MS switches studios for Age of Empires Online

Ex-Ensemble devs replaced by Chris Taylor studio

Microsoft's free-to-play PC game, Age of Empires Online has bizarrely seen a change of developers, with ex-Ensemble devs Robot Entertainment making way for Chris Taylor's Gas Powered Games.

Robot Entertainment president, Patrick Hudson told our colleagues at PC Gamer the developer switch "was always the plan" from the beginning.

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He said: "We were always scheduled to roll off Age Online in February 2011. We've been working with GPG since last fall on the transition. We really enjoyed working with Microsoft, and know that they're in good hands with Chris and the Gas Powered Games team.

"Robot was founded to work on original IP, but working with AoE was a great way to get the company off the ground. The plan was always to move to original IP as soon as we had the ability focus on our core business goal."

Hudson conceded that the change in devs mid-way through the project is "unusual", but argued that AoEO has evolved into a "platform for a lot of content".

"We developed the game and the first two civilizations, the Egyptians and the Greeks, and GPG is taking it from there. That was always the plan when we started the company," he said.

"We're now working on shipping our first original game, Orcs Must Die! and will be announcing additional projects that we have in the works in the near future. That's ours, we'll stick with that one forever."

Hit the link for more Age of Empires Online details.