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Bruce Shelley, developer of Age of Empires III, has once again updated his blog. This time, it includes the sad news of Ensemble Studios closing. Here's a quote:
Ensemble Studios Closing: I have mentioned with regret the closing of several quality game studios over the past several years but I never considered that ES would join the list. Everyone at our studio was shocked, and I think remains very disappointed that this is going to happen. I believe we thought we were immune to shut-down talk because our published games have done so well and have been so profitable. Plus we felt we had built a really stable (low-turnover), talented, hard-working, and creative team, which is not easy to do. We thought we were among the best studios in the world, and that may be true, but we donâ€™t fit in the future plans of MGS as an internal studio so weâ€™re out.
A senior executive of MGS addressed the studio in early September and gave us the news. He did not go into a lot of detail about why, but basically the decision, as I understand it, was based on several major factors. First, they want to divert the headcount tied up in ES and the costs that are expected to be required to run ES for the next few years into other projects. Second, it sounded like it cost more to run ES on a per person basis than other first party studios (Rare, Lionhead, Forza, Flight Sim) putting us at a disadvantage. (Plus they avoid the expense of a new office that we were planning.) And third, games those studios are expected to deliver in the next few years are expected to be more strategic and profitable to the company than anything we would be finishing after Halo Wars.
However, there is some positive news in the article. Read it here. to see it.
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