Just months before the scheduled release of its latest real time strategy game, Empire Earth creator Stainless Steel Studios appears to have ceased trading, resulting in mass redundancies at its Massachusetts headquarters.
Rumours of the closure began to emerge on the Rise and Fall fansite when a poster by the name of Bob Scott, who claimed to be a former employee, broke the news to a community eagerly awaiting the release of Stainless Steel's latest title.
Following investigation, Bob Scott's original post appears to have been confirmed by a number of ex-employees of the firm, including former game AI programmer Daniel Higgins. In a message posted on the Rise and Fall community forums, Higgins wrote: "This is true, Stainless Steel is no more. I can't give details as to why, but I can tell you the product is in excellent shape, the team was in high morale and ploughing ahead at full steam, and we were just weeks from gold disk."
Further posts reiterate the studio's closure and the company's official website has since been shut down. It is impossible to confirm at this stage whether or not a commercial release for Rise and Fall will be secured, as full details regarding the closure of Stainless Steel Studios are currently unknown.
Stainless Steel Studios was established in 1998 by Rick Goodman, former lead designer on Age of Empires. The firm had successfully developed numerous acclaimed RTS titles, including Empire Earth and Empires: Dawn of the Modern World. To date, no official confirmation on the situation has been released, either by Stainless Steel Studios, or Midway Games, who were due to publish the latest game.