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Microsoft: Rare, Lionhead Safe After Closures

Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft Game Studios, wants to allay fears surrounding the fates of subsidiary studios Rare and Lionhead after the publisher closed Ensemble Studios, Shadowrun developer FASA, and UNO maker Carbonated Games.

Speaking to GamesIndustry, Spencer remarked that "the work that those studios are doing [is] incredibly important to [Microsoft]." He offered additional praise for Rare, perhaps in response to recent criticism of the studio. "What studio on the planet signs up for two launch games? That's just crazy," he commented.

As for Lionhead, its Xbox 360 exclusive Fable 2 just went gold, potentially leaving the studio's future in the air. "The next Lionhead game is definitely [a Microsoft Game Studios] game," Spencer promised.

From The Chatty
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    September 26, 2008 2:28 PM

    A studio that consistently made consistently highly-rated, very high-selling games on a platform Microsoft weakly professes to support was shut down, while another that has yet to justify its industry record-breaking purchase price is assured its golden ticket is intact. Sounds good to me!

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      September 26, 2008 2:31 PM

      Sounds like somebody is a PC fanboy.

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        September 26, 2008 8:28 PM

        Quite the witty retort, now care to address the actual content in his statement?

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      September 26, 2008 2:37 PM

      The purpose of a first-party studio is not necessarily to make money.

      First-party studios are meant to do two things. One is to push the envelope of the platform, the other is to fill gaps in the lineup.

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        September 26, 2008 2:39 PM

        Well they now have a pretty big gap in their PC lineup. You could call that gap "the lack of a PC lineup."

        I guess they still have Flight Simulator.

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          September 26, 2008 2:54 PM


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            September 26, 2008 2:59 PM

            Yep. I indicated as much in my initial post. It saddens me even though it's more than obvious :(

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          September 27, 2008 5:32 AM


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            September 27, 2008 3:58 PM

            It would seem to me that they need move of a lineup of DX10 games vs Xbox 360 games don't they? Isn't the 360 even with the RRoD the darling and Vista the ugly duckling? Where is the lineup lacking on the 360?

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        September 26, 2008 8:56 PM

        If that is the case then I think an argument can be made for both.

        At the time when all of the games that ES put out were released they did push the envelope of the platform. They looked wonderful. They ran well on most all hardware. Things pretty much just worked.

        The ES games also did a lot better job with historical context than just about every other game out there while remaining approachable by a wide variety of people. Many parents that were scared of games would not be afraid to let their kids play the Age of Empires series because they felt it did a very good job entertaining their kids while also providing some educational qualities. Not many RTS's (any other type of game either) can claim that. Total War does a better job with historical accuracy, but there is no way the audience is as broad for that as is the audience for Age of Empires. I know that there are others, but I think you would be hard pressed to find many other games that would hold the interests of a teen and that 'teach' as much as the AoE games do.

        On top of those things, the games sold very well.

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      September 26, 2008 9:43 PM

      lol, I wonder that myself. I've enjoyed every release from Ensemble, while Perfect Dark Zero is the only notable release (To me at leasts), from Rare since the Microsoft acquisition.

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      September 27, 2008 2:02 PM

      It's blindingly obvious. They need console developers to continue to compete in the market, plain and simple, and these two are their best (albeit very very weak) hope.

      Sad really, because Rare is absolutely rubbish.

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