Ensemble says good-bye

While studio closures are becoming depressingly common, few of the outfits to be shuttered have carried with them the pedigree of Ensemble Studios. Known for its tremendously successful real-time strategy series Age of Empires, Ensemble Studios has been living on borrowed time since September, when...

While studio closures are becoming depressingly common, few of the outfits to be shuttered have carried with them the pedigree of Ensemble Studios. Known for its tremendously successful real-time strategy series Age of Empires, Ensemble Studios has been living on borrowed time since September, when Microsoft confirmed it would be closing the developer after it had completed work on the Xbox 360-exclusive Halo Wars.

At the time, Age of Empires creator Bruce Shelley blogged on the studio's official Web site about the team's reaction to the news and revealed that a number of core Ensemble developers (sans Shelley) would be striking out to form their own new company. Now in what he expects to be the site's final blog entry, Shelley said that isn't the only potential phoenix rising from the Ensemble ashes.

"There are at least two new studios being formed by ES employees and I expect both to do very well," Shelley wrote. "There were a lot of outstanding game developers here and it will be interesting to see how and what they do, both individually and as new groups, in the years ahead."

In the rest of the post, Shelley updated readers about Halo Wars' plans and ongoing support for Age of Empires and shared a peek at the developer's bittersweet party to celebrate the completion of its final game.

"It is hard to believe that the day has finally come when Ensemble Studios closes its doors and we move on to whatever is next," Shelley said, adding, "It is worth mentioning that about 60 percent of the people who worked on Age of Empires I were with the studio to the end. And it was a really special group of people who pulled together for the long hours and hard work to finish our last game to our standards."

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Discussion

380 comments
valttu
valttu

Wow... I got shivers when I read this. I was never a huge fan of Ensemble but I know that they made some legendary games... R.I.P!!!

SquareEnixFan13
SquareEnixFan13

This sucks. In all seriousness, this truly sucks. I love the Age of Empires series very much, but I suppose we should all be glad we got several great games before the company was closed. Goodbye and we'll miss you Ensemble.

alosborne
alosborne

AOE III was one of my first RTS games. Goodbye Ensemble you will be missed.

Crazy_Guns
Crazy_Guns

Sad to see you go Ensemble, we love you! The first Age of Empires was one of my favorite games when I was younger, used to play it on the LAN with my dad all the time. Best wishes for a happy and prosperous future!

Omega189
Omega189

The first two Age of Empires were great. I never played the 3rd, but I'm unhappy that they've closed anyway.

Megaship
Megaship

NO!!! I can't believe this! Not this company too! :(

jason19
jason19

well i hope halo good end i like the downlond look good but keed good work next build halo 4 pls come on

jameslee1997
jameslee1997

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

NPSage
NPSage

I loved the the Halo Wars demo. MS you're an idiot for giving these guys up. Finally a dev finds a way to put an good RTS on a console and you get rid of them?

Oblivionic
Oblivionic

Sad :( AoE was my first rts game It was excellent by its time. AoE II was solid multiplayer rts game and AoM was great. I dont like AoE III as previous AoE games but it is solid rts game too

d_kell411
d_kell411

I honestly thought the demo was amazingly fun, I've been playing skirmish for like 2 days now, on one map with one faction...I can only imagine what the final product will be like. Ensemble is the most prestigious and best known RTS specific company in the industry. (Excluding Westwood and Blizzard) Their Age of Empires franchise marked the dawn of a new genre and I'll miss Ensemble's creations greatly. Microsoft...Ensemble was doing fine until you bought them. But no worries, they'll come back and give Microsoft Games a run for their money. Ensemble's too good with Real Time Strategy to let this be the end of them.

hollow56771
hollow56771

this is like if Microsoft closes Bungie down takes the Halo franchise with them thank god that dosent happen! Ensemble will be missed lets just hope AOE will still do good

zallo
zallo

Goodbye Ensemble you will be missed.........man this is almost as sad as it would be if valve shut down *shudder*

sonictank
sonictank

Thankyou for all the great games you have and i hope when you guys get to the new studios you give us more great games. R.I.P ensamble

tbolt_88
tbolt_88

At least they go out with a bang since just from playing the demo it seems Halo Wars is one hell of a great game and a lot of fun and im not even typically a fan of RTS.

ckat609
ckat609

I'm with Monkelf... I hope these new studios are the turning point for newer, fresher, greater games that will blow behemoth companies' butts away (i.e. EA)

Monkelf
Monkelf

All I can say is I hope these two studios blow up the gaming market and make a crap load of money, then dedicates a game at their peak to Microsoft for being the reason why they are so successful. That would be awesome irony. And all you people talking crap about Ensemble, you have poor taste in games and never really enjoyed a game to begin with. And all that time having friends who brag about AoE and how you should play it, but sticking to your stubborn ways never actually tried it. Shame on you for putting down such a customer service and player inspired driven studio.

