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Ensemble's unannounced projects...


Morgoth

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Gamasutra article

 

Today, Ensemble Studios closes: not as a failure, like many studios that are forced to shutter, but as a success -- something very rare in the games industry. Its Age of Empires franchise sold over 20 million units, and having gone gold, its final game, Halo Wars, will be on store shelves on March 3

 

Well done, Microsoft! :devil:

 

They included: a fantasy-adventure RPG called Sorcerer; Nova, a "Diablo in space" game; a pirate-themed take on Diablo; a game called Wrench; a Ratchet & Clank-style platformer called Bam.

 

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Most detailed was a game called Agent, with an art style and universe inspired by Pixar's The Incredibles, and using gameplay elements from Tomb Raider. As the concept art shows, the game was instantly iconic and unique.

 

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Another title was Graeme Devine's Phoenix -- an RTS game featuring earthlings versus Martians in a War of the Worlds-style conflict. The game changed over time, and would eventually become something different entirely: Halo Wars.

 

War of the Worlds RTS? I'd take that anytime over some Halo bull****.

 

But the company was moving in a single direction: the Halo MMO. It started in 1998, soon after Ultima Online came out, when a designer named Ian Fischer started pitching a sci-fi MMO. He loved the genre, and felt it was underserved -- so development started on Titan.

 

"Ours is to make a great place to work, and for the good games to come out of that." It was obvious that Ensemble lived by that mission statement. And for nearly fifteen years, Ensemble Studios achieved that goal.

 

Amen. And MS just has this habit to destroy all that hard work establishing a succesful company. Well done, Microsoft! ;)

 

Here's the rest of some artworks. Click

 

What a shame, really. I've yet to get an answer why MS decided to shut down Ensemble. RIP.

 

Shame on Microsoft.

Edited by Morgoth
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I am not impressed by their unannounced games TBH. I love and mourn ES as much as any of you, but they clearly show that both ES themselves and Microsoft had assessed that their bread-and-butter game style was no longer viable. What we see instead is a couple of actiony / platformy games that might have become anything from flops to awesomes; a couple of Diablo clones; a couple of unknowns (but again nothing like what they have done before).

 

ES have never shown the ability to do great storytelling and have not proven themselves outside the narrow Age of Empires style. That doesnt' mean that they deserved to be tanked or they would have failed at it. What I am saying is that a Microsoft bigwig with a heart of steel in the financial crisis, looking at an AOE3 that had hugely disappointing multiplayer numbers (though respectable SP sales), and maybe Halo Wars that's not turning out so hot (maybe), and a series of games that are all pokes in the dark -

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A good Diablo clone is a good Diablo clone. Why not? Just because every single studio failed to capture the excitement of the Blizzard classic doesn't mean an actual capable studio like Ensemble couldn't pull it off. And that Agent game certainly sounds cool as well. Perhaps Tony Goodman's new studio will continue working on these concepts, or perhaps they they collaborate with MS again to make a new AoE game...?

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A good Diablo clone is a good Diablo clone. Why not? Just because every single studio failed to capture the excitement of the Blizzard classic doesn't mean an actual capable studio like Ensemble couldn't pull it off. And that Agent game certainly sounds cool as well.

 

You have been bitten by a grue. Please go back four posts.

 

Perhaps Tony Goodman's new studio will continue working on these concepts, or perhaps they they collaborate with MS again to make a new AoE game...?

 

That would be nice. Anyone know what happened to Bruce Shelley and the other oldies, or did they jump before now?

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