Following yesterday's revelation that Ensemble Studios is to be shut down following the release of 360 exclusive Halo Wars next year, corporate vice president of interactive entertainment Shane Kim has reassured fans of the popular Age of Empires strategy series, also developed by Ensemble, that Microsoft is still "super excited for the potential for the franchise".

Kim's comments will relieve fans of the series who had feared the worse following the news of Ensemble's impending doom.

Speaking to Edge Online, Kim also reiterated Microsoft's commitment to the PC platform, saying that there is "absolutely" a future in first-party Games for Windows software, and that gamers shouldn't take the end of Ensemble to mean that there is any change in Microsoft's PC gaming strategy on a whole.

Over at the GamerScoreBlog, an official Microsoft website, Kevin Unangst, director of the Games for Windows platform, has also chimed in on the issue, telling Age of Empires fans to 'stay tuned'.

He said: "I want to reassure you that Microsoft will still own the Age of Empires intellectual property. As a company, we're very excited about the future potential for Age of Empires, and as a PC gamer I'm looking forward to what that future holds. Stay tuned."

Key members of Ensemble are set to form a new independent studio with a guaranteed "ongoing relationship" with Microsoft, which Kim confirmed included post-release support of Halo Wars.

What do you think of Microsoft's closure of Ensemble Studios and the future of Age of Empires? Let us know in the comments section below.