The closure of the Microsoft-owned Ensemble Studios came as quite a shock to many given that the developer is currently working on the sure-fire hit Halo Wars
, an RTS adaptation of Bungie's opus. Though the studio is being kept open long enough to finish the game, it seems that the news was still quite a blow for many of the staff at Ensemble.
Studio boss Bruce Shelley has finally broken the vow of silence over Ensemble employees however, outlining exactly why he thinks Ensemble was closed and what his plans are next. Apparently, although Microsoft is repositioning many Ensemble developers to other studios within Microsoft, Bruce won't be one of them.
"Everyone at our studio was shocked, and I think remains very disappointed that this is going to happen,
" said Bruce in a statement on the company site (via Kotaku
"I believe we thought we were immune to shut-down talk because our published games have done so well and have been so profitable. Plus we felt we had built a really stable (low-turnover), talented, hard-working, and creative team, which is not easy to do. We thought we were among the best studios in the world, and that may be true, but we don’t fit in the future plans of MGS as an internal studio so we’re out.
Shelley later goes on to reveal that Ensemble was, per capita, the most expensive studio that Microsoft was running and that this, combined with plans to relocate the studio to new offices, may have played a bit part in the closure.
Bruce finishes by concluding that although most studio staff will be saved, he doesn't expect to be one of them. It seems like the Age of Empires
developer has some different plans. Hmm.
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