Microsoft last night announced that they have assimilated Ensemble Studios into their games division, buying the company behind the multi-million selling Age of Empires series. "This announcement today is a natural evolution from the relationship we've had with Microsoft", according to Ensemble CEO Tony Goodman. "Both companies have tremendous respect for each other. This deal gives Ensemble and Microsoft a long-term strategy for doing what we do best : working together to make world-class games."
The two companies are currently working together on Age of Mythology, a new 3D strategy game which was also officially unveiled last night. Using elements from Greek, Norse and Egyptian mythology, the game "puts players in those ancient civilizations where praying for luck in battle, fighting Cyclopes or petitioning Zeus to call down lightning bolts on the enemy are real occurrences", according to lead designer Bruce Shelley. The game will apparently allow hundreds of units on-screen at once, along with improved artificial intelligence and all the resource gathering and base building you know and love from the Age of Empires games.
Source - press release
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