Ensemble Studios

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Ensemble Studios was founded in 1995 and was located in Dallas, Texas. In 2001, it was acquired by Microsoft. They are most famous for developing the Age of Empires series. In September 2008, it was confirmed that Microsoft would shut down the studio following the release of Halo Wars as a fiscally-rooted decision. Tony Goodman, along with a number of veteran developers, announced in February 2009 to have founded the studio Robot Enteetainment. A second team of about 35 developers announced to have founded Bonfire Studios in the same month, followed by the creation of two more studios: Newtoy and Windstorm Studios.

1st Logo (October 15, 1997-October 31, 1998)

Visuals: On a black background are the words "ENSEMBLE STUDIOS" appearing letter-by-letter, forming a circular aura above a tilted Saturn-like hexagon Moon. The words then fly off, but reappear sliding from the sides and making their places in front of the Moon.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: Matching drumbeats and two echoing waterdrops, followed by a gong-like sound at the end.

Availability: Appeared on Age Of Empires.

2nd Logo (September 30, 1999-July 4, 2002)

Visuals: On a space background with a nebula, the Moon zooms out and centers itself in the middle. In the process, the Sun sets, goes behind the moon and flashes, releasing two streaks which speed up and orbit the Moon. A light intensifies behind the Moon, and it turns into the same tilted hexagon Moon from the previous logo. The words "E N S E M B L E" and "S T U D I O S" (in the same font as the previous logo, but spaced out and in the same size) fly out from the top of the screen and place themselves below the symbol. As this happens, the background turns black.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A humming synth plays throughout the first half of the logo, accompanied with scurrying sounds as the Sun sets, a high-pitched synth note when it flashes, a choir note when the logo transforms, a deep bang that turns the music into a bass note (think the Rigel Entertainment logo), and sparkling noises when the text zooms out.

Audio Variant: The HD version of Age of Empires has the logo silent.

Availability: Can be seen on Age Of Empires II and strangely kept on the HD version of the game.

3rd Logo (October 30, 2002)

Visuals: There is the planet Earth, where civilizations prosper and people walk, then the camera starts to move along the globe. Two dragons fly and pass over, as the screen zooms out to see the regular model globe fixed on a desk with the Moon on a pin. The company name appears in front of the logo (with "S T U D I O S" in a Bank Gothic MD font this time), which itself clears, and the dragon flies to land on the second "E" letter.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A rather dramatic droning sound with the noise of flying dragons and hammer strikes.

Availability: Used in Age Of Mythology.

4th Logo (October 18, 2005)

Visuals: There is an orange map of America with toy soldiers of two sides standing on it and aiming each other. The company name is written by an invisible pencil between the armies, while three dice cubes roll over the area, one of them slightly pushing a toy soldier. The text "presents..." is written on the bottom right of the logo.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: Sounds of the dice and the pencil drawing.

Availability: Can be seen on Age Of Empires III.

5th Logo (October 17, 2006-August 24, 2008)

Visuals: The blue crystallized company name zooms out to the background, which becomes light blue, and a spark runs over.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A short uprising soundtrack.

Availability: Appeared on two expansions for Age Of Empires III, namely Asian Dynastians and WarChiefs.

6th Logo (February 26, 2009)

Visuals: There is an extreme close-up of the glowing word "ENSEMBLE", flickering and rapidly zooming out to a rectangle which only has two edges part, as the two other parts are cleared out. The word appears to be inside and flickers.

Technique: 2D computer animation.

Audio: Several circuit sounds and an echoed bang.

Availability: Appeared on Halo Wars for Xbox 360. A still logo was spotted on Age of Empires: Mythologies for NDS.