Microsoft closing Ensemble Studios

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Reports from Gamespot confirm that Ensemble Studios, famed throughout the industry for RTS games like the Age of Empires series is closing down. Kotaku reports that Microsoft corporate VP Shane Kim broke the news to employees at Ensemble today. That confirms rumors that have been swirling around the industry the past few days. Halo Wars, a strategy game based in the well-known universe of the Halo first-person shooters, will still release but Ensemble is reportedly done after that.

With the closure of Ensemble, the MGS portfolio now consists primarily of Lionhead, which is releasing Fable 2 shortly, and Rare - responsible for the Viva Pinata franchise among others, as well as work on the new Xbox Live avatars.

The full email from Phil Spencer to staff reads as follows:

"Today, we shared with our employees at Ensemble that we have plans to close the studio after Halo Wars RTM. Such a decision is never easy. Like any business, we

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