The Future of Ensemble Studios

The Future of Ensemble Studios

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Though Ensemble Studios officially closed its doors yesterday, some former staff are already looking to the future, which may include the formation of two new studios and a continuing partnership with Microsoft.

With Halo Wars gold as of yesterday, Ensemble Studios has officially closed up shop. "It is hard to believe that the day has finally come when Ensemble Studios closes its doors and we move on to whatever is next," Ensemble boss Bruce Shelley wrote on his blog. "We are working our way through the final week with mixed emotions. We have a lot to be proud of and new opportunities are beckoning, but it is also sad to see this particular great adventure coming to an end."

Those "new opportunities" may come in the form of new studios founded by ex-Ensemble staffers. "There are at least two new studios being formed by ES employees and I expect both to do very well," Shelley said. "There were a lot of outstanding game developers here and it will be interesting to see how and what they do, both individually and as new groups, in the years ahead." Note that Shelley makes sure to say "at least," suggesting that there may be more than the two he's talking about here.

Aside from those studios, Microsoft will be keeping a select group of Ensemble employees to form a new company that will work on supporting Ensemble's games past and present, including Age of Empires titles and Halo Wars. Regarding Halo Wars specifically, it seems that the new Ensemble studio should have plenty to work on. Microsoft Game Studios' Jason Pace, the lead producer of the game, remarked that there are "dozens and dozens" of features that were left on the cutting room floor, and "those things without mentioning anything specific, are always the kinds of things that we would be looking at to enhance the game moving forward."

Once that's out of the way, does Microsoft plan on jettisoning Ensemble 2.0? "I can tell you right now that we are really interesting in continuing our relationship with Ensemble," Pace said. "We don't have anything finalised that I can discuss, but certainly that is something we'd love to continue if possible." Pace also remarked that Microsoft's "very excited about the future potential" of Age of Empires, so, another AoE with the new Ensemble studio or maybe even one of the Ensemble offshoots? Only time will tell.

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"Closed" all they are doing is cutting there high salary big shots in the form of "Shuting down the studio".

Only the name is going away. Being a microsft company it's simply dissolving for now to be later reformed under something else.

true, still, i'll miss the name

dogstile:
true, still, i'll miss the name

Oh boo hoo, Ensemble was never that good a name anyway. Conjured up images of a Choir.

Indigo_Dingo:

dogstile:
true, still, i'll miss the name

Oh boo hoo, Ensemble was never that good a name anyway. Conjured up images of a Choir.

It could conjure worse images than Choir (with a capital "c"?), like a pile of dog crap (Naughty Dog) or a vague amalgamation of spheres (Media Molecule). Anyway . . .

Keane Ng:

With Halo Wars gold as of yesterday

According to the official site Halo Wars went gold a week ago yesterday (and so we're clear I'm typing this at 1:00 AM January 31).

Eldritch Warlord:

Indigo_Dingo:

dogstile:
true, still, i'll miss the name

Oh boo hoo, Ensemble was never that good a name anyway. Conjured up images of a Choir.

It could conjure worse images than Choir (with a capital "c"?), like a pile of dog crap (Naughty Dog) or a vague amalgamation of spheres (Media Molecule). Anyway . . .

I had typed Australian Youth Choir, and then decided it could be applied to any choir. And yours more sounds like a product of your mind more than the names themselves.

And I think its kinda bad that its already gone Gold, considering it hasn't actually been determined if its playable. When reviewers don't have copies ahead of release, its a sign of something.

Does this mean no DLC for Halo Wars?

CountFenring:
Does this mean no DLC for Halo Wars?

Dunno, can companies not connected to the original product supply DLC for it? Whats the rules there?

CountFenring:
Does this mean no DLC for Halo Wars?

No, one of Ensemble's successors will handle DLC and sequels.

Indigo_Dingo:

And I think its kinda bad that its already gone Gold, considering it hasn't actually been determined if its playable. When reviewers don't have copies ahead of release, its a sign of something.

The game can't be distributed to reviewers until it has gone gold. The actual release is still a month away.

Eldritch Warlord:

CountFenring:
Does this mean no DLC for Halo Wars?

No, one of Ensemble's successors will handle DLC and sequels.

Indigo_Dingo:

And I think its kinda bad that its already gone Gold, considering it hasn't actually been determined if its playable. When reviewers don't have copies ahead of release, its a sign of something.

The game can't be distributed to reviewers until it has gone gold. The actual release is still a month away.

Oh. I thought gold was indicative of the number of people who had pre-ordered it, i.e. enough to give it a gold status.

Indigo_Dingo:

dogstile:
true, still, i'll miss the name

Oh boo hoo, Ensemble was never that good a name anyway. Conjured up images of a Choir.

no need for sarcasm, i like the name, you don't

stainless steel studios? anyone remember them? did the first empire earth game? you know before the empire earth game went crap?

but im sure Ensemble studios will live on through other companies, no doubt, with great games like age of mythology, and age of empires under thier belt, im expecting more rather awesome games from their descending company

Echo42:
stainless steel studios? anyone remember them? did the first empire earth game? you know before the empire earth game went crap?

I only ever played number 2, was the first better?

Anyway if all this bloils down to is remaking Ensemble Studios then whats the point?

Knight Templar:

Anyway if all this bloils down to is remaking Ensemble Studios then whats the point?

Paycuts and layoffs without those pesky paycut and layoff statistics.

Pity, I always liked Ensemble.
I look forward to the new games from these two new studios.

 

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