Microsoft, please reach out to the old developers for AOM2

I hope someone can relay this message to Microsoft, I think it is really important to contact the designers from Ensemble Studios and pay them enough to be involved in AOM2. They need to start contacting them NOW. The experience and genius they have in designing an RTS cannot be easily replicated, as we saw when Relic attempted to make AOE4. Please Microsoft, swallow your pride and pay them enough to be involved. You can even market it “Designers of the original game are back!”

It is like hiring JJ Abrams to make a George Lucas movie. He cannot do it and it ends in disaster. JJ Abrams can make a JJ Abrams movie, but it will never be a George Lucas movie. If you want the same or even greater success, now that there are more gamers in general, you need the old talent to be involved, it is the most critical thing. Once you have the right people involved, they will make everything else work, like they did before in the past. Relic can make a Relic game, like company of heroes 3, I’m sure fans of COH 2 would be happy. They cannot make AOM 2, at least not without the help of the old designers and other talent from Ensemble Studios.

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TL:DR: Most former Ensemble Studios developers have moved on with their lives, and no such thing will happen.

That will never happen, the main reason being that Ensemble have moved on from Microsoft and Age of Empires completely. This is a key reason why Robot Entertainment, the main successor group of Ensemble only make weird, oddly specific genres that are only really popular among Chinese and Korean gamers.

As for why they don’t like Microsoft: It’s because of Microsoft Ensemble no longer exists as a unified entity, it’s because of Microsoft Age of Empires is a dead horse kept alive solely by people wanting their nostalgia fix, or alternatively the ESports community upholding the games because they are garbage at StarCraft 2. It specifically doesn’t help Microsoft shut down Ensemble, and then made Relic Entertainment work on Age of Empires Online shortly afterwards, just for Microsoft to pull the plug, tell them to rack off, and grant the game to an unknown game developer (that IIRC, doesn’t exist either anymore) because it was more convenient and cheaper for Microsoft; we know how that turned out.

There have been a few exceptions, but those few were either low on the Ensemble totem pole, were fired, left , or were involved in the series later on during the Microsoft era. Matt Prichard from memory was only involved on the second game, and Rise of Rome from memory.

Finally, the only person actually willing to talk about their time in Ensemble is Sandy Petersen, but even then when people were interviewing him, they were only asking about AoE2, and his general reaction to many of those questions within that livestream showed that he was getting mad, holding his tongue, and telling lies not to break NDAs and such. A big point implied by him? He didn’t like where the series is going, and he doesn’t like Forgotten Empires either. So he will definitely not return.

From my experience, the rest of the devs don’t care about AoE or AoM anymore. Especially the lead designer of Age of Mythology; Ian Fischer. Me and a friend of mine (who was indirectly responsible for Bruce Shelley giving some development stuff, builds, etc to a game pre-release archive museum, and also asking Tony Goodman a similar question, which resulted in the AoE2 Design Document and other builds of pre-release material being made public) were asking about possible archived AoM media and such, all we got was either static, or deflection, so we decided to give up. So obviously he has moved on with his life, and wants nothing to do with the series anymore.

Hell, I even emailed Kevin McMullan (who directed or made the music for AoE1 to Halo Wars?) about an interview for AoMH, and once again; got boo. This was after those two videos of him replaying AoM music by the way.

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It’s sad, I really like the beta content.

Can confirm about that in China :joy:

Some of the Sandy Petersen interviews really frustrated me. The guy interviewing Petersen simply glossed over AOM, and went straight to AOE III. And was overall very dismissive of AOM.

Sometimes I wonder if there was quite a bit of behind the scenes drama with AOM. I know that the team was a bit overworked, and it had an extremely interesting life cycle. They repeatedly mentioned that they started working on it around the same time they were working on AOE I or AOE II (I can’t quite remember which)