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Age of Empires creator building new titles

Tuesday 4 April 2006
Ensemble Studios, the developer behind the hugely popular real-time strategy series Age of Empires, has revealed a few details regarding two of its current projects: an RTS aimed squarely at console gamers, and a move into new territory with a massively multiplayer online game.

The developer has been working on a console-based RTS for some time and has apparently spent a whole year just constructing a control system that works well with console game pads.

Ensemble's CEO, Tony Goodman, believes it's time well spent. "The last thing we wanted was to start a game before we solved that problem," Goodman explained to Next-Gen.Biz. "We put in so much time and effort, and made a series of little breakthroughs, and got it."

While not giving much away about the game - although in comparing it to Ensemble's other strategy games in development, Goodman did enthuse that the game was "shorter, more fun and more visceral" - it's a safe bet that the mystery RTS will eventually end up on Xbox 360 (the developer is owned by Microsoft) and will feature elements of online play (Ensemble is recruiting Xbox Live developers).

About the MMOG currently in the development pipeline, Ensemble executive producer Patrick Hudson said that the team working on the game was "noodling away on ideas" and that the project was "a long way from anything substantive." Hudson did, however, say that Ensemble wouldn't be looking to go head-to-head with World of Warcraft, stating that it wouldn't be "chasing the fantasy genre."

E3 should reveal a few more details about these two exciting projects from Ensemble. We'll keep you posted.

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