Ensemble Studios’ cancelled project was Halo MMO, screenshots included

Tuesday, 23rd September 2008 14:51 GMT By Patrick Garratt


Update: A ton of concept images from the game have been posted on Flickr by “goneisgone”. See them here.

Gama’s reporting that Ensemble’s cancelled game was a Halo MMO. From the piece:

Following the recent announcement that Microsoft-owned Age Of Empires creator Ensemble Studios would close after the completion of Halo Wars, Gamasutra has discovered that a now-canceled Halo MMO was in development at the studio, unearthing prototype UI and level screenshots of the Ensemble-developed project.

The prototype art, which was at one point made available on an Ensemble-linked online artist portfolio website, further confirms previous rumors that the studio was working on an MMO based on the Bungie-created sci-fi franchise.

There’s a screen and some art through there. Seriously. Thanks, Jim!



  1. patlike


    #1 6 years ago
  2. Blerk

    Has Microsoft ever actually completed an MMO project without canning it half way through?

    #2 6 years ago
  3. Psychotext

    Glad that never came off. MMOs are the devil.

    #3 6 years ago
  4. patlike

    I reckon this is probably the reason the studio got axed. They prolly had to make a decision whether or not to move forward with it and hire about 40,000 people.

    #4 6 years ago
  5. Tiger Walts

    They probably got to the point where they were costing the running of the service with the technology they had built and then wisely decided that maybe it’s not such a good idea.

    #5 6 years ago
  6. epic_wanderer

    Shame, now we’ll never get to visit “Space Planet”. :(

    #6 6 years ago
  7. deftangel

    Maybe if they actually brought in some MMO expertise they might get somewhere!

    #7 6 years ago
  8. patlike

    Hmm. Someone just told me they reckon Ensemble may have been invited to pitch for it and didn’t get it.

    #8 6 years ago
  9. patlike

    Which means, obviously, it may still happen.

    #9 6 years ago
  10. morriss


    That would absolutely force me to sell my friends for an über PC.

    #10 6 years ago
  11. morriss

    Or maybe I can auction off Psychotext and Blerk’s home addresses?

    #11 6 years ago
  12. Psychotext


    #12 6 years ago
  13. deftangel

    Would they give such a thing to Gearbox then given their job advert a while ago that kicked off a whole ream of speculation?

    The Marvel IP was probably as big if not bigger than Halo and it didn’t help that one :/

    #13 6 years ago
  14. patlike

    deft makes a good point. Without MMO people, you’re stuffed, surely? Neither Gearbox or Ensemble have ever been near one, innit?

    #14 6 years ago
  15. Gekidami

    Ofcourse, ‘exsplore, not exploit’ was strong in the devs hearts when they thought up this idea…

    #15 6 years ago
  16. El_MUERkO

    looking at the ui it looks like all the current crop of fantasy MMOs

    #16 6 years ago
  17. XDamage

    I think it would get really boring really fast to see everyone running around in Mjolnir battle armors of various colors.

    #17 6 years ago
  18. patlike

    Looks very generic. Not sure “Halo-WoW” is the way forward for a Halo MMO at all, you’re right.

    #18 6 years ago
  19. morriss

    Gotta be fake, really.

    #19 6 years ago
  20. patlike

    Someone else just said that to me.

    #20 6 years ago
  21. deftangel

    I was going to say it looked rubbish! But then I read it was just a concept drawing knocked up. Didn’t GamaS say it was on some official Ensemble site etc?

    #21 6 years ago
  22. wz


    #22 6 years ago
  23. Tiger Walts

    I would expect any Halo MMO to be like a Halo flavoured Planetside but with the structuring Realtime Worlds are giving APB.

    #23 6 years ago
  24. ecu

    Come on, there’s no way that’s real. Worst fake I have ever seen.

    #24 6 years ago
  25. Blerk

    Gamasutra doesn’t generally ‘do’ fakes, otherwise I’d tend to agree. They could just be mock-ups for a project pitch rather than out and out fabrications.

    #25 6 years ago
  26. soong

    What made Halo so good? The gameplay! So why make a Halo spin-off in the one genre that is more like a glorified 3D chatroom, and so far always has the most tedious and minimal gameplay imaginable? Halo MMO pffffft. Glad it’s been cancelled, if it ever even existed.

    #26 6 years ago
  27. patlike

    From my dealings with Simon – and a few details I’ve just been told – I’d be pretty amazed if it was fake.

    #27 6 years ago
  28. ecu

    Then that’s shocking, and it’s no wonder they got shut down.

    #28 6 years ago
  29. Lutz

    If that ain’t fake that thank god it was canned.

    #29 6 years ago
  30. Truk

    That could have just been thrown together to test stuff or even just to prove why the normal MMO format wouldn’t work. That may have been an actual screenshot from Ensemble, but it doesn’t mean that’s how the game would have been.

    #30 6 years ago
  31. SwiftRanger

    ‘prototype’ is the keyword here probably… it does look incredibly generic, sounds like it would have captured the spirit of Halo alright. ;)

    #31 6 years ago
  32. patlike

    A load of images just went up on Flickr. See top of site.

    #32 6 years ago

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