You know, Microsoft has always had interesting, or awful, depending on how you look at it, E3 pressers. The most notable example would be the strange and elaborate Cirque du Soleil unveiling of the Kinect in 2010, which served seemingly no purpose. But that was a different Microsoft of a different time, which just happened to be four years ago. The new Miscrosoft is more interested in games, and now they are going to blow all our minds with a scenario that happened in my mind last night — one I will share with you now.
In 2008, it was announced that Ensemble would be shuttered upon completion of its newest title, Halo Wars, which would come out early the next year. At that point, a plan was hatched — one that would take years to finally come to its epic climax. I present to you the dialogue that happened on that fateful day, where the heads of Microsoft and Ensemble met and discussed something that never happened — until now!
'So, we are going to shut you down.'
*Ensemble folks looks mortified and bewildered*
'I know, what a terrible way to start talking about how to save Ensemble and the RTS genre, but sacrifices are necessary — but this is for the greater good.'
*Ensemble employees continue looking on*
'Alright, I'm glad you are all on board with this. Now then, years from this moment, we are going to release Age of Empires Online, which will be a Free-to-Play, give-us-your-money type of game, which will feel a bit like Age of Empires 2, with units and overall gameplay, and Red Alert 3, in the sense that it will suck something fierce. But, don't be alarmed — it's supposed to suck, and that's the point.'
'So, people will dislike it, and rightfully wonder why we didn't make a proper strategy title instead, and they're right to wonder — but necessary sacrifices! Eventually we will have to shut down Games for Windows Live, in general, which means no more Age of Empires Online for anyone, ever, and that's all part of our plan.'
'You see, Mr. and Mrs. Ensemble people who we are firing, there will be a drought — an RTS drought — in the years to come, and we will take our first step toward reviving it by releasing Age of Empires 2 HD, which will have people begging for more — seeing a beloved classic redone will leave them hungering for more like it.'
'And we will give them exactly what they want by releasing the HD version of Age of Mythology — people will be clamoring for these games, the strategy titles of their childhood and teen years. They crave that nostalgia, they demand that satisfaction! And that's when we hatch the final part of our brilliant scheme.'
'At the 2014 E3 event, we will take the stage, talking about how we understand there have been a lack of wonderful, and timeless Real-Time Strategy titles — we then discuss how we are releasing the HD version of Rise of Nations, which will be common news at that point, and recap the previous HD titles we have released...'
'And then we shock the world by announcing that we are bringing Ensemble back — to create Age of Empires 4!'
There you have it, folks — Microsoft is going to blow the doors off E3 because of this wonderful plan they devised years and years ago. And, I can't help but find myself completely hyped by this scenario, which, I am sure, never existed outside of my head — and that's exactly what Microsoft and nuEnsemble want me to think!