|Key People||Tony Goodman|
Ensemble Studios was a video game company best known for developing games in the Age of Empires series.
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. After two years, it released its first game, Age of Empires. In May 2001, Microsoft acquired the company. It employed about 100 people, including notable game developers; Bruce Shelley, Graeme Devine and Sandy Petersen.
Ensemble was closed in 2009, in a decision made by Microsoft that was announced on September 9, 2008. Subsequently, many former employees went on to found the companies Robot Entertainment and Bonfire Studios.
The company developed notable games of the Age of Empires series, with the main branch comprising of Age of Empires, Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings and Age of Empires III. They also released Age of Mythology, a spin-off from the original series in 2002. Expansion packs were released for all their games.
Ensemble released "Age of Empires III", on October 18, 2005, in North America. It follows on from the end of Age of Empires II, set during European explorations of the Americas.
The first expansion to Age of Empires III, titled Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs included new content, new gameplay elements, a new single-player campaign, and three new native American civilizations. It was originally set for an October 2, 2006 release, but was released later, on October 17, 2006. The final expansion, Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties, featured 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, an Xbox 360 exclusive real-time strategy game set in the Halo universe.
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.
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.