Ensemble to disassemble following Halo Wars release?

Ensemble to disassemble following Halo Wars release?
Michael French

By Michael French

September 9th 2008 at 11:01PM

Report says US studio is winding down business towards closure after franchise spin-off is released

The team working on Halo spin-off Halo Wars is to close, according to a report on Shacknews.

Multiple sources speaking to the site say Ensemble "will shut down operation following the release of its upcoming title Halo Wars".

The site adds: "According to our sources, employees not associated with Halo Wars have been laid off today. Those attached to Halo Wars have been offered incentives to stay on the project until completion."

The studio, which also developed the Age of Empires titles, is a Microsoft Game Studios team. It was founded as an independent in 1997 and bought by Microsoft in 2001.

Ensemble was one of a clutch of studios Microsoft added to its business to support the Microsoft Game Studios efforts as preparations began for the release of the original Xbox. Rare aside, other studios bought at the time have also either closed (such as FASA), been sold off and then closed (Access, renamed to Indie Built when bought by Take Two in 2004), or has divested from Microsoft (Bungie).

Is this proof that, as we say elsewhere, studio acquisitions rarely turn out for the best?