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Posts tagged ‘Patrick Hudson’


Wade and Make-a-Wish revisit Robot Entertainment after Echo Prime release

Echo Prime

A little while ago Robot Entertainment took part in a Make-a-Wish request for Wade Sharp, a boy who struggles with brittle bone disease (Osteogenesis Imperfecta) which makes it very difficult to engage in physical activities. His condition means that video games are a very important part of Wade’s life. In June earlier this year the bots welcomed Wade to the studio to help make his wish come true. Wade’s wish was to see how games were made and to become a character in a video game. Read moreRead more


Hero Academy wins DICE 2013 “Best Mobile Game”

Congratulations to all the team at Robot Entertainment as Hero Academy wins the “Best Mobile Game” at the 16th annual DICE awards. This is a prestigious awards for developers and Robot Entertainment was up against 3 other games in the mobile category including Fairway Solitaire, Horn and Rayman Jungle Run. Its fantastic to see Robot’s hard work recognised with this brilliant award. Read moreRead more


Two new ex-Ensemble studios form: BonusXP and PeopleFun. Word Chums expected as launch title (Part 1)

VentureBeat has reported this week on two new studios forming from Ensemble Studios veterans. The first studio to be announced was “PeopleFun” a new venture from one of the key founders and CEO of Ensemble Studios, Tony Goodman. The other announcement was also from one of Ensemble’s long serving employees, Dave Pottinger who lifted the lid off his new studio “BonusXP”. These new studios are both small studios focussing on mobile gaming and join the line of many other ex Ensemble formed studios to enter the mobile market including the very successful “NewToy” and “Bonfire Studios” who were acquired by Zynga. So lets take a look at these exciting new announcements in more detail! Read moreRead more


Game Informers “Directors Cut” interview with Patrick Hudson

In the latest edition of Game Informer you will find an interview with Robot Entertainment’s CEO, Patrick Hudson. There is also a directors cut version of this interview available online at the Game Informer website. The interview discusses the Halo MMO that was cancelled mid-development at Ensemble Studios and then goes on to talk about the visions for Robot Entertainment including the desire to work on smaller scale products with shorter development times. This vision has been realised already with Orcs Must Die! and Hero Academy which have been markedly smaller projects than say, Halo Wars at Ensemble. Read moreRead more


Orcs Must Die! launching October 5th on XBLA and October 12th on PC/Steam!

Robot Entertainment just announced some orktastic news! The release date for the studios highly anticipated original IP game, Orcs Must Die has just been announced! This is a big moment for many of the staff at Robot who have been itching to break away from previous strategy IP like Age. So here it comes, October 5th will see the launch of the first brand new original game from Robot Entertainment, Orcs Must Die on XBLA. For PC fans, OMD will be heading your way just one week later on October 12th. For PC the game will be available on Steam.

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Microsoft Studios to publish Orcs Must Die on PC and XBLA this Summer

Robot Entertainment has today announced that Orcs Must Die is coming to PC and XBLA. We have always known that the game was due out on PC and Consoles however todays announcement helps narrow down which console that will be! Publishing the game will be Microsoft Studios and they will be publishing the game on both the PC and XBLA platforms. It seems despite the tricky situation with Microsoft closing Ensemble, these Ex Ensemblers are still working with the publishing giant. Its not a bad thing at all, Microsoft has alot of power in the publishing front, especially for the XBLA platform and the partnership should hopefully get the game some extra exposure. I understand that Robot will continue to do the marketing and community side of things, so it wont go the way of Age of Empires Online on that front. Read moreRead more

Gamespot talks to Robot on Orcs Must Die – franchise planned

Gamespot have recently had a phone interview with Robot Entertainment’s CEO Patrick Hudson, COO Harter Ryan and Lead Producer on OMD – Chris Rippy. The Gamespot article is jam packed with useful Orcs Must Die information plus a whole lot of information about the future direction of Robot Entertainment. One of the most interesting things that has been touched on is the idea that “Must Die” could become a franchise for Robot if the game is a big enough success. You may have noticed that “Orcs” is in the colour green on the logo above.. that could easily be replaced with “Sheep Must Die” or “Kittens Must Die” should Robot decide to take that path. (Obviously those names are fictional!)

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Robot Entertainment no longer lead developer on Age of Empires Online

In a very unexpected turn of events Microsoft have announced the end of Robot Entertainment’s involvement with Age of Empires Online. Todays blog post on the official Age of Empires Online Community website indicates that:

This has been the plan for some time, and we’re excited to share the great work GPG has been doing. In working with GPG, it’s become clear they share our long-term commitment to make this a success. Our previous development partner, Robot Entertainment, did amazing work on the game, and we wish them the best in their future projects. Read moreRead more


Paul Bettner of NewToy says Ensemble demise due to company culture

News is spreading around that Paul Bettner an ex Ensemble programmer has had a bit of a “rant” at the GDC explaining that Ensemble Studios should not of blamed Microsoft for the studios closure and should instead look at failings with the company culture at Ensemble Studios. In what has proven to be such a shock read from an ex-Ensemble employee which certainly damages the excellent working environment Ensemble was credited for he says:

“The reality is that every single game we shipped took twice as long as we said it was going to take, and cost twice as much to make.

“Microsoft is a public company, they answer to their shareholders, and we were simply too expensive.”


But wait, theres more:

“Ensemble had a company culture where everyone was a workaholic, developers worked late and slept at the office, and were addicted to the rush of success of the Age of Empires series.

I watched this happen and I did almost nothing to stop it. As an employee, and later as a manager, I didn’t take a stand. I just kept hoping for that next high”

“This is a horrible vicious cycle. We burn out all our best people. We destroy these precious artists, we wreck their families and we sacrifice their youth. So they leave, and they take all their experience with them.”

Some pretty shocking comments there which resulted in huge applause from the GDC audience, perhaps with other developers agreeing that there is way too much pressure in the industry with these “crunching” hours.

This is the first time we have had an Ensemble Studios employee almost attack the way the company was managed but we must remember on the other end of the scale that alot of people stuck with Ensemble once the studio was told it would be closed down and ironically Dave and Paul Bettner were one of the first employees to leave and start NewToy before Halo Wars was completed.

These are one mans comments and do not reflect the thoughts of the whole studio. 45 employees followed Tony Goodman to start up Robot Entertainment so there must of been confidence in the highest management. Perhaps lessons have been learnt about crunching hours and the new Ensemble startups are paying closer attention to how staff are looked after and how studios are run to ensure talent does not leave whilst at the same time balancing budget and hitting milestones. Now with studios like Robot and Bonfire being fully independent there may be less pressure to meet publisher demands, hopefully.



It should also be noted that Robot Entertainment sponsor the International Game Developers Association and therefore stands by the values and principles behind the IGDA “Quality of Life” white paper. If there were any issues at Ensemble these should now have been addressed with the management at Robot Entertainment. Robot Chief Operating Officer, Patrick Hudson comments on the IGDA website:

Robot Entertainment is proud to support the IGDA in its ongoing mission to make the game development community a better environment for all of us.

This comment is not related or a response to the Paul Bettner discussion and has been present on the IGDA website for quite some time prior.