Microsoft Unveils Blockbuster Games Lineup for Xbox, PC and At Electronic Entertainment Expo 2001

LOS ANGELES, May 17, 2001 — With the goal of offering console, PC and online game players the most powerful games experiences available, Microsoft Corp. will showcase great action-adventure, strategy, sports, sci-fi, fantasy and simulation games this week at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E 3 ) 2001 in Los Angeles.

“We’re committed to creating world-class PC and Xbox™ video game system games that excite the imaginations of all game players,”
said Ed Fries, vice president of the games division at Microsoft.
“Xbox will revolutionize video games in living rooms around the globe, and the PC will continue to be the hotbed of innovative gameplay experiences.”

At this year’s show, Microsoft is exhibiting some of its most anticipated Xbox games for 2001 — all Xbox exclusives.


Unleashing the creativity of the world’s top games artists, Microsoft’s future-generation video game system will deliver some of the most powerful game experiences that blur the lines between fantasy and reality like never before. Some of the first Microsoft® games to be published for Xbox include the following:

  • Halo.
    One of the most highly anticipated games coming to market this year,
    is set against the backdrop of a mysterious alien ring-world. This sci-fi shooter invites players to uncover its horrible secrets and to destroy mankind’s sworn enemy, the Covenant. Players choose from a variety of missions where a breadth of experiences awaits them — on foot and in vehicles, inside and outdoors, with human and alien weaponry.

  • Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee.
    The latest in the best-selling franchise brings Oddworld to life in full 3-D, weaving a journey through a changing world of strange creatures, off-the-wall action and outlandish goons. Players guide Mudokon champion Abe and his aquatic Gabbit partner Munch in their third adventure using special psychic powers, cool power-ups, way-out vehicles and other special abilities to deliver payback as they rescue Abe’s captured mommy. Oddworld’s new intelligent cinematic camera, auto-targeting system and no-stick navigation system make playing a breeze.

  • Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding.
    This is the first snowboarding game focused on freestyle riding down runs from real mountains. The game’s goal is simple: achieve enough international exposure to become one of the world’s snowboarding media superstars. Jib and spin off of a huge variety of jumps and rails for a different ride every time. Players pull insane tricks in front of roaming sponsors and camera crews to get their face on magazine covers and in videos.

  • Azurik — Rise of Perathia.
    This is one of the deepest, most immersive 3-D action-adventure games developed for Xbox. Players assume the role of Azurik, a young apprentice sworn to protect the sacred elements — fire, water, earth and air. As Azurik, players travel the vast realms of the elements on a mission to stop the progress of an apocalyptic prophecy already in motion.

  • Fuzion Frenzy.
    A nonstop party game with an edge, combining the continuous, frenetic action of a futuristic street sport with the action-packed fun of minigames set in a dynamic 3-D urban environment. With six arenas and more than 45 minigames,
    “Fuzion Frenzy”
    provides competitive fun for up to four players.

  • NFL Fever 2002.
    Designed exclusively for Xbox, this sports sequel combines fast and hard-hitting action with deep-season and career modes. Stadiums from all 31 NFL teams are re-created, and gamers can participate in up to 25 seasons. Players can amass both individual and team trophies and build their own dynasties, season after season. The fast-playing NFL tempo lets gamers explode through the holes and break loose, just like real NFL players.

  • Nightcaster.
    A fast and furious action-adventure game featuring intense real-time spell combat and exploration. Players take on the role of Arran, a young boy chosen by the force of Light, who grows in age, skill and magical powers as he progresses throughout the game. Throughout his quest, Arran must find and learn over 40 different spells for combat against more than 30 different types of enemy creatures. His ultimate goal: to defeat the forces of Darkness and bring Light back into the world.

  • Project Gotham.
    A future-generation racing game where fun and reward come from focusing equally on speed, flair and risk-taking. Enjoying circuit-based racing in photo-realistic downtown environments, players can race against up to three friends* at a time through realistic time-of-day and weather conditions. Players can choose from 20 different cars and compete on more than 300 city-based circuits. With more than 100 individual and wheel-to-wheel racing challenges and a separate arcade mode, gamers can expect hundreds of hours of gameplay.

  • Blood Wake.
    This is a fast-action vehicular combat game fought with powerful boats and big guns. Boats engage in combat with other boats, forts and shore batteries in exotic locales. Players assume the role of a naval lieutenant who is betrayed by an evil kingdom. With the help of an outlaw band of sea-raiders they must overthrow the devious army and restore order to the land.

PC Games

Strengthening its goal to become the world’s top PC games creator, Microsoft Games brings a slate of titles to E 3 that includes both fresh content and extensions of best-selling franchises:

  • Dungeon Siege.
    This action-fantasy role-playing game combines the immersive elements of an RPG with over-the-top intensity, awe-inspiring vertical landscapes and nonstop action. Seamlessly traveling from wind-swept castles to secret underground lairs without interruptions from loading screens, players embark on a quest to stop an army of evils. Beginning with a single fully animated 3-D character and gathering a maximum party of eight, players can enjoy the experience as designed or customize their own characters, spells, dungeons or entire worlds. Scheduled availability is fall 2001.

