Microsoft Starting New Studio for Halo Wars Staff

Microsoft Starting New Studio for Halo Wars Staff

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The Halo Wars lead developer has confirmed that Microsoft is creating another studio for the former employees of Ensemble Studios.

"There's a new studio forming that will rise from Ensemble," announced Graeme Devine, the Lead Designer for Ensemble's last project, the Halo real-time strategy game Halo Wars. "They haven't announced specific plans, so I can't comment on that."

News that survivors of the imminent Ensemble closure will be taken care of by Microsoft is reassuring at a time when the job market for all industries is tightening. Some developers have decided to fend for themselves, starting their own companies in hopes of continuing to develop games for a living. Until plans are finalized, Devine and team are concentrating on developing the best console RTS in history.

"Microsoft is looking at people to find them homes, but frankly right now we're just focusing on finishing the darn game and making sure that's job number one," stated Devine. "I don't think anyone has really thought much beyond that yet. Let's get Halo Wars finished. In this industry, you're only as good as your last game."

Source: Videogamer

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I'm sure I'll get lynched for this, but...bravo, Microsoft.

It's not like they had much of a choice.

I'm sure they weren't wanting to deal with a crowd of people wondering where their jobs went.

Nnw

Microsoft wanted to ditch the old studio, renegotiate, and pay them less money.

axia777:
Microsoft wanted to ditch the old studio, renegotiate, and pay them less money.

What a quirky thing to do. I was going to ask a string of questions trying to get to the bottom of all this- thanks for saving me the trouble.

I miss ES already.

Rooster Cogburn:

axia777:
Microsoft wanted to ditch the old studio, renegotiate, and pay them less money.

What a quirky thing to do. I was going to ask a string of questions trying to get to the bottom of all this- thanks for saving me the trouble.

I miss ES already.

It is only a theory but it is the only one that makes any sense to me. But it is better than being out of a job I suppose.

Maybe it's like in a band when you want to kick someone out but you can't go through with it, so the whole band breaks up and reforms without the undesirable musician? Check the staff list to see who the undesirables were.

I don't understand why they couldn't just downsize Ensemble then? I mean, this new studio sounds like it'll just be Ensemble minus a few. Wouldn't it have been easier to fire a bunch of people and then tell the rest "hey, you'll take a paycut if you know what's good for you."

They probably wanted to renegotiate the studios rights to their Intellectual Property. Remember when Bungie 'broke up' with Microsoft when they didn't want to make more Halo...

Durrrrrrrrrr. No shit they were going to do this. I told a buddy a mine when he asked why on earth they were closing down a month ago exactly this. Company has a bunch of senior developers who there paying big bucks, they "Close" up shop, keep the ones they really really want, ditch the rest and reform with fresh blood.

This is literally no surprise at all.

Why don't they downsize? Well see it depends on how many people they wanted to keep. If you got 50 employees and you want to cut 40 of them and replace them with cheap fresh ones, do you downsize or close up shop? It's a lot easier to say your company is "Closing" and they simply make a new one and it also looks better on paper.

SirSchmoopy:
Durrrrrrrrrr. No shit they were going to do this. I told a buddy a mine when he asked why on earth they were closing down a month ago exactly this. Company has a bunch of senior developers who there paying big bucks, they "Close" up shop, keep the ones they really really want, ditch the rest and reform with fresh blood.

This is literally no surprise at all.

Why don't they downsize? Well see it depends on how many people they wanted to keep. If you got 50 employees and you want to cut 40 of them and replace them with cheap fresh ones, do you downsize or close up shop? It's a lot easier to say your company is "Closing" and they simply make a new one and it also looks better on paper.

I can't be sure but I think closing the company down reduces or eliminates the amount of severance they have to pay to older employee's as well. It's a classic corporate move with a pretty PR spin, nothing new.

Also there are laws preventing "firing" people simply because they have seniority and get better pay, you need a REASON to fire them, and to downsize you need to provide financial cause. Shutting down the studio requires none of these.

HobbesMkii:
I don't understand why they couldn't just downsize Ensemble then? I mean, this new studio sounds like it'll just be Ensemble minus a few. Wouldn't it have been easier to fire a bunch of people and then tell the rest "hey, you'll take a paycut if you know what's good for you."

More likely that the acting heads of Ensemble wanted to go in a different direction (like not making a console RTS), so Microsoft pulled the plug on the studios, and hired back the people who were too scared to question them.

TsunamiWombat:

SirSchmoopy:
Durrrrrrrrrr. No shit they were going to do this. I told a buddy a mine when he asked why on earth they were closing down a month ago exactly this. Company has a bunch of senior developers who there paying big bucks, they "Close" up shop, keep the ones they really really want, ditch the rest and reform with fresh blood.

This is literally no surprise at all.

Why don't they downsize? Well see it depends on how many people they wanted to keep. If you got 50 employees and you want to cut 40 of them and replace them with cheap fresh ones, do you downsize or close up shop? It's a lot easier to say your company is "Closing" and they simply make a new one and it also looks better on paper.

I can't be sure but I think closing the company down reduces or eliminates the amount of severance they have to pay to older employee's as well. It's a classic corporate move with a pretty PR spin, nothing new.

Also there are laws preventing "firing" people simply because they have seniority and get better pay, you need a REASON to fire them, and to downsize you need to provide financial cause. Shutting down the studio requires none of these.

I'm not sure about this, I think it depends on the economic health of the company itself. If it is doing well enough at its close then it must actively give severance benefits to its employee's, at least supporting them until they can find a new job - only declaring bankruptcy allows you to cut your employees off completely. And with the costs of the mass confusion this would cause and the loss of morale.....a reorganisation of the internal struggle to make the employees you don't want redundant would be the easier and simpler option.

Does anyone here remember Halogen? The fan-made Halo mod for CnC that got foxed after several years of development, and with 2-4 months left before release? Then had salt rubbed in its wounds when Halo Wars was announced the next week?

Any of you find it interesting and/or ironic that Microsoft axed Ensemble several years into development, and 2-4 months left before release?

Indigo_Dingo:

HobbesMkii:
I don't understand why they couldn't just downsize Ensemble then? I mean, this new studio sounds like it'll just be Ensemble minus a few. Wouldn't it have been easier to fire a bunch of people and then tell the rest "hey, you'll take a paycut if you know what's good for you."

More likely that the acting heads of Ensemble wanted to go in a different direction (like not making a console RTS), so Microsoft pulled the plug on the studios, and hired back the people who were too scared to question them.

Yeah I have a sneaking suspicion it's this.

 

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