Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘David Rippy’


Boss Fight Entertainment creating Age of Empires style RPG “Dungeon Boss”

Boss Fight Entertainment is the name of the studio whos staff are made up of the ashes of what was Zynga Dallas and originally Bonfire Studios, who were formed from the ashes of Ensemble. Phew! Thats alot of ashes and changes for these folk! The studio is lead by President and CEO, David Rippy, Chief Creative Officer, Bill Jackson, and Chief Operating Officer, Scott Winsett. All of whom are Ex-Ensemble staff. Read moreRead more


Zynga closes Dallas studios (Formerly Bonfire Studios and NewToy)

Yesterday Zynga announced the shocking news that it was closing its Zynga Dallas and Zynga With Friends studios. Prior to Zynga’s acquisition of these teams they were known as Bonfire Studios and NewToy respectively. It was not long ago back in February 2013 that Zynga’s Chief Operating Officer, David Ko announced that it was merging all of its Texas operations under a single office as part of cost cutting moves for the struggling company. Now it seems those cost cutting measures have gone even deeper resulting in the layoff of all staff from the studios formed by Ex Ensemble Studios members. Read moreRead more


Zynga acquires Bonfire Studios. Studio to become “Zynga Dallas”

Some very interesting news has just surfaced in the last hour. Bonfire Studios is no more following the acquisition from social gaming giant Zynga. You may recognise Zynga for its incredibly popular (and successful) MySpace and Facebook applications, FarmVille and Mafia Wars. It would seem as though the creative minds at Zynga recognised the talent at Bonfire with many of its staff having heritage from Ensemble Studios. Here is the press release straight from the horses mouth:

Yeehaw! We’re thrilled to announce that Zynga is moving into the world of boots and BBQ today, with the acquisition of Bonfire Studios. Bonfire Studios brings world-class talent and an impressive résumé to the Zynga team, some of their employees having created popular PC and Xbox 360 games, such as Age of Empires, Age of Mythology and Halo Wars. Read moreRead more


Ex Ensembler’s Ian Fischer, Rob Fermier and David Rippy look back

Some ex-Ensemble staff have been reminisces about the old days to some gaming websites / magazines. As always interviews and articles from Ex Ensemblites provides interesting insight into the workings of the studio and what made it a unique and special place to work – the studio lifestyle and culture.

First up we have Ian Fischer who takes us back to the original Age of Empires and Age of Kings timezone over at Ian discusses the origins of the studio and how it started off with the bright idea by Tony Goodman and some of his close friends:-

“Ensemble Studios had its roots in a consulting firm: Ensemble Corporation. One night in 1993, Tony Goodman was talking to Angelo Laundon, one of the programmers at Ensemble Corp. While discussing the buisness, one of them (neither remembers which) asked, “Wouldn’t it be more fun to make games?

and boom that was it..”

The article as written by Ian Fischer is a well worthy read of any Ensemble fan and spans four pages of in depth detail about Ensemble Studios in the early days prior to the Microsoft acquisition. You can read the excellent piece in e-magazine form over at gamesource.


In another story long timer ES’rs Rob Fermier and David Rippy talk to GameZone discussing how the recession impacted on studios like Ensemble.

Of all the studios that shut down over the last few years, the closure of Ensemble Studios was amongst the least expected. The critically acclaimed Age of Empires and Halo Wars developer had a great track record of quality games that sold well, reviewed strongly and won awards. None of that was enough to prevent its closure – former Ensemble luminary Bruce Shelley admits the company was perhaps too specialized, too expensive and had too many costly, unproduced projects. Fortunately, out of the demise of Ensemble were born several new studios, including Robot Entertainment, Bonfire Studios, Windstorm Studios and NewToy. – GameZone

David Rippy who now serves as president over at Bonfire Studios commented:

“It was really an amazing experience, I had the pleasure of working at Ensemble from day one and watched it grow from a few guys experimenting with a WinG tank demo into a really well-respected game company. Hardly anyone ever left Ensemble, so it truly felt like family. Tony Goodman (our studio head) created an environment and culture where people actually enjoyed going to work every day and even hung out on the weekends.

We had a movie theater, arcade games, pool table, gourmet food … you name it! We certainly worked hard and crunched around major milestones, but we did it because we loved the games we were making. I think most former ES-rs will remember it as a really cool place to work, a great group of people who were completely committed to the company and their craft, and hopefully some of the most rewarding years of their life.”

Rob Fermier, Robot’s Lead Programmer also waded in for comment and continues:

 “Ensemble was rare in that most of the people working there had been working together for many years, with a great deal of continuity. Being able to establish such deep working relationships with people was incredibly valuable, and we had strong bonds to each other and to the studio. I’ll most miss that sense of team that we had – a well established development process, a deep understanding in our area of expertise, and strong sense of studio identity. Such things take years to build, and once gone are lost forever.”

Read the full article and additional comment from ES people over at GameZone

Despite many Ensemble staff staying in the Dallas area some will have moved away and it is sad to remember a great studio being split up. Looking towards the future we are blessed to have the excellent talent from Ensemble Studios in four main studios – Robot, Bonfire, Windstorm and NewToy. I am sure the quality of games produced from these studios will echo the values and quality of those games developed as a team at Ensemble.

As the larger studios continue to work on thier first production projects announcements and news are just around the corner. Keep a sharp eye on these studios – great things are coming!


Gamespot interviews David Rippy. Talks about Ensemble’s closure and whats happening with Bonfire!


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:


Bonfire Studios are the 2nd studio to form out of Ensemble


Bonfire Studios is the second studio to form out of Ensemble Studios. This studio is headed up by David Rippy and the studio is formed soley of Ensemble staff. David Rippy had this to say:

“Ensemble had an incredible group of highly talented people and the companies coming out of it are really made up of the best of the best. Ensemble was one of the few studios with two A-teams,” said David Rippy, president and CEO of Bonfire Studios. “We are already working on an original IP that we’ll start talking about in the next few months.”

Another great studio to keep an eye on! It is exciting to hear that we will be seeing new IP from both studios all full of Ensemble people. That’s fantastic. Its great to see they are all landing on their feet.

The Bonfire Studios website is fully online at: which I encourage everyone to check out!


********** Question and Answers!! ****************

Ive been getting messges asking about the relationship between Robot and Bonfire and why there are two studios. Please see this rushed explanation below! I shall hope to get more info soon!

As Bruce Shelley confirmed there are two separate studios forming from Ensemble.

1.  Robot Entertainment headed up by Tony Goodman the ex Ensemble founder. Robot will be supporting Halo Wars and Age whilst also making a new game. Unfortunately not all employees from ES could go to Robot as there was not enough resources available to employ them all

2. Bonfire Studios is where the remaining talent from ES has landed. They will be making a new game that’s “too hot to handle”. This studio is lead by David Rippy who was also a prominent Ensemble member.