Ensemble Studios was a video game developer best known its work on the Age of Empires series. It employed about 100 people, including notable game developers; Bruce Shelley, Graeme Devine, and Sandy Petersen.
Ensemble was established as an independent company in 1995, in Dallas, Texas, by Tony Goodman, his brother, Rick Goodman, along with Bruce Shelley and Brian Sullivan. It released its first game, Age of Empires in 1997, set in the historical antiquity period.
Two years later, the company released a sequel set in the Middle Ages, Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, to critical acclaim. An expansion, The Conquerors, followed the next year. In May 2001, Microsoft acquired the company. Age of Mythology, a spin-off from the original series, was released the following year.
Age of Empires III was released on October 18, 2005 in North America. It follows on from the end of Age of Empires II, set during European settlement of the Americas. The first expansion to Age of Empires III, titled The WarChiefs includes new content, new gameplay elements, a new single-player campaign, and three new Native American civilizations. The final expansion, The Asian Dynasties, features three Asian civilizations, three different campaigns, existing gameplay element additions, and was co-developed with Big Huge Games.
Ensemble worked in collaboration with Bungie Studios on Halo Wars, a real-time strategy game based on the Halo universe for the Xbox 360 platform. In 2016, it was released on Xbox One and Windows under Halo Wars: Definitive Edition, a port with graphical enhancements.
In a decision made by Microsoft, and announced on September 9, 2008, Ensemble was closed in 2009. Subsequently, many former employees went on to found the companies Robot Entertainment and Bonfire Studios. Despite Ensemble's closure, Robot Entertainment released an update for Age of Empires III and its expansions. The studio was also responsible for maintaining ESO operations until 2011.
List of developed gamesEdit
|1997||Age of Empires|
|1998||Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome|
|1999||Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings|
|2000||Age of Empires II: The Conquerors|
|2002||Age of Mythology|
|2003||Age of Mythology: The Titans|
|2005||Age of Empires III|
|2006||Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs|
|2007||Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties (co-developed with Big Huge Games).|
- Ensemble Studios occupied the top two floors of its building in Dallas, Texas.
- The studio was notable for its play-testing procedures; everyone at the company was required to test the current product at least once a week.
- Mike McCart, the company's webmaster, created the HeavenGames (then known as HeavenWeb) fan site, prior to being hired by Ensemble.