Word has it that Ensemble Studios, the developer of Age of Empires and the upcoming Halo Wars, will be shutting down after the game ships. All non-essential personnel (which is to say, everyone not working on teh Haloez) have been handed pink slips, and the rest of the team has been offered incentives and sent into overdrive to complete the project.
Seeking more information, sources close to Destructoid have told us that this decision comes not from Microsoft Game Studios, but directly from the parent corporation. And it seems that the cuts aren't solely happening at Ensemble. Our source goes on to explain that this is part of a series of cuts that Microsoft is referring to as a "headcount."
An additional rumor we've received relating to the closure of the studio is that a new company is already forming out of the ashes of Ensemble. While details are sparse at this juncture, we have heard that this new developer has already secured an unnamed game contract.
It's still all speculation at this point, as no confirmation has come from Microsoft or Ensemble on the subject. It sounds as if it is legitimate, however, and would make sense considering how poorly RTS games have been selling lately.