Thursday, March 19, 2009

One Step Back, Three Step Forward

Those two brooms used to be one. We’ve talked before about Ensemble Studios, the things they’ve done and their recent demise.  The loss of a talented studio (underwhelming swan song or no) is never a good thing, but recent news has pointed toward a number of silver linings.

This week saw the announcement of Windstorm Studios, a new development house founded by ex-Ensemble member Dusty Monk.  The website has a slick Jetsonsesque, pulp science fiction vibe, which hints at their current unnamed project: “an online game unlike anything you’ve ever seen.”  I’m intrigued by a game that offers a crisp, clean future bent complete with flying cars.  Sign me up.

In the past few months we’ve seen two other studios rise up from Ensemble’s ashes.  Ensemble’s founder Tony Goodman is the CEO of Robot Entertainment, who will be handling expansion content for Halo Wars in addition to developing original IPs (according to their press release).  Bonfire Studios also cropped up and is already promising a new game.  But they won’t tell us much about it.

Do I think its odd that three separate studios now get to tout the success of Age of Empires on their website?  Yes.  But I would rather see three studios budding in this barren economic landscape than watch all of the Ensemble talent disappear completely.  I will be watching these three studios closely, and you should, too.  Hopefully what doesn’t kill them makes them stronger.