Ian Fischer, once a lead designer at Ensemble Studios, has blasted manager Paul Bettner over his claims at GDC earlier this month that the outfit was inefficient and prone to crunch.
“If you want to find mistakes with what we did, I’d suggest that those trips into the weeds, looking for new territory, with a partner who wasn’t fond of being there, was more our error,” said Fischer, speaking on his blog.
“Had we decided to crank out RTS after RTS instead of chasing after the MMOs and FPSs and RPGs and RTS-differents we constantly had in prototype, I’m sure we would have been a more efficient studio that could have operated with zero crunch.”
Bettner said in a GDC session that, “The reality is that every single game we shipped took twice as long as we said it was going to take, and cost twice as much to make. Microsoft is a public company, they answer to their shareholders, and we were simply too expensive.”
He also claimed that a “workaholic” culture contributed to Ensemble’s demise.
Ensemble was closed after releasing Halo Wars in 2009.
Soon after closure the studio was shown to have been prototyping several non-RTS projects, including a Halo MMO.