Ensemble alums ignite Bonfire

Following Robot Entertainment reveal, more Age of Empires vets set up new Dallas, Texas-based shop.

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Before being inducted into the Academy of Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame as part of the Interactive Achievement Awards ceremony last night, Age of Empires creator Bruce Shelley delivered a retrospective on the fate of his former employer Ensemble Studios. In addition to offering key insights on what developers can do to keep their heads above water during trying times, Shelley's D.I.C.E. Summit session painted an optimistic portrait of the future, saying that Ensemble would be succeeded by a number of new development houses.

One of those studios made its debut last week, with former Ensemble head and founder Tony Goodman announcing that he and a number of other studio alumni had formed Robot Entertainment. Shelley himself announced another new shop last night, Bonfire Entertainment.

According to Bonfire's recently launched Web site, the studio was formed earlier this year by "former management-team members of Ensemble Studios." The Dallas, Texas-based shop also touts that much of the "core team" behind Ensemble's swansong Halo Wars is at work on Bonfire's first game. Details on the game were not revealed, though Bonfire did characterize it as "fast, fun, and addictive," saying that it has "a great in-depth story, combat, and gameplay."

As with Robot, Bonfire is not currently hiring. As of press time, the studio had not responded to GameSpot's requests for more information regarding specific team members or future plans.

Discussion

49 comments
tsyunami
tsyunami

woot....i hope bond fire does well enough

miroman
miroman

Age of Empires III and its expansions are definetly the best games i have ever played. The only other RTS games that come close are Age of Empires I and II and Rise of Nations. AoE III Asian Dynasties was created by Big Huge Games and Ensemble. R.I.P Ensemble Studios and screw microsoft for shutting it down

gameking5000
gameking5000

We don't normally see this happening. But full credit for doing th

LucASPrime
LucASPrime

My eternal RESPECT 2 Ensemble Studios!They were the ones to allow us to win battles lost in the darkness of Ages and turn the tide of history.They made us generals and chieftains,kings and emperors,shoguns and warchiefs.I knew it was coming...My only hope is that Robot and Bonfire shall continue their legacy...We the fans will never forget them!

dubb55
dubb55

Big AOE fan bought them all hope they go to Ps3 Im all in,,,

BuyTheLie
BuyTheLie

wo Ensemble closed so viva pinata can live.wait why cant they just start up Ensemble since microsoft just killed it and you cant own why you killed

Vampiro_HuntT3R
Vampiro_HuntT3R

What? Are you kidding me? Death of Ensemble? No way! I hate Microsoft now! Those !d!0ts. The chances of new AOE have reduced to just 1%. Man! this is bad. I really wanted another AOE. And who was that ****** who said something about Ensemble being a failed company, eh? Man! It just shows how ignorant you are about games. You do know why there are PC gamers out there? I will tell you.. Because we love RTS. No console can challenge PC onto that one. PC owns every console when it comes to RTS. Yeah, in near future they might do something and blah blah blah. But everyone knows that PC is the King when we are talking about RTS. And I have played AOE 2 for 7 years now. Most of the times in Multi-player mode. I think AOE was the masterpiece. It's the best RTS game ever made. When I Say BEST, I mean it. No other game can beat it. They should have just kept themselves to the "Sword shield and Bow" ages. Going onto guns ages doesn't suit them. Rise of Nation is best when it comes to the "Tanks and F-16s" and all that. But these people have stopped production of both these best games. Anyway. Since we don't have a say in this, I will just think that "Best is not the name of the company, it's the people who work there". So, even if Ensemble name will no longer stay here, it's creators are still out there..under some other name. Lets hope they do make something good..Something that we want from them.

sj_nehama
sj_nehama

Ensemble did not fail. MS shut it down to focus on console dev only. the two new studios will do okay. I do not own a XBOX, i own a PS3 but i know Halo series rock. I have played every age of (...) from ensemble, and i tell you, if these two new studios make something for the PC or the PS3, i will buy it and give it a try. I can afford to play their games with even a 0-rating by gamespot and whatnot.

shawn7324
shawn7324

smghottie " Lets see how the games turn out. Two new developers stem from a failed development company and we assume they'll do okay?" Apparently you haven't a clue what you talking about as Ensemble Studios wasn't a failed developer, have your ever heard of Age Of Empires or Age Of Mythology??? Both awesome & profitable series.

BelzebuVlad
BelzebuVlad

Bring us the remarkable games that are not being produced now. "Bring us the relics"!!!

maverick_76
maverick_76

I wish these guys the best, hopefully they will help the Dallas area game developer economy like I.D. has done. There definitely is a rich talent pool as well, with us being the second largest telecom/technology corridor in the country.

Stealthgyro
Stealthgyro

@Vexx88 "Question what was the name of FASA's new studio?" Smith & Tinker

Vexx88
Vexx88

Question what was the name of FASA's new studio? I need to see if they are making Mechwarrior 5 :P

BaTmAnX92
BaTmAnX92

@smghottie Ensemble didn't fail really.......Microsoft did for shutting down an awesome RTS maker. Although I do wish they were reforming under one company, but I'm sure both will do just fine. I can't wait to see what both companies have to offer in the future.

smghottie
smghottie

Lets see how the games turn out. Two new developers stem from a failed development company and we assume they'll do okay?

