Rumor: Ensemble Studios Closing? (Updated)

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Update: Looks like the rumor turned out to be true. Ensemble Studios will close after Halo Wars.

According to Shacknews, Age of Empires and Halo Wars developer, Ensemble Studios have laid off non-essential employees. Apparently, Microsoft is shutting the studio down.

Employees who’re involved with the development of Halo Wars are being given incentives for sticking around and finishing off the upcoming 2009 console RTS.

If this is true, I can’t find any reason why Microsoft would shutdown such a successful studio. Was it because they’re late with Halo Wars? Come on, they’ve delivered plenty for Microsoft in the past, though.

E3 2008: Halo Wars – RTS Works On Consoles?

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Halo set the standard for how consoles should be making first person shooters and it looks like another Halo game is going to showing the world how to make real time strategy games for our dual analog controllers.

1UP has a great live demonstration of Ensemble Studios’ (Age of Empires) upcoming Halo Wars. I gotta admit, it may just work. I had low expectations before watching, but after watching that, I’m slightly optimistic. It’s not as frantic or fast paced as StarCraft, but that doesn’t matter; it’s Halo in RTS form.

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