Ensemble Closing Confirmed, New Studio to Form

By Nick Breckon, Sep 09, 2008 6:18pm PDT Confirming a story broken by Shacknews, Microsoft now says that it will shut down developer Ensemble Studios (Age of Empires) following the end of work on the company's upcoming RTS Halo Wars.

Microsoft called the planned closure a "fiscally-rooted" decision, while noting that a core Ensemble team will go on to form a new studio to provide support for Halo Wars and work on fresh projects.

Though not all employees will be transferred to the new studio, Microsoft plans to find other jobs for as many workers as possible.

Microsoft's full statement follows:

Microsoft has decided to close Ensemble Studios following the completion of Halo Wars. After the closure, the Ensemble leadership team will form a new studio and has agreed to provide ongoing support for Halo Wars as well as work on other projects with Microsoft Game Studios.

The team at Ensemble has made invaluable contributions to the games industry with their Age of Empires and Age of Mythology games and with the highly anticipated release of Halo Wars. This decision does not reflect at all on Ensembles talent or the quality of Halo Wars. 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.

This was a fiscally-rooted decision that keeps MGS on its growth path. While the decision to dissolve Ensemble was not an easy one, Microsoft is working to place as many Ensemble employees who do not move to the newly formed studio into open positions within Microsoft as possible.

As to our overall strategy at MGS, it remains the same. We are committed to growing MGS with world-class talent both internally and with our external partners around the globe. We have recently added some well-known developers to our team and will continue growing the team. Were particularly excited about the titles we have in the pipeline and continue to evaluate additional opportunities to bring incredible games to life with the industrys best. Our investment in games has never been greater than it is today.

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