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.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 9, 2008 1:55 PM

    How the hell could this happen? Just getting absorbed into MS or what?

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      September 9, 2008 2:00 PM

      Its happened before just look at FASA.

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        September 9, 2008 2:08 PM

        I think Microsoft is looking to get out of first party development.

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          September 9, 2008 2:43 PM

          Well, now that you mention it: No more FASA, Ensemble, Bungie, Bizarre... what will happen to Rare, Lionhead or Turn10 after their current projects are released?

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            September 9, 2008 2:48 PM

            Bizarre were never first party.

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            September 9, 2008 2:51 PM

            And they all make games that sell. Bungie were a special case too, not like MS wanted to give them up.

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              September 9, 2008 3:03 PM

              FASA had not had a successful game in years. Shadowrun was a flop (granted, due in part to MS' insistence on Vista as a requirement). I guess Mechwarrior games had stopped selling

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                September 9, 2008 3:34 PM

                Well I was referring to the devs still at MS in the first part of my post. And you have Rare, but MS seem to be in it for the long haul there at least.

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                September 9, 2008 3:56 PM

                of course the mechwarrior games quit selling. people generally dont buy games that are 8 years old. if they had actually made a NEW mechwarrior game, id certainly have bought it.

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                  September 9, 2008 4:54 PM

                  Unfortunately they do not believe there are enough of us willing to buy it.

                  Smith and Tinker might have a different idea though.

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                  September 9, 2008 7:18 PM

                  I plan on getting X-COM off Steam... that's like 15 years old.

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          September 9, 2008 2:46 PM

          Good call

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