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Third New Studio Emerges From Ensemble Closure

A third studio has emerged from the ashes of Ensemble Studios -- Dusty Monk now heads the newly-founded Windstorm Studios, which is already at work on its first online game.
A third studio has emerged from the ashes of Ensemble Studios -- the newly-founded Windstorm Studios is already at work on its first online game. Windstorm has been founded by ex-Ensemble staffer Dusty Monk and will be "utilizing licensed and proven technologies, and contracting with industry veterans". The company’s website indicates that the studio is already working on building technology, art and environments for its first project – although no further details are offered. It is unclear whether the studio already has a publishing deal, but it is looking for funding partners, not yet hiring new staff. "In 2008, when Microsoft closed my then employer Ensemble Studios, I saw an opportunity for something new – not just for myself, but for the genre which I love so much”, commented Monk in apparent reference to the real-time strategy genre. “Windstorm Studios is the realization of that opportunity. I bring with me close to fifteen years of professional game development experience, and have contributed to some of the best triple-A titles in the business,” he added. The announcement fulfills Ensemble Studios co-founder Bruce Shelley’s prediction of “at least two new studios” being formed by ex-Ensemble employees. These include co-founder Tony Goodman’s Robot Entertainment and Bonfire Studios - founded by David Rippy and "former management team members" from Ensemble. The three independent studios come in addition to a new internal Microsoft studio led by the “Ensemble leadership team”. Microsoft announced the closure of Ensemble Studios last September, before the release of the developer’s final game Halo Wars. The move was described as a "fiscally-rooted decision”.

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