Microsoft Says Age Of Empires Is Still Kicking

Microsoft Says Age Of Empires Is Still Kicking

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Microsoft has pulled the plug on Ensemble Studios but the company says that doesn't mean the Age of Empires franchise is dead and buried.

Microsoft confirmed yesterday that Ensemble Studios, best known for the Age of Empires and Age of Mythology series of RTS games, would be closed after the completion of its latest effort, Halo Wars. Despite words about the studio's "invaluable contributions to the game industry" and statements that Halo Wars is "on track to being a fantastic game," Microsoft's Shane Kim said the studio was being shuttered for financial reasons "that keeps MGS [Microsoft Game Studios] on its growth path."

But a Gamerscore Blog post by Games For Windows Director Kevin Unangst promised that the end of Ensemble doesn't mean the end of Age of Empires. "As many of you have heard, Ensemble Studios will be closing after Halo Wars is complete," he wrote. "If you're a PC gamer, you've likely played some version of Age of Empires somewhere along the line. I want to reassure you that Microsoft will still own the Age of Empires intellectual property.

"As a company, we're very excited about the future potential for Age of Empires, and as a PC gamer I'm looking forward to what the future holds,"he continued. "Stay tuned."

It's not exactly an iron-clad promise of more Age of Empires, but the implication is pretty strong. Of course, the obvious question is, if Microsoft does have plans for the franchise, why can the very studio that originated the game and made it a success? And where's the love for Age of Mythology?

via: Gamasutra

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Ten bucks says they make Age of Empires:Halo

They think the fact that Age of Empires is in the unscrupulous claws of Microsoft puts me at ease? I understand that Ensemble was bought by Microsoft, but given what the industry tends to do to franchises, I see no reason to believe that MS would produce a decent AoE.

I have spent the last thirty minuets trying to write a response to this that does my feeling justice... and I cannot.

Perhaps its all the bile of seeing publishers liquidate a respected developer then hand their IP to another group who fail miserably, usually killing of the game.

I mean, if you take Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, nay, if you SHOT Tolkien then gave his work to another author... say, even a respected one, its not going to be Lord of the Rings anymore. It might be good, The new author might do a great job in reworking it, or he might fuck it up. An with the knowledge that he came into the IP after the original author was murdered, the odds of him fucking it up are greatly increased.

And if a publisher hands the IP to a developer unsuited to the creation of an RTS? It's akin to taking a fisherman and giving him a farmers hoe. He's a fisherman for goods sake; he doesn't know how to farm. Sure the fisherman can learn how to farm, but can he do it before the release deadline?

And will the crop be as fruitful?

I think id be angrier about this, but i have the felling that if MS didnt buy them up, they'd have been sucked up by EA in there ever lasting hunger for game companies.

Wow Microsoft is a bunch of stupid fuckers.

Ensemble was the best thing Microsoft had and they're killing it?
(btw Rooster Cogburn John Wayne FTW)

You guys sum up my feelings so well. I never thought I would react so harshly to injustice like this, but AoE/M is my favorite series of all time, and Ensemble my favorite developer. It's heartbreaking to see them go out in such an undignified and wasteful way.

"Talk low, talk slow, and don't talk too much." -John Wayne to Micheal Caine

God dammit...... Microsuck need to be purged.... With Fire, lots and lots of fire

smallharmlesskitten:
God dammit...... Microsuck need to be purged.... With Fire, lots and lots of fire

amen

Sorry to rain on the parade, but Ensemble has been going down the crapper since they released Age of Empires 2 (and the expansion), which were pretty much the pinnacle of RTS development. Their subsequent games were just not as good, and progressively getting worse (Age of Mythology and AoE3, I'm looking at you).

Entropy often effects successful successful game developers like no other companies. Either the best minds leave to do their own thing, or they grow bigger and bigger and dilute the magic that made them great in the first place. I would imagine that Ensemble was working on multiple projects internally beyond Halo Wars, and they were all canceled for being too big and over budget, leading to the end of the studio.

I would hope that the new studio Microsoft is forming from the remnants is taking the best and brightest from Ensemble and putting them in a position where they can do something great again.

But a Gamerscore Blog post by Games For Windows Director Kevin Unangst promised that the end of Ensemble doesn't mean the end of Age of Empires. "As many of you have heard, Ensemble Studios will be closing after Halo Wars is complete," he wrote. "If you're a PC gamer, you've likely played some version of Age of Empires somewhere along the line. I want to reassure you that Microsoft will still own the Age of Empires intellectual property.

Un-angst? What a name, hehe.

As for Ensemble, I think I can agree with the downward turn in quality in their later efforts, I mean, AoE3 wasn't bad by any measure...but by that point they'd lost...something, I can't explain it. Same with AoM, I mean, they could have had a really good excellent RTS there with an epic story, but it all kind of comes out rather like Titanquest's plot, okay, but not great.

I have a higher opinion of Microsoft than many people, so I am not going to cry "Oh, AOE4 is going to suck because it will be developed in-house!"

But Microsoft had better take care of my most beloved franchise. When they do make AOE4, they should try to re-assemble as much of Ensemble as possible, and keep the flavor as much as possible (excluding changes needing to update it to whenever AOE4 is set, probably the World Wars).

Yeah, AoE 3 wasn't too great, Maybe things will change. Although, I highly doubt it.

I confess that the campaign in AoE 3 was atrocious (I mean, really bad), and the feel of the multiplayer changed a bit. But it still led the industry imho.

Virgil:
Their subsequent games were just not as good, and progressively getting worse (Age of Mythology and AoE3, I'm looking at you).

im not even sure that deserves a reply...

AOM was an absolutly awesum game that i still play often with my buddies.
and from what ive heard from some of my buddies, AOM3 was awesum too.

As for the article, atm there is a mix of hatred and sadness, sadness for losing a great games company, and angry (even more so) at microsoft.
Im not a PS3 fanboy (actually i own a 360) but i think Microsoft should just go bak o making computers, maybe even other electronics (annoy sony that way) but they should stop fucking up the games industry...there, im done...

 

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