MS: Age of Empires has 'future potential'

Ensemble Studios has developed a reputation for creating consistently high-quality real-time strategy games, thanks in no small part to the success of its Age of Empires franchise. Consequently, it was grimly received this week when Microsoft confirmed that it would be closing its internal studio...

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Ensemble Studios has developed a reputation for creating consistently high-quality real-time strategy games, thanks in no small part to the success of its Age of Empires franchise. Consequently, it was grimly received this week when Microsoft confirmed that it would be closing its internal studio after Ensemble's current project, Halo Wars, ships for the Xbox 360 in early 2009.

Although Microsoft noted that the Ensemble management team intends to open a new, independent studio, the publisher made no mention of what would happen to the lucrative Age of Empires franchise. Posting to its marketing venue GamerScoreBlog today, Kevin Unangst, director of Microsoft's Games for Windows PC label, confirmed that it has retained the rights to Age of Empires.

"If you're a PC gamer, you've likely played some version of Age of Empires somewhere along the line," said Unangst. "I want to reassure you that Microsoft will still own the Age of Empires intellectual property. As a company, we're very excited about the future potential for Age of Empires, and as a PC gamer I'm looking forward to what that future holds. Stay tuned."

Ensemble released Age of Empires III to critical approbation and commercial success in 2005. Two expansion packs were subsequently added onto the game, The Warchiefs and Asian Dynasties, the first of which was developed by Ensemble and the second created by THQ-owned Big Huge Games.

Discussion

124 comments
zino5555
zino5555

so are you guys making any new age of empires or age of mythology at all this year cause i think you should it would be a good idea to make another game and you could call it: age of empires black sun or age of empires western days or age of empires: Afghanistan like be creative here we have all this good PC games out there but your guys is the best i know and i really hope you guys make another game. zino5555.

leoleez
leoleez

:'( noooo Ensemble! welll whatever, there are games still coming, and games that are lost. I wish there was a third AOE3 expansion, something encompassing Africa and Europe. Having multiple expansions allowed for alot of gameplay add ons at a constant and good rate

zacho123456
zacho123456

I just started (restarted) playing AOM Titans a few weeks ago. What a great game, more fun than most of the modern RTS games. I wish that they would make a new AOM game with updated graphics. I would agree with some of the posters below that AOE is getting long in the tooth. AOE III was ok, but the two expansions really were kind of unnecessary. Seems a really bad time for PC games in a way. Bioware has sold out to EA, microsoft broke up Ensemble and seems to care only about the x-box, and the only real innovation in pc games seems to be in MMOs, which I refuse to play. Lets hope that the new diablo and starcraft games are good. At least Blizzard has not gone console yet.

dzimm
dzimm

"I want to reassure you that Microsoft will still own the Age of Empires intellectual property. As a company, we're very excited about the future potential for Age of Empires, and as a PC gamer I'm looking forward to what that future holds. Stay tuned." Who cares about intellectual property and "potential" when they've axed the team who made the series great in the first place? Screw Microsoft.

gotenks123321
gotenks123321

It is not going to be the same if somebody else then Ensemble makes the game. Even if the new company makes the Age of Empires game a good one, it still wont have the "feel" that Ensemble could put into it.

WispOfDespair
WispOfDespair

"I want to reassure you that Microsoft will still own the Age of Empires intellectual property. As a company, we're very excited about the future potential for Age of Empires" Reassuring us would be telling us that you are putting the Age of Empires franchise back where it belongs with Ensemble. This guy is so out-of-touch with the gaming community he probably doesn't even play games himself. What a joke and what a d-bag. I hope Bruce and company form something great and show MS where to stick it.

world69star69
world69star69

They should of gave the ip to Ensemble...fu m$ you are just going to make dumbed down crap for the xbox. You don't care about pc as you get no licensing fees from it. The evidence is in that failure of an os vista, if you were more concerned with the pc side of things then xbox, vista mite actually be good. Fu ms, fu!

Iemander
Iemander

Microsoft wants to assure us that they have the Age of Empires license but none of it's programmers? What a joke!

zomglolcats
zomglolcats

"thats what they did with games like Gears of War, even PC users had to buy Live accounts." Actually, no they forced you to sign up for at least an Xbox Live Silver account, which is free.

zomglolcats
zomglolcats

"I see no one really understood what MS did to Ensemble. Basically they split it up, so some members are in a new studio and some work directly for MGS. The new studio made entirely of members from Ensemble will still be handling AOE. While the other studio will be handling Halo Wars. Nothing to be upset about really. I didn't understand it at first either but I guess it makes sense." The new Studio headed by the Ensemble leaders is an independent studio, and to the best of my knowledge, nobody has said who would be handling the AoE series. Some of the Ensemble crew might be left behind to work at MGS on a new AoE game, but the main crew behind Ensemble won't be. Read the latest news articles and interviews on Gamespot.

stoutlad
stoutlad

This makes me sick. Microsoft dissolves the studio behind AoE and AoM, but will continue to milk the franchises. I don't CARE if they have the intellectual property rights, Ensemble will always be the heart and soul behind why those games were so great. All I can see in the future is the AoE and AoM names being tarnished by some cheap third-party developer, and I'm not too excited. Microsoft can suck a hard one. Their business sense is null.

