On Tuesday, rumors swirled and were quickly confirmed that following the release of Halo Wars, Microsoft would close the venerable Ensemble Studios. But Microsoft corporate vice president of interactive entertainment Shane Kim says not to read too much into the studio's demise, and that Age of Empires is safe.
The official announcement of Ensemble's end stated that the studio was being closed purely for financial reasons. Kim stood behind this statement. "We want to spend the development dollars in other places, and not just related to content," he told Edge. "It's a long term business decision."
Part of that transition includes the creation of a new studio by current Ensemble leadership. Kim made clear that this new studio was to be an independent entity not owned by Microsoft, and that it was a venture being taken by the heads of Ensemble. But the good news, according to Kim, is that "we will have an ongoing relationship with that new company."