Bruce Shelly, the boss of Ensemble studios, has made the final blog post on the company’s website, giving a lot of information about their last game, Halo Wars, and giving quite a lot of titbits about what’s going to happen to the team. It mainly looks like they’re going to split into two, one of which will stick to the console side of things, but what about the other? Remember, this is the Age of Empires team we’re talking about. Could we be having a studio all to ourselves? Wouldn’t that be grand?
Shelley writes ‘There are at least two new studios being formed by ES employees and I expect both to do very well. 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.’ (just incase you didn’t believe me about the two studios thing), and Jason Pace told Eurogamer the other day that one of those studios will be very interested in the new console franchise’s future. Of course, though, that leaves the options for the other studio wide open.
Age of Empires is one of the finer RTS games on the PC, and it was certainly one of the staples of the beige box when I was growing up, allowing for some truly enjoyable matches against my brother, who was far more strategically minded than me. But then who needs strategy when you’ve got a hundred longbow men all lined up against him? Yeah, that’s right, England kicks arse.
I didn’t play Age of Empires 3, but it seems to have done reasonably well, and I can’t see the franchise dying just because it’s studio has split into two. Really, this isn’t so much Ensemble dying as going through mitosis. It all seems very tame when you look at it, and nothing like how it’s being perceived by the media. Yes, it’s sad that a big name in the PC business is going, but it’s really only changing that name, rather than losing it entirely.