Xanzibar_Joe
Xanzibar_Joe

AOE is one of those old skool startegy games that are really awesome, but i don't see what they can really do with the series anymore. Especially since ensemble have been kicked out. They made some great games, its a shame.

ArmoredBreaker
ArmoredBreaker

HEY who the hell is this idea, AoE is for PC (play central)not for xbox 360 and...........Yeah forget about Aoe

blackmage0_15
blackmage0_15

Forget about AoE. I was done with it at the end of the second game as the third was not a whole bunch of fun for me. I'll stick with my old Empire Earth 1 till the day I die I'm afraid. If you haven't played it yet (who hasn't) then try it out, and forget about AoE. Ensemble is who made them who they were anyways.

Maimans
Maimans

I can safely say i have been with AOE since the beginning, and i have to say it taught me more history than i learnt at school, and what i didnt learn from it, it instead inspired me to go look it up myself (yes in a book) so i have to say that im glad they havent stopped it, AND MAKE A NEW AOM please, i learnt more about mythology than i ever learnt at school (lol same reason, but since when do they ever teach mythology in school, that could be an awesome class) anyhoo i got off topic, i just hope it continues, look to its beginnings if making a sequel, i dont wanna play AOE WW1, i wanna go back to having greeks stabbing yamatos and the works (elephants)

GoddBless
GoddBless

I see no one really understood what MS did to Ensemble. Basically they split it up, so some members are in a new studio and some work directly for MGS. The new studio made entirely of members from Ensemble will still be handling AOE. While the other studio will be handling Halo Wars. Nothing to be upset about really. I didn't understand it at first either but I guess it makes sense.

Louis_Armstrong
Louis_Armstrong

To BenBenBen93 Don't worry, you did not sound like a nerf at all, all the opposite. It makes me laugh you learned all that thanks to age of empires 2. Specially that part where you said "i never knew who Genghis Khan was until aoe 2." That was a good one!

EPaul
EPaul

I still cant understand why MS did what they did..............

Deathlord_32
Deathlord_32

The truly sad thing about all this is that any future AoE games will probably be released on the 360 as well and then they'll force us to buy xbox live accounts to play them. thats what they did with games like Gears of War, even PC users had to buy Live accounts.

Jair_Crawford
Jair_Crawford

All I can say is, whoever takes the series over had better not mess it up! Or maybe MS will allow ES to continue the series as a third party.

Skuttle
Skuttle

According to the back of the aoe3 box there's still modern military and the future left.

Grandpa1676
Grandpa1676

Don't give up a good thing for the PC World!! I have been a AOE's gamer since the inception and look forward to expansions to the best game for the PC gamers AOE III... After all good games are hard to find anymore for the PC users.

jogunther
jogunther

They need to bring this to 360, and please PS3 since I love it. I think they need to expand to consoles. Its owned by the big giant Microft so I guess that would crush my idea.

Hydra999
Hydra999

I wonder if they are going to make another AOE 3?

YoJim8obaJoe
YoJim8obaJoe

"I want to reassure you that Microsoft will still own the Age of Empires intellectual property. As a company, we're very excited about the future potential for Age of Empires, and as a PC gamer I'm looking forward to what that future holds. Stay tuned." oh my worries are gone now because you know the title makes the game,who needs the dev team that made it good when you have the name.Reassure my ass

asimplerapper
asimplerapper

I think that microsoft is managing all these scattered companies (Bungie, bioware to ea, ensemble studios, etc) as preperation for it's next new console. Other opinions?

rogermao
rogermao

i agree, i played aoe2 for so many yeas consistently, just cause it never got old, i didn't have the expansion either. When i got aoe3, and the 2 expansions, i didnt play for very long, and with breaks in between.....it got so boring and old.

mbashour
mbashour

just make it more like aoeii since the 3d version looked/played horribly. musketeer wars...woohoo? building 5 units as fast as one? wtf?

Sithlord
Sithlord

I hope Halo Wars sucks at retail. Console RTS's have always had a hard time breaking huge sales. Ensemble has consistently released great games, so I am sure the game itself will be great. I am just sick of EA, and M$ screwing gamers over for a bottom line. I know the economy is kind of bad, but perhaps you should not expand your studios and buy great development houses just to dissolve them. Screw you Microsoft.

