Microsoft Game Studios Showcases Strong PC Games Portfolio at E3

LOS ANGELES May 22, 2002 Microsoft Game Studios today announced its powerful lineup of PC games showcased at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E 3 ), including such anticipated games as
“Age of Mythology™ ,” “Combat Flight Simulator 3”
“Asherons Call® 2.”
Bolstered by the strongest portfolio to date, Microsoft Game Studios experienced double-digit growth and is expected to increase its overall sales at a rate three times greater than that of the industry.

These projections are driven by Microsoft Game Studios, which is committed to partner and work with the most talented and creative game developers in the business. Its success in forging exciting alliances was recently demonstrated by the announcement of an anticipated agreement with Sigil Games Online Inc., a newly formed company founded by the co-creators of the popular role-playing game
By joining forces with the best in the business, Microsoft Game Studios is able to develop and expand talented teams while evolving and nurturing franchises.

“We believe in the creative power of talented developers to realize their vision and produce fantastic games,”
said Stuart Moulder, general manager of Microsoft Game Studios at Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft works with the best developers in the world to ensure that gamers will be offered the richest and most innovative games as exemplified by titles such as Age of Mythology and Asherons Call 2. We see E 3 as an exciting venue for Microsoft and other industry leaders to demonstrate the strength and diversity of PC gaming.”

Continuing its momentum and adding to its current portfolio, Microsoft today unveiled two new PC games: the critically acclaimed
“RalliSport Challenge”
“MechWarrior® 4: Mercenaries.” These titles complement an extensive PC games library that displays leadership across a variety of genres and builds on legendary Microsoft®

“RalliSport Challenge,”
an arcade-style racing game, will put players in the drivers seat for rally racing excitement this holiday season.
“MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries”
is the continuation of the extremely popular
franchise and allows gamers to return to the action-packed lifestyle of a gun for hire engaging in full-scale Mech warfare. The title is expected to hit stores this fall.

Featured Games

Microsoft is highlighting the following PC games at E 3 :

Age of Mythology

“Age of Mythology,”
scheduled for U.S. release in the fall, transports players to a time when heroes battled with monsters of legend, and gods intervened in the affairs of mortals. Complete with both single-player and multiplayer capabilities,
“Age of Mythology”
enables gamers to create armies, develop civilizations over the ages, and manage economics through resource gathering and trade. The mythological excitement begins when players call upon the gods to act on their behalf or reinforce their armies by choosing from among more than
25 mythological creatures. The advanced 3-D engine developed by Ensemble Studios Inc. allows for incredible graphical detail and special effects in this real-time strategy (RTS) game based on ancient Greek, Norse and Egyptian mythologies.

Asherons Call 2

“Asherons Call 2,”
the sequel to the popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG)
“Asherons Call,”
will advance the MMORPG genre with the advanced Turbine Engine G2 graphics engine, providing some of the most sophisticated graphics available on a PC. Scheduled for U.S. release this winter,
“Asherons Call 2”
features a dynamic, evolving fantasy world that reacts to players behavior and actions. Developed by Turbine Entertainment Software Corp., the game includes features such as a revamped combat system and new in-depth crafting system that gives players a chance to pursue noncombative skills.

Combat Flight Simulator 3

Built with the
“Flight Simulator 2002”
physics engine,
“Combat Flight Simulator 3”
furthers Microsofts reputation for building the best-selling PC-based flight simulators franchise.** Developed by Microsoft,
“Combat Flight Simulator 3”
puts players in a dynamic 3-D world and features a new advanced graphics engine designed to showcase realistic low-level terrain, ground objects and superbly detailed aircraft during high-speed, down-and-dirty combat missions.
“Combat Flight Simulator 3”
also updates the franchise with more than 18 realistically rendered World War II aircraft with stunning 3-D cockpits. Combat missions are created dynamically with tactical objectives changing each time the enemy is engaged. Cooperative multiplayer action also brings a heightened sense of excitement and challenge; a squadrons success or failure is tallied into the new Campaign Server, making each mission an important part of
in the European Theater.


Set in the outer reaches of the planetary system,
“Freelancer™ ”
plunges players into a vibrant 3-D universe filled with political intrigue, space combat and an unknown alien menace. Slated for U.S. release in spring 2003 and developed by Digital Anvil, the epic adventure allows players to choose the life of a bounty hunter, trader, pirate or explorer, earning the spoils and enemies that come with each experience. The open-ended style of gameplay gives gamers a choice between following a linear storyline or determining how the story will unfold. The multiplayer component enables players around the globe with their own servers to fly missions or explore space together. An enhanced mouse and keyboard interface simulates the realistic feel of flying a spaceship while making the game accessible to a wide range of gamers.

Impossible Creatures

Set in the 1930s,
“Impossible Creatures”
is a 3-D RTS game that pits players against an evil madman in a desperate campaign across a chain of remote and diverse islands. Using Earths most formidable animals as building blocks, players create an army of genetically altered mutant monsters in a struggle to protect an unsuspecting world.
“Impossible Creatures”
takes the RTS genre to the next level with streamlined, fast-paced combat gameplay. Developed by Relic Entertainment Inc., the title is scheduled for U.S. release in early 2003.

Links 2003

Expanding on the best-selling golf simulator franchise