TehUndeadHorror
TehUndeadHorror

=( I can't believe they're gone now... this is low... damn you Microsoft... damn you!!! I'LL NEVER LOVE AGAIN!!

gameking5000
gameking5000

I feel like crying, literally. Ensemable was a great developer, GREAT. The age of empires series, was my favourite RTS game.No more Age of empires =(

Great_Ragnarok
Great_Ragnarok

Take care ensemble! I'll never tire of pwning my noob friends at AOE and AOM! :'(

arc170pilot22
arc170pilot22

Yea, its tough based on whats happening to the world, but you see what they said, two new studios. This may mean more games and this could also men less job loss.

PepCola
PepCola

I really liked Ensemles Age of Empires games, but Halo Wars just isn't looking to be anything spectacular. I love the Halo games and books, but H-Wars just looks too old school imo..

Chaodyn5
Chaodyn5

End of an era with that. Cheers to the AoE series!

2gt6turb0
2gt6turb0

nooooooooo!!! i was waiting for Age Of Empires 4 cause ensemble studios makes cool games This is sad man :(

2gt6turb0
2gt6turb0

I Have Age of empires 2 and Age of kings and the 3 of age of empires 3 cause those games are cool cause Ensemble Studios made it... I hope to continue the company and make more games

2gt6turb0
2gt6turb0

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Hydra999
Hydra999

I can't believe that they are closing!! So much for my hopes on another AOM.

SoulTaker23
SoulTaker23

Im curious is this maybe why halo wars had been taking so long since its Esemble's final game they are trying to make it the best possible? Im not making an opinion strictly question but do feel free to ridicule me or pass me as another idiot :). Any agrees or disagrees as well?

DarkEclipse533
DarkEclipse533

Dang it i knew this would happen i wanted them to go all the way up to the present day. =(

Intrakitt
Intrakitt

Wow BloodMist, way to be a douche until the end.

JolteonEX
JolteonEX

I love the AOE series. Hearing,(or in this case reading) that ES is going to close the doors is painful. I pray that the employees who are forming new studios will do a wonderful job.

BenBenBen93
BenBenBen93

Let give them thanks for changing RTs for the better

jameslee1997
jameslee1997

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

the_gamer_wolf
the_gamer_wolf

You will never be forgotten Ensemble studios... Thank you for all the wonderful adventures across all the years. I hope your new companies prosper

chadchurchill
chadchurchill

Goodbye, Ensemble. You made some of my favorite games of all-time. I will never forget staying up until the wheeee hours of the morning building town centers and fighting Titans. Thank you. The gaming world is definitely a darker place now that you're gone.

PesmergaYuber
PesmergaYuber

It sucks that Ensemble is shutting down. Cheers guys, you know how to make fantastic games! I am excited to see what new projects they can work on under a different name... all the best!

SoulTaker23
SoulTaker23

i will indeed never stop playing age of mythology. You strived to create state of the art games no matter the circumstances i love you guys yall are the best. I will miss your great RTS games, this brings tears to my eyes.

bibliomaniac15
bibliomaniac15

Thank you, Ensemble, for 13 years of quality RTS games. I will not forget the thrill of smiting enemy bases with meteors or leading kings and warriors into battle.

raev92
raev92

R.I.P. Ensemble...

Rattlesnake_8
Rattlesnake_8

God.. why? MS... grrrrr.. Ensemble have been making awesome RTS games for years.. i still remember the original AOE. It really is a sad day.. and frustrating that MS continue to screw us. I was looking forward to future AOE games and a possible AOM2.. when games go to other developers to continue them they are never the same.. look at what happened to the C&C series since Westwood shut its doors. *sniff*

stalepretzels
stalepretzels

Ensemble: I love you guys. You will be missed.

amkalfus
amkalfus

ms is greedy... actually, money makes all people greedy... why can't people just make games that they want to play...

chibidaniel
chibidaniel

Thats horrible, if one of the new studios makes a game ill get it

5011704dc
5011704dc

Guessing no AOE4 then though it would be nice as i loved the others