At Microsoft’s XBOX E3 event today there was some big news for Halo Wars fans. The previously announced Halo Wars 2 title, a follow up to Ensemble’s Halo Wars by 343 Industries and Creative Assembly will be landing in February 2017 and has two sweet, sweet new trailers. The Spirit of Fire is returning along with Captain Cutter and his crew. Blur Studio is also back on hand delivering the visuals. There is also an open beta which can be played right now! Not only that, but Ensemble Studios’ Halo Wars is also being re-mastered for Xbox One and Windows 10! Read more
Coming up to six years since the release of Halo Wars in 2009, Ensemble Studios final game before the studios closure, Microsoft have today announced a new sequel, Halo Wars 2. Microsoft’s 343 Industries will be working with UK based developer Creative Assembly to bring fans Halo Wars 2, taking the torch from Ensemble Studios and Robot Entertainment. Read more
Following on from our first part of Robot’s PAX Panel review we now move on from looking at the studios history to present day to looking at some of the interesting prototypes they have been working on in-between OMD2 and OMDU. For the first time we get a glimpse at some of he games that could have been from the creative minds at Robot. Read more
Some of the bots from Robot Entertainment have been hanging out at PAX Prime this weekend, hosting their very own PAX panel titled “An afternoon of fun with Robot Entertainment”. In our first part of our two part series we cover the first part of the panel which looks at Robot history including their time at Ensemble Studios and the games that lead up to Orcs Must Die! Unchained. For anyone who was in attendance there were plenty of free things being given out including a bag, poster, buttons, t-shirt, band and “Founders PAX” access to the Closed Beta. Read more
An excellent interview has been posted over at vgmonline.net featuring Stephen Rippy – “Music through the ages.” The interview covers all aspects of Stephen’s career from his time at Ensemble Studios working on Age and Halo Wars to post Ensemble work with Zynga working on Castleville. We also learn about Stephen’s new recently released album “Mainland Static”. Read more
Charles Tinney an animator at the late Ensemble Studios who worked on Halo Wars has recently started a blog about his awesome animation work with Age of Empires Online. Charles or “chazbot” Tinney has been taking care of most of the animation on AOE-O while the game was developed at Robot Entertainment.
My initial role, once the art style was finalized, was to concept and visualize the animation style that best complimented the game’s art direction. It was great pulling reference from Looney Tunes and old Disney shorts. Through animation reference, exploration, pushing, pulling, trial, error, I eventually hit a style that was wacky and exaggerated in some circumstances, and kind of an overly animated subtlety for most cases; both with an overall defined timing and spacing that melded the extreme and subtle together
Halo Wars has recently cropped up in conversation between Computer and Video Games and 343 Industries creative director Frank O’ Connor. Frank talks about Halo Wars as being ”a huge success” and rightly so as he also revealed that the Ensemble Studios developed game “beat our sales forecasts, so it was a bigger success than we expected” and that:
“It was a big critical success and it’s still the number one selling RTS on consoles this generation. In that regard it was a huge success but is the will to do a sequel there? Who knows. We could do something that works on Kinect, for example. There’s no will against it but we’re not working on it right now.” Read more
A few weeks after the shocking announcement that 343 were planning to completely shut down the Halo Wars community website, forums and stat tracking which resulted in fury from Halo Wars fans and press coverage it would appear that 343 Industries have hit the gear into reverse. Cocopjojo has today announced on the Official Halo Wars forums that 343 no longer plans to remove stat tracking and the forthcoming title update will not remove this feature from the game. Cocopjojo announced as follows: Read more
Earlier this week Cocopjojo of the Halo Wars community moderation team at 343 Industries announced that they plan to close the Halo Wars community website in its entirety as of December 15th 2010. No doubt this decision is part of Microsoft “exciting plans” for the community. Read more
Picked up on a Computerandvideogames.com interview with Bungie’s creative director Marcus Lehto today which looks back at Bungie during the Halo years and the future of the studio going forward. The interview does touch on Halo Wars and the studios thoughts about Ensemble working on the title. -
Looking back, were you happy with Microsoft’s decision to make Halo Wars? What did you think of the game, and its reception? What’s your stance on Halo spin-offs in general?
For Halo Wars I can say that we weren’t involved with it at all, but at the time we figured – and it’s still true – that if anyone would want to take a stab at a Halo RTS, Ensemble had the pedigree and talent to do it.
Ultimately, all of us were happy with how it turned out; they would have been hard pressed to do a better job at an RTS on console. Certainly elements like the cinematics – how they enriched different parts of the universe – as fans it was really cool to see that.
Would you have liked Microsoft to come to you? We’re surprised you weren’t involved with Halo Wars at all…
Well, we didn’t have any room in our schedule anyway. We had a pretty rigorous schedule to get Halo 3 out of the door, so I think Bungie has a pedigree for making those types of games, but not to the extent Ensemble did. It made a lot more sense. We were focused on getting bullets on pixels, giving people a tight, fun, action packed world, It was the right fit.
It is clear that Bungie were very pleased to have Ensemble work on Halo Wars and felt safe the studio would do a good job with the Halo IP. Halo Wars turned out to be a great game and as Marcus says they would have indeed been hard pressed to do a better job for an RTS based console.
The full interview can be found below which also contains some interesting questions and answers about Bungie’s past, present and future plans.