All "non-essential" employees at Ensemble Studios were laid off today, according to a report from Shacknews, citing "multiple independent sources." The Age of Empires developer is said to close its doors after completing work on the Halo universe real-time strategy game Halo Wars, with those still employed at Ensemble receiving unspecified incentives, according to the report. Ensemble, which was founded in 1995 in Dallas, Texas, has sold over 20 million copies of its Age of Empires series. It plans to ship Halo Wars in early 2009. We've contacted Ensemble and Microsoft for further details. Rumor: Halo Wars Dev Ensemble Shutting Down, Non-essential Employees Axed [Shacknews]