Microsoft Game Studios is a bit like the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, considering how many game franchises and developers have folded into it over the years. But according to a new job listing, at least one of its old strategy series is set to return under the direction of a new team.
A Microsoft Careers posting for a senior software engineer calls out Decisive Games (based in Microsoft's Redmond, Washington HQ) as "building a studio that will bring the next installment in a beloved strategy game franchise to the next generation of gamers around the world". The listing emphasizes that candidates would work on games for both Windows and Xbox platforms.
Good to know, but which beloved/abandoned strategy game franchise is it talking about? Age of Empires seems the most obvious choice. It was a pretty big deal back in the day but hasn't seen a major new entry (besides the discontinued Age of Empires Online and, er, Age of Empires 2 HD) since Ensemble Studios shut down in 2009. Ensemble also created Halo Wars, but it would be a stretch to call the one-off Xbox 360 exclusive a beloved strategy franchise.
Rise of Nations is another likely candidate, since it hosted two well-received games (not including the Extended Edition which hit Steam over the summer) before Big Huge Games moved on. So which, if any, of these fine franchises is Decisive Games actually working on? Looks like we'll have to just wait and see.