How the developer of Orcs Must Die! escaped corporate influence

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Some concepts are so acquainted, so entrenched in gaming historical past, that it is troublesome to recollect how unusual they have been to start with. Take Age of Empires. Splicing the real-time battles of Command & Conquer with the grand technique of Civilization was an odd and unprecedented experiment.

“Again then, the studio was actually having fun with the RTS style, which was nonetheless nascent and rising,” says Patrick Hudson, who labored for a number of years as a producer at Ensemble. “There weren’t that many large titles established. There was an urge for food internally to discover a historic setting.”

(Picture credit score: Ensemble Studios)

Thirty million items later, Age of Empires feels as elementary to PC gaming as turning in your monitor. However that success was additionally confining. Ensemble turned trapped by its once-brave method, unable to decide to new concepts as Age of Empires sucked consideration and sources. A spy sport, a 3D platformer, Diablo with pirates—all have been subsumed by Microsoft’s want for extra of the identical.

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