Microsoft today announced an agreement to acquire Ensemble Studios, the game development studio that created the popular Age of Empires real-time strategy game series. Under terms of the agreement, Ensemble will continue to develop games in its Dallas offices. Ensemble will be the latest in a series of recent acquisitions by Microsoft, including Fasa Interactive, creator of the MechWarrior series; Access Software, creators of Links golf game series; and Bungie Software, the studio that created Oni, the Marathon series, and the Myth series and is currently developing the 3D action game Halo.
Both companies praised the agreement. "This announcement today is a natural evolution from the relationship we've had with Microsoft," said Tony Goodman, president and CEO of Ensemble Studios. "Both companies have tremendous respect for each other. This deal gives Ensemble and Microsoft a long-term strategy for doing what we do best: working together to make world-class games."
Stuart Moulder, general manager of the games division at Microsoft, added, "We are thrilled to bring Ensemble Studios under the Microsoft banner. The depth of talent and the leadership of Tony Goodman is a winning combination, and this acquisition will help strengthen our mutual commitment to remaining a PC games industry leader."
Microsoft also revealed that it will publish Ensemble's next real-time strategy game, Age of Mythology, which will feature a new proprietary 3D engine with advanced visual effects. The game will be a branch of the Age of Empires game series, which has sold more than 8 million copies worldwide. Age of Mythology will feature three playable civilizations--the ancient Greeks, the Norse, and the Egyptians--and it will include gods, heroes, and a variety of mythological creatures. To find out more about the game, take a look at our previous coverage . To learn more about Ensemble Studios, visit the official company Web site.