Rumor: Halo Wars Dev Ensemble Shutting Down, Non-essential Employees Already Axed (Updated)

Update: Microsoft has confirmed its plans to close Ensemble.

Original Story: Shacknews has learned via multiple independent reports that developer Ensemble Studios (Age of Empires) will shut down operation following the release of its upcoming title Halo Wars.

According to sources, employees not associated with Halo Wars have been laid off today. Those attached to Halo Wars have been offered incentives to stay on the project until completion.

Halo Wars, an RTS based on the Halo franchise, was announced in September of 2006. The Xbox 360 title is currently slated for release sometime in the first half of 2009.

Ensemble Studios was founded in 1995. The Microsoft-owned company is best known for the Age of Empires series of RTS games.

Shacknews has contacted both Microsoft and Ensemble for comment, but has not yet received a reply. nope