Chris Taylor's Gas Powered Games (makers of the original Dungeon Siege and Supreme Commander) has taken over development of the upcoming free-to-play Age of Empires Online title, according to the game's official blog. Microsoft says that it became clear during development of some of the game's content packs that the GPG team "share our long-term commitment to make this a success," and that the move has been "the plan for some time," and won't delay the game at all.

This, of course, leaves previous developer Robot Entertainment – comprised of AoE veterans from the now-shuttered Ensemble Studios – in the lurch, as Microsoft has shown them the door. On its official message board, Robot confirms that "this was always in the plan," and says that the goal all along has been to work on original titles. Now that they've handed off the reins to Taylor and GPG, the company is reportedly hard at work on a new title called Orcs Must Die! Still no word on how close we are to a release date for Age of Empires Online, but Microsoft is still pushing beta signups on its website.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.