Bonfire Studios have released another developers blog focusing on Halo Wars. This time the team discusses some ways Halo Wars players can combat the Covenant leader rush particularly when playing as Cutter and your team mate is rushing with the Prophet of Regret. Check out the new blog here:
Quick update here – Gamespot have managed to hold a Q&A session with Bonfire head and ex producer at Ensemble, David Rippy. David talks about some of the things surrounding Ensemble’s closure though he much re-iterates what Bruce Shelley has said in the past that Ensemble has lost sync with the vision of its parent (Microsoft). He goes on to talk about what it is like to start an independent studio in the economic climate and how it differs from being an independent developer from an acquired developer.
A good read here: http://uk.gamespot.com/news/6206580.html
Great news for Halo, RTS and Ensemble fans as Microsoft has revealed that Halo Wars has ALREADY sold more than a million copies and has become the best selling RTS of this console generation! What a great reason to celebrate!
Outstanding job Ensemble!
This news is somewhat bittersweet as despite Halo Wars outstanding early success the studio was shut down. Hopefully Robot, Bonfire, Windstorm will have the resources they need to keep making great games.
Oh and by the way… Its not over yet, Robot is working on DLC as we speak!
Dusty Monk is the president and founder of another game studio to arise from Ensemble’s ashes. Dusty has great passion for online MMO games and worked closely with Ensemble’s Halo MMO. It is currently unknown whether Windstorm will be developing an MMO or something else all together.
You can find the studios launch site here: http://www.windstormstudios.com
As Dusty says on the website:
“For pretty much my entire life I’ve played in and worked on virtual worlds. From Islands of Kesmai on the Compuserve Information Service, to Ultima Online, to Everquest, to World of Warcraft, since I was a teenager I’ve possessed a passion for playing and participating in these realms, and dozens more. In 2008, when Microsoft closed my then employer Ensemble Studios, I saw an opportunity for something new – not just for myself, but for the genre which I love so much. Windstorm Studios is the realization of that opportunity. I bring with me close to fifteen years of professional game development experience, and have contributed to some of the best triple-A titles in the business. Furthermore, I bring a wealth of firsthand knowledge of how a top notch studio is run and maintained – taken from my tenure at one of the most respected game development houses in the industry, Ensemble Studios.”
More sad news for RTS fans as today Shacknews reports that THQ has put Big Huge Games up for sale. BHG has previously worked with Ensemble titles Age of Empires where they brought the expansion pack for Age 3 “The Asian Dynasties” in collaboration with Ensemble. As BHG were friends of Ensemble its sad to hear that they too are falling on troubled times and wish them the best of luck.
Updated: addtional sources:
Joystiq have had a quick few words with Bill Jackson the ex Producer at Ensemble Studios who has joined the Bonfire venture. He discussed briefly the last 12 months and says that despite what has happened with Ensemble “It’s actually a great time to work on innovative game designs and think about ways to change our business models to support those games.”
The full article can be read here: http://www.joystiq.com/2009/03/17/weathering-the-economic-storm-start-ups-speak-out/
Halo Wars fans who often visit the official Halo Wars community website may have noticed that as of yesterday the site had been re-branded from Ensemble Studios to Robot Entertainment. Whilst I am pleased that Robot get to make their mark its somewhat sad that the Ensemble name has been removed.
Robot Entertainment folk are working on Halo Wars DLC which I imagine will be announced in the next few weeks. It is unknown whether the DLC will completely or partially re-brand the game to Robot Entertainment. Tony Goodman’s crew are staying zipped about what the DLC is going to include. Good news is however in traditional Ensemble fashion they are actively listening to fans and players on the forums. You can catch people like Dave Pottinger and Jerome Jones who were both leads on Halo Wars browsing the forums. Just look for the Robot logo under their names.
Of course another thing we can expect soon is the launch of the Robot Entertainment website which has been displaying a splash screen for quite a while; keep checking back here by adding us to your RSS feed and we’ll let you know when it goes live.
A few other updates…
I know I’ve promised updates to the Bruce Shelley and Ben Donges blogs, I’ll try to get them up soon.
Oh, and, I’m sorry to report that ES_Paragon and ES_Solus are no longer with the Ensemble crew at Robot or Bonfire, but are pursuing other opportunities. We wish them good luck with that.
Dusty was a senior programmer for Ensemble Studios who worked on the Ensemble Halo MMO. He sure seems passionate about the MMO genre and he reveals lots of information about the project including the length of time the team were working on it – 2 years in fact. To have an insight of what Ensemble was doing between 2006-2007 have a read here:
A reminder of Titan..
In case youve forgotten or arnt aware of Ensembles Halo MMO here are some of the very early mock-up designs:
Halo fans will be pleased to hear that Graeme has updated his website with another entry expanding the Halo-verse. This time Graeme talks about what happened to the Spirit of Fire and some theories as to why it didnt return home and as such not tell the UNSC about the Flood. Read the new entry here:
As for Graeme the ex Lead Story writer at Ensemble for Halo Wars, hes currently not involved with Robot, Bonfire or any other game studio… yet. Sit back and enjoy the forthcoming Halo Verse fan fiction!
Jerome Jones the lead campaign designer on Halo Wars has his eye on things over on the Halo Wars forums. Robot’s offices are now ready and March will be the month when Robot swings into action at both AgeComm and Halo Wars.com keeping up the community torch which existed under Ensemble Studios. So if you have any problems / questions about the Halo Wars single player campaign then dont ask Sandy, ask Jerome!