have great games they cant count on timed exclusives all the time,, Nintendo and Sony have huge 1st party teams...

Posted by Milkman

Wow, that's a shame. Any reasoning mentioned behind the closing?

Online
Posted by Hef

Love ensemble. I can't wait to play halo wars and anything else their new company is going to make.

Posted by Destroyeron

This is just further proof that Microsoft is a bunch of assbags.

Posted by Libb

This is a shame - AOE is legendary as the golden standard for RTS games. My friends and I still fire up AOE2 for a LAN match when we're done fragging each other at our little casual LAN parties. Sure, AOE3 wasn't perfect, but it was still pretty good, and it's sad to know there will never be an AOE4, or at least one made by the Ensemble guys.

Posted by trav3ler

Damn...  Microsoft is totally screwing an epic developing company.  Hopefully an AOE 4 will exist eventually...

I agree that this does not bode well for Halo Wars though.  Not that I thought it was going to be particularly good anyway, but ehh.  There was hope.

Posted by CrazyGamer

This is indeed sad news. If the quality of their games was in question, I can understand their decision, but Ensemble studios has a fine track record. I just don't understand corporate heads.

Posted by j_meyer_13

Dude, NOOO!!  Ensemble made some damn good games - I loved (and still love) Age of Empires.  AoE2  was an amazing game.  I hope Halo Wars turns out to be a good game, and the Ensemble crew goes on to make more awesome RTS's

Posted by jakob187

Wow...so now do we need to shut down all the threads in the forums about Ensemble shutting down?  o.O  lol

Sucky move, M$, sucky move.
Posted by deaux

Calm down people.  They probably added a bunch of staff to help make Halo Wars, and this is probably just part of slimming down and re-tooling for their next project.

Posted by jakob187

Slimming down?  I'm sorry, you must've not read the statement.  They are CLOSING DOWN THE ENTIRE STUDIO!!!  There's a difference.

It's like Sarah Silverman said:  there is a difference between 6 million and 60 million.  60 million is inexcusable.
Posted by Metron4

Ack! So who will be designing AoE IV? I was so looking forward to moving through the War, Atomic and Space ages.

Posted by AttackedCamo

This is a huge bummer.

Posted by Vandreren

I've had it with MS. Esemble Studios is fantastic. R.I.P

Posted by Chocobo_Blitzer

Wow, what? This is a little shocking. Ensemble's games got me into the RTS genre. This is totally crazy, they're gonna be gone? I'll never see Age of Mythology 2? Christ!

Posted by Kohe321

That sucks!

Posted by Crono

It's the crazy world of game development in action!  Never seems to function like any other industry...

Posted by Platitude

This a confusing and strange decision by Microsoft Game Studios.  Ensemble has made some of the most important RTS games in the genre.  This is a real bummer.