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Microsoft closes Halo Wars developer

Microsoft closes Halo Wars developer

Microsoft will close down Ensemble Studios once Halo Wars has launched.

It has been confirmed that Microsoft is closing down Ensemble Studios, the developer behind the upcoming Halo Wars game, an RTS based in the Halo universe and set as a prequel to the first Halo games.

The confirmation came to Gamespot from the owner of Ensemble Studios who acknowledged that Microsoft has chosen to close down the company for financial reasons, but that Microsoft would keep the studio open until work on the current title was complete and Halo Wars could launch.

In a statement to the press, Microsoft said that the closure "does not reflect at all on Ensemble’s talent or the quality of Halo Wars," adding that Ensemble Studios has made "invaluable contributions to the games industry with their Age of Empires and Age of Mythology games."

Microsoft too admitted that the closure was purely motivated by financial concerns.

The good news though is that a 'leadership team' from the studio will branch off and form an entirely new developer which will continue to offer support to Halo Wars after it has launched. The same group will also work on unspecified future titles.

Microsoft has pledged that it is "working to place as many Ensemble employees who do not move to the newly formed studio into open positions within Microsoft as possible."

Have you ever been let go? Are you looking forward to Halo Wars? Let us know in the forums.

9 Comments

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wuyanxu 10th September 2008, 11:52 Quote
"does not reflect at all on Ensemble’s talent or the quality of Halo Wars," and it's closing because of finance issues.... yeah right.

either going to be a rushed job or a game that don't get any support (not so much on consoles, but im sure everyone loves Halo's map packs)
TurtlePerson2 10th September 2008, 13:20 Quote
Wasn't Ensemble always pretty successful, with AoE and all?
Bluephoenix 10th September 2008, 14:33 Quote
at least microsoft isn't giving employees the boot if they have other positions that they'll fit in, unlike some companies which kick out and "maybe" hire you back after a re-interview.
Cadillac Ferd 10th September 2008, 14:49 Quote
I like how just yesterday I was reading that MS was saying this "rumor" was unfounded and untrue. Oh well, hopefully the folks at Ensemble find good homes in other companies/in other parts of MS. I'm sure Halo Wars will be fine, I doubt anyone wants their company to go out on a bad note. AoE was a decent enough series but I suppose it's hard times these days trying to sell (non-Bilzzard owned) RTS games seeing as how they (generally) translate poorly to consoles and consoles move more units now.
Demon Cleaner 10th September 2008, 15:08 Quote
I wonder if a disgruntled employee will pour hot coffee all over this game...
devdevil85 10th September 2008, 17:58 Quote
How could MS close down a studio because of financial reasons without there being a quality/control issue? MS has tons of money (hints all of the exclusives/timed exclusives for 360) and if the game wasn't producing to the quality they felt necessary then it makes sense to close the studio down and continue the game with another one that they can control who stays on the project and who doesn't, but that's my opinion and I may be way off, but that's how I am interpreting this....

I wonder if this is going to delay the RTS any longer than it already has been announced.....
Cptn-Inafinus 10th September 2008, 18:03 Quote
Ensemble developing?

This may just convince me to buy the game. I am a huge fan of AoE. I grew up (And still am) on it...
AOwpr 10th September 2008, 18:48 Quote
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God, I hope the new developer studio will still make RTS games. :( I was *SO* looking forward to their unannounced project (Age4?).
HourBeforeDawn 10th September 2008, 19:29 Quote
so wait they are closing the studio for "financial reasons" but leaving that one game development in play until it is completed, a game that once launched will probably make soooo much freaking money that their "financial reasons" would disappear??? and bring the company back out of the red but in this case not huh more money I guess to M$ and their game division then to the studio by going this route.
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