GriffinLord602
GriffinLord602

Yes, I believe Age of Mythology should be brought back. I loved that more than I love the Age of Empires series, I suppose I think Mythology is slightly more interesting than playing a guy who's wearing a redcoat and tights :L LoL :P. So yes. Bring that back. Aswell as Age of Empires :P. OMG. Duo Release (H). Huge sales for whoever releases them then (H) :P.

darkenedsquire
darkenedsquire

@kingsword basic Tomb Raider is an example of how a game franchise can be given new life by a third party.

Olaoye_tw
Olaoye_tw

Microsoft, please don't be stupid.

metabolic_youth
metabolic_youth

Screwing over a successful PC franchise for a dubious console RTS strategy. You can manage to give console gamers a workable albeit inferior(to PC)FPS experience on a game controller,(largely because they don't know better)but RTS probably won't ever work on a console. Of course console gamers these days buy anything, so I may be wrong.

DuaneDog
DuaneDog

Obviously the wheels came off the wagon over there at some point. Halo Wars hopefully will be good, but it seems that deadlines have been missed and that Microsoft is probably just not happy with the way it all played out. I personally think they have underestimated Ensemble Studio as brand and how they connect with gamers and should have cleaned up whatever was wrong over there rather than scrapping the entire studio. I'm concerned Halo Wars isn't going to be hot... I've rarely seen a delayed game built by an studio getting ready to close down be AAA. Let's hope for the best!

Ninja-Hippo
Ninja-Hippo

Great_Ragnorak, i think you're wrong there. Microsoft have been one of few companies behind PC gaming. They launched the Games for Windows platform, remember? And Windows Live, and they nearly always ensure that every successful game they release on their console is also released on the PC. If anything they're looking to get more into PC gaming, not away from it. They're simply cutting costs right now by selling and closing development studios because they're not making money in their game space. It's sad for Ensemble fans, but at the end of the day they're a business and if they arent making money they have to make changes.

Lord_Artix
Lord_Artix

M$ is excited about the AoE IP? Why the f**k did they close Ensemble for then? My sentiments exactly. If AoE 4 isn't akin to God's gift to mankind (in other words, there was a damn good reason to close Ensemble and give it to someone else) then I'm done with this series.

Great_Ragnarok
Great_Ragnarok

yeah don't lie MS. this is what the future holds for aoe, EXCLUSIVE to XBOX360!!! They are trying to squeeze out games for PC and slowly turn away from PC. coz they want you to buy a PC for vista, and a console for games. PC can do any type of game better, so why abandon it?

markevens
markevens

M$ is excited about the AoE IP? Why the f**k did they close Ensemble for then? In any case, I hope the new, independant studio will do well. They better make something better than hellgate london, thats all I've got to say.

BenBenBen93
BenBenBen93

all i care about is that any of the company's MS or ES keep with the historical accuracy and more of what AoE 2 HAD i preferred AoE 2 but still liked AoE3 but didn't have enough historical stuff in it was more of a fantasy game but as long as Total war flys it's flag strong my historical taste buds will be satisfied (I Like Historical accurate game especially when you learn something knew like i never knew who Genghis Khan was until aoe 2 and didn't even know that their was a western and eastern roman empire i sound nerdy but it give me a feeling of self ecomplishment AoE games do

dj_b02us
dj_b02us

i still dont get why they closed it! AOE always made money and the titles were always solid. P.S. am i the only guy wanting age of mythology 2?

chickenfeed9
chickenfeed9

This is bad news. MS dont have a clue how to make an Age Of Empires game. The new studio should have it. Afterall, they ARE the experts, they've done it right the last 3 times (not including th fantastic expansions).

majidok
majidok

"MS: Age of Empires has 'future potential'" Oh really , didn't realize that after 20 million copies sold , thanks for noting !

SEEDman_X
SEEDman_X

I really hope that people from Ensemble can create a new studio. I agree with NinjaMunkey01, AOE is just a name, and that the substance is really what matters. Nevertheless, the closing of Big Huge and Ensemble definitely created some setback for Historical RTS

NinjaMunkey01
NinjaMunkey01

Im not worried. Those devs will probably make a similar game but with a different name. I would not worry. Either the devs will do something or MS will, or both.

kieranb2000
kieranb2000

Actually Maersyndel, it was already confirmed that MS is replacing Ensemble with a new studio, and that THEY will be supporting Halo Wars. So not much to worry about on that front.

Maersyndel
Maersyndel

Everyone is scared for AoE... I'd be more scared for Halo Wars... no matter how good(or bad) the game is it won't get any support at all. Either way, one less good game studio making games....

Yuck_Too
Yuck_Too

--stevo_360- Wow...people are on a roll today...AoE always belonged to MS

stevo_360
stevo_360

Microsoft now having the rights is hardly reassuring. It just means they have the ability to sully the name of a good series.

mattwbrad
mattwbrad

lol, that was fairly entertaining.