Halo Wars, Ensemble Studios founder Tony Goodman has told GamesIndustry.biz. Goodman noted that the game that became Halo Wars originally had nothing to do with Halo at all, but Microsoft felt that a strategy game would have a better chance of succeeding on its console with the Halo branding. The shift put the game "back about a year in development, and I think it never quite turned out the same," he said. Microsoft had assumed, according to Goodman, that the studio could simply "paint over" what it had already created with Halo characters, vehicles and environments.
Furthermore, Goodman added that the entire project never sat well with Bungie, the studio that created Halo in the first place. "Another problem was that Bungie was never up for it," he said, recalling that the studio considered Halo Wars a "whoring out" of its franchise.
Halo Wars became the last game that Ensemble Studios would ever produce, with the developer's former staff offering different accounts as to why it went under. The game went on to break a million in sales, and the staff went on to form several new studios, including Goodman's Robot Entertainment, which took stewardship of Halo Wars and went on to create both Hero Academy and Orcs Must Die. Goodman recently left Robot to form new mobile studio PeopleFun.