  • Zoo Tycoon.
    Lions and tigers and . . . pandas? This easy-to-learn strategy and resource game challenges players to design and build the most healthy and vibrant zoo possible, working to ensure animal happiness, customer satisfaction and profitability. Gameplay includes building habitats, adopting animals, hiring staff and monitoring guest satisfaction. A freeplay mode allows players to build the zoo at will with few constraints, while the scenario mode provides a variety of challenges and objectives. Scheduled availability is fall 2001.

  • Sigma: The Adventures of Rex Chance.
    Set in the 1930s, this 3-D real-time strategy game pits players against an evil madman in a fast-paced campaign across a chain of remote and diverse islands. More than 50 familiar animals can be combined into a huge number of mutant creatures, which together create a formidable army. A variety of ecosystems determines which animals are available and the performance of the units deployed in each environment. With more than 15 missions, single or multiple players can engage in unprecedented, streamlined and intense gameplay. Scheduled availability is fall 2001.

  • MechCommander
    Waging strategy from above, players take command of an entire company of mercenary MechWarriors and wage a battle of supremacy against three warring noble houses. This real-time 3-D game of power, combat and treachery is set in the venerable BattleTech universe, providing ample new challenges and thrills. Packing the heat of up to 16 BattleMechs – from the nimble Raven, equipped with sensors and electronic countermeasures, to the massive Atlas, bristling with deadly firepower — players must leverage the unique strengths of each ‘Mech and MechWarrior to create advantages. Scheduled availability is July 2001.

  • Freelancer.
    Adventure, intrigue and opportunity await in this intensely epic and fascinating universe. Set in the dawn of the 30th Century, the game provides an environment in which humanity focuses its efforts on expansion into frontier worlds. Four houses vie for territory and control of frontier worlds, each seeking survival as the ultimate prize. Billed as an action and space simulation game,
    combines a fully immersive, 3-D space flight system with real-time 3-D interaction, giving players complete control over buying and selling of commodities, accepting missions for hire, and customizing spacecraft. Scheduled availability is spring 2002.

  • Age of Mythology.
    Ensemble Studio Inc.’s new 3-D engine adds a deep richness of graphical detail to the acclaimed real-time strategy features of the
    “Age of Empires® ”
    series and creates a unique new title based on the fabled history of the Greek, Norse and Egyptian cultures. Transporting players to a time when people believed gods were real and a well-placed meteor could devastate a massive army, mythology enters the game when players call upon the gods to act on their behalf. Whether petitioning Zeus to rain bolts of lightning upon approaching enemies or persuading Thor to trap opponents in a snow squall, players face new and intriguing gameplay strategies in nine detailed civilizations. Scheduled availability is spring 2002.

  • Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002.
    The professional edition of Microsoft’s best-selling PC flight simulator gives players the most realistic experience ever. Players can climb into the cockpit of a Boeing 747-400 and fly in real time across the ocean or engage in a bush pilot adventure in a Cessna Caravan on amphibious floats. Veteran fliers will feel right at home in 3-D cockpits replete with working instruments and interactive Air Traffic Control and can test their skills through a new flight analysis feature. All players will appreciate the auto-generated scenery and other amazing visual details. Scheduled availability is fall 2001.

  • Microsoft Train Simulator.
    Why should Casey Jones have all the fun? Players can harness the power and romance of the world’s most famous railroads in this detail-packed simulator that allows them to be engineers, passengers or bystanders. The terrain covers six routes across nearly a century of rail travel – from the Orient Express steam train of 1930s Europe to America’s ultra-modern Amtrak Acela
    “bullet train.”
    While working the fully functional controls and choosing from a variety of scenarios, players can enjoy carefully re-created landscapes and hear distinctive train and track sounds. Scheduled availability is spring 2001.

About The Zone

The Zone ( ) continues to evolve while maintaining its position as the largest multiplayer gaming site on the Internet, with 18 million registered members around the world, more than 123,000 concurrent users at peak times, and in excess of 130 games available for play.

Responding to the expected growth of the casual gaming audience, to exceed 55 million by 2004, this month the Zone will unveil a new interface while retaining the edge that has earned the loyalty of hard-core gamers. New features will include quick links to popular gaming categories, or
; easy-to-use game indexes; organized links to Zone-sponsored tournaments, online events, multiplayer game matchmaking and more; and an entirely new
“Kids Hub,”
a safe online environment featuring dozens of exciting new games for children, sponsored by The Lego Group.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

* Additional controllers sold separately.

The information contained in this press release relates to prerelease products which may be substantially modified before first commercial release. Accordingly, the information may not accurately describe or reflect the products when first commercially released. This press release is provided for informational purposes only, and Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to this press release or the information contained in it.

Microsoft, Xbox, MechCommander and Age of Empires are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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