September 9, 2008

Microsoft to Close Ensemble Studios

Rumors earlier today had been speculating that Microsoft was gearing up to close Ensemble Studios after the completion of Halo Wars, the upcoming RTS for the Xbox 360. Gamespot now reports that the rumors are indeed true and Ensemble will be closed following the release of Halo Wars. Ensemble was also the developer behind the Age of Empires series.

"'The team at Ensemble has made invaluable contributions to the games industry with their Age of Empires and Age of Mythology games and with the highly anticipated release of Halo Wars," the publisher said in a statement. "This decision does not reflect at all on Ensemble’s talent or the quality of Halo Wars--in fact, many people who have had a chance to test drive Halo Wars agree that it is on track to being a fantastic game.'"

As for the support of Halo Wars post-launch, Microsoft has stated that it will continue. The "leadership team" from Ensemble will create a new team and continue to support the game. As for the reason for closure, 

""This was a fiscally rooted decision that keeps MGS on its growth path. While the decision to dissolve Ensemble was not an easy one, Microsoft is working to place as many Ensemble employees who do not move to the newly formed studio into open positions within Microsoft as possible."" (via Gamespot).

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