Ensemble dev talks on Halo Wars, canceled Halo MMO, and studio’s closure
Unless you haven’t heard, Ensemble Studios – the guys behind the Age of Empires franchise – will be closing once they finish work on Halo Wars. Dave Pottinger, Ensembles’ director of tech, says Microsoft‘s decision to close the studio “doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
Pottinger also talks about the development of Halo Wars, Microsoft in general, and the canceled Halo MMO project. Read about it after the link.
Unless you haven’t heard, Ensemble Studios – the guys behind the Age of Empires franchise – will be closing once they finish work on Halo Wars.
Dave Pottinger, Ensembles’ director of tech, said in a recent interview that Microsoft‘s decision to close the studio “doesn’t make a lot of sense”:
Um, it’s Microsoft’s right to decide where they wanna put their money. Personally we all disagree with the decision. Um, it’s Microsoft’s right to decide where they wanna put their money. Personally we all disagree with the decision.
[…] Yeah, it honestly doesn’t make a lot of sense. But that’s their prerogative.
According to Pottinger, Microsoft still has plans for the Age of Empires franchise once the studio disassembles. As for the Halo MMO project though, you might be interested to know that it was already given the green light, but after Microsoft had a reorganization, it was given the boot. Pottinger shares some more info on the never-to-be MMO project:
It was more broken up than [just factions between the Covenant and the UNSC]. The Covenant weren’t quite the Covenant yet.
That idea of that sort of stylized approach to Halo was something that we were very interested in, in terms of the art. Some of the art that leaked out wasn’t art that was actually in the game, so people were a little more torqued than they needed to be.
But it felt very Halo–we had a combat demo that felt like a very action-oriented MMO, but still had that MMO depth. So it was very analogous to the RTS that we worked on.
[… ] It was definitely more of a classic MMO, but it still had that very action feel. Definitely more actiony than WoW.
As for their current project, Halo Wars, some of you might be worried that the impending closure of the studio affected the team. Not so. Explains Pottinger:
There’s at least one studio that’s starting with a good chunk of the Ensemble people, about half. And that’s the studio that’s contracted for support for Halo Wars. So the cool thing about that is, from a buyer standpoint, Halo Wars isn’t going to just be shoved out there.
[…] Losing your job is never good, but the best thing about the team’s dedication is, we had a hundred full-time people when the announcement was made–we’ve lost three since then.
[…] Everyone at Ensemble is important, we don’t want to lose anybody. But we had feared losing 30 or 40, and I think it’s a testament to the strength of Ensemble
Via Shack News