The owner of Ensemble Studios and publisher of the upcoming Halo Wars has confirmed that the developer will be closing down once work on the Xbox 360 title is complete. In a statement to GameSpot, Microsoft said that the closure of the Dallas-based studio "does not reflect at all on Ensemble's talent or the quality of Halo Wars," adding that the team has made "invaluable contributions to the games industry with their Age of Empires and Age of Mythology games." Microsoft calls the choice "a fiscally rooted decision that keeps MGS on its growth path."

While Ensemble will see closure come launch date, the statement further explains that a "leadership team" from the studio will form a brand new development entity one that will continue to support Halo Wars post launch and work on unspecified Microsoft Game Studios titles.

Those let go from the studio may find a home at the newly formed, as Microsoft stated it was "working to place as many Ensemble employees who do not move to the newly formed studio into open positions within Microsoft as possible."

Good luck to all involved.

Confirmed: Microsoft closes Ensemble [GameSpot]