With Ensemble Studios set to close after Halo Wars is completed, many wondered what would happen with the historical real-time strategy series Ensemble was best known for: Age of Empires. In a move that might either comfort you or scare you, Microsoft has announced they've still got Age of Empire clutched to their bosom/in their death grip.

"I want to reassure you that Microsoft will still own the Age of Empires intellectual property," said Games for Windows Senior Director Kevin Unangst on Gamerscore blog last night. "As a company, we’re very excited about the future potential for Age of Empires, and as a PC gamer I’m looking forward to what that future holds. Stay tuned."

The Age of Empires series sold over twenty million copies since 1997 so it's not surprising Microsoft would want to keep churning them out. It seems likely future installments will be made by the new studio Microsoft will create with some of the personnel from Ensemble. Or so gamers would hope - it seems the best way to maintain the flavor of the series.

The phrase "as a PC gamer I'm looking forward to what the future holds" is what jumps out in Unangst's statement. As I interpret it, it means the series will continue to be on the PC. Or you could interpret Unangst's statement to mean "as a PC gamer, I'm glad the highly regarded series will finally flee the horrid PC and emigrate to the gamers' wonderland known as Xbox 360." Depends on whether you think Bill Gates is half empty or half full, or something.

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