It looks like Bonfire Studios will be continuing the Ensemble tradition of having developers blogs on the studios website. You can catch the first blogs here: http://www.bonfire-studios.com/blog/ which are regarding Halo Wars controls.
Stay tuned for more blog updates! Its great to see that post-Ensemble studios are continuing to provide fans with blogs and I hope they continue.
The first Halo Wars Universe expanded video is no online at halowars.com it discusses the storyline of Halo Wars and how it relates to some of the novels and the Halo FPS games.
Robot is poised to resume Age Community moderation in March following the transition period from Ensemble Studios into Robot Entertainment. It is expected a moderator from Robot will make a post to the community informing everyone what the plans are. Robot has reported that the support for Age will be no less than it was when under the Ensemble Studios moderation.
Good news for fans!
Aloysius, community manager at Robot Entertainment has now confirmed that Robot is offcially taking over the Age of Empires 3 community and that support will be the same as that under Ensemble Studios. You can read the announcement below along with a direct link:
I’m Aloysius and I’m the Community Manager at Robot Entertainment.
We’ll be taking the baton from Ensemble Studios for Age3 community and customer support.
We’ll be providing the same level of support that Ensemble always has, so expect a bigger presence on the forums.
A couple questions that I know a lot of people are asking:
Q: Are you taking the ESO servers down?
A: There are no plans to, and in fact we have been doing hardware and software upgrades to the servers so that they are even more stable, so you guys can keep on playing.
Q: Can you make a fan-made patch official?
A: Unfortunately that cannot take place due to legal reasons. A Robot made patch may eventually come out, but there is no date set for that yet.
Tomorrow Halo Wars will be released across Europe and Ensemble’s last game will be revealed to the masses. Its going to be a great ride playing Halo Wars campaigns, skirmishes and of course LIVE matchmaking. Remember Ensemble wishes you good luck and to have fun. This is the last game from Ensemble and it is dedicated to the fans which have supported them for over 12 years. Be sure to watch the credits for a reminder of the great team which worked on this game for four long years.
Hats off to them.
My gamertag is “deanparkr” and I hope to see fellow fans on Xbox Live soon.
ES_Paragon has updated the Halo Wars forums with news about Graeme Devine’s Halo Wars fan fiction which can be found on his personal website. Graeme’s work was used to support the development of the game but did not make the final cut. Halo Wars fans should find this interesting as additional support for the Halo Wars story.
Check out Graeme’s Halo Wars website here: http://www.graemedevine.com/graemedevine/Spirit_of_Fire/Spirit_of_Fire.html
We also welcome Paragon for posting again!
Paragons post: http://www.halowars.com/forums/thread/481175.aspx
The Dallas Observer has done an excellent article on Stephen Rippy discussing his past and how he came to work for Ensemble Studios where he wrote music for all the “Age of” and Halo Wars games. The article continues right up until present day where Stephen is currently working with Bonfire Studios lead by his brother David Rippy.
You can read the article here: http://www.dallasobserver.com/2009-02-26/music/stephen-rippy-set-s-halo-wars-high-schore/2
You can now watch Ensemble founder Tony Goodman hand the legendary Bruce Shelley the AIAS hall of fame award. Bruce joins 11 other members in the hall of fame.
IGN has the video coverage of Tony Goodman presenting the award here: You many need to skip to 39:25.
You can also spot Tony Goodman wearing a Robot branded shirt as opposed to the sadly defunct Ensemble Studios. This may be the last we hear of Bruce Shelley for a while as he prepares to take a break and travel. Perhaps one day Bruce will return to work with his Ensemble colleagues in Bonfire and Robot but for now we wish him good luck and congratulations on his achievements and well deserved award.
Available in high definition G4tv have interviewed luminous Bruce Shelley after his AIAS awards ceremony where Mr Shelley was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his services to the gaming industry.
You can find the video interview here:
It gives some insight on Bruce’s thoughts for his future and that of Bonfire and Robot including the difficulties they may face getting a publisher on board with new ideas in this economic climate.
Reviews for Ensemble’s last game Halo Wars are starting to come in. First up we have IGN who rated Halo Wars an “Impressive” 8.4/10. IGN’s UK arm rated the game 8.2 and in Australia 9.0! In each Halo Wars received an editor’s choice award! You can read the IGN reviews here: http://uk.xbox360.ign.com/articles/955/955576p3.html
Current MetaCritic Score: 83
Great scores so far for a great game!
Brian Leahy is blogging LIVE from the DICE summit where Bruce Shelley is on stage right now discussing the Ensemble closure. You can read the blog here:
The blog brings to light more information as to why Microsoft could close down such a great studio. Some of these reasons being that the studio became too fragmented as there were more teams working on different ideas and that maybe they lost communication with Microsoft.
IGN have video footage of Bruce’s DICE talk here: http://video.ign.com/streaming/dice-2009/index.html Unfortunately at the time of writing the player is down but hopefully it will be up soon. Remember to skip to 4pm as that was the time Mr Shelley was presenting.
Gamastura’s report of Bruce’s speech can be read here: http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=22402.
It would seem that Ensemble had problems diversifying and that it created separate teams too late in the process. Bruce Shelley believes that this lead to the studio being out of sync with Microsoft. A sad speech. Though, Bruce speaks positively of new Ensemble start up studios. Robot and Bonfire.