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

joeoct17 Posted Feb 21, 2009 6:01 pm CT cant wait for their first game to come out. They should go digital with their initial releases. It'll save them in software expenses and introduce them to a potentially greater audience. I'm just saying if I were them that's what I would do.. They've got the potential of digital distribution through steam, xbox live, PSN, Wii virtual arcade why not? As for not having internet try some free WI-FI hotspots in places like Starbucks, Corner Bakery, and Panera Bread to name a few I'm sure there are more. Plus you can get something to eat while you're at it.

24k_Solid_Gold
24k_Solid_Gold

Yay! :) Another Pheonix from the ashes eh? Bestof luck Bonfire, and Robot.

Ra-Devil
Ra-Devil

Well I wish them the best of luck. It seems these days that if a studio isn't being closed for bankruptcy, it's being shut down by their owners... kinda sucks.

joeoct17
joeoct17

cant wait for their first game to come out.

roflmuffins8
roflmuffins8

I have no doubt that both studios will produce some great games in the next few years to come. Ensemble may be dead financially-wise, but the spirit of their staff lives on!

Phoenix534
Phoenix534

@ Sticboy Bungie may not be owned by Microsoft, but Halo is.It was part of the deal. Microsoft gets Halo and Bungie becomes independent.

SaintJimmmy
SaintJimmmy

Im deftinally very pleased with this it was terrible to see the creators of one of my fav rts's from back in the day gone I wish Bonfire the Studios The Best of Luck

Ozzza
Ozzza

I hope one of the new studios will revisit the medieval setting and make a new Age of Empires II with a 3D engine (under a different name and evolved of course). Or do the ancient times again, that'd be nice too.

thk123
thk123

@ Namouri Unless I am mistaken, I think Robot Entertainment (the other studio to come out of this debacle) is handling the DLC for Halo Wars.

Sticboy
Sticboy

lol! wow semaj your worse than moppyp...if you wanna tell someone off get your facts straight idk about bunjie but BUNGIE isnt owned by Microsoft...you are very far behind in updates...

semaj1403
semaj1403

Quote: Moppyp "I want halo wars 4 PS3! is dat 2 much 2 ask 4?" Quite frankly, yes. That is too much to ask for. Ensemble studios was owned by microsoft, bunjie studios is owned by microsoft, EVERY BLOODY STUDIO SEEMS TO BE OWNED BY MICROSOFT! so unfortunately there is no point in getting your hopes up.

Moppyp
Moppyp

I want halo wars 4 PS3! is dat 2 much 2 ask 4?

Namouri
Namouri

The remaining members of the ensemble team going to other studios makes me sad. Does this mean that DLC for Halo Wars isn't going to happen? Because i was hoping that down the road they would make the flood a playable race. Is it too much to hope for?

markop2003
markop2003

@Dark-Zazo Even though the Age of Empires IP is owned by M$ they coould make a sequal under a different name as they don't need an interconnecting story and they should be able to copy most of the gameplay mechanics as alot of them are similar across the RTS genre anyway. Also remember that most developers have a few ideas floating around anyway so the game they're working on could be a previously scrapped AoE, a propposed sequal or a new game that the team have always wanted to make but M$ wouldn't let them.

TzarStefan
TzarStefan

Does this mean that will se another age of empires game ?

azizrulez
azizrulez

i hope either of the two developers or both of them in collaboration can keep the AoE series alive. Anyway i would love to see some cool new IP's from these guys as well,a new genre perhaps.

Pete5506
Pete5506

I hope they do well, I wish them luck

RitterXplode
RitterXplode

I SO agree with HeadrockBeats. Good luck Robot E and Bonfire, I'll look forward to your products!

Arlondiluthel
Arlondiluthel

to clarify on my previous post: The console arena is starting to get a little crowded. And unfortunately EA and Activision/Blizzard gobbling up smallers companies left and right does NOT help alleviate the dilemma. I think that the gaming industry will come out of the current economic situation more streamlined and better than ever!

Arlondiluthel
Arlondiluthel

Templar_Bladema: No, thankfully, you do not have to pick a side, because they're made from one company's former employees! Unless both (unwisely) decide to jump into the console arena, with each one backing a different console.

NuKkU
NuKkU

Good Good i was mad that M$ released Ensemble i mean there games are AWESOME

TurambarGS
TurambarGS

Great news - at least they're not going away from the industry or retiring or anything like that. Loved the Age series, so hopefully both studios can give us some great games.

dark-zazo
dark-zazo

@ cheesytaco69 None will make Age of Empires, it's not their IP, it's M$. It's a shame though...

Templar_Bladema
Templar_Bladema

TWO STUDIOS FROM TWO GROUPS OF ENSEMBLE ALUMI?! Do I have to pick a side?

wallynation
wallynation

If ensemble made good games then just see what TWO ensembles will make!

Flipyap28
Flipyap28

Good luck to them, I wonder if they will get good halo wars sales over 2 million downloads, with reviews of 9/10 by new reviewers. Although GS gave it a 6.5, very mixed actions, but anyway, hope they make some great new games

Anthony9000
Anthony9000

wow bonfire studios looks like it was already open for awhile, by looking at how advanced the website for it already is. Robot entertainment looks like it was made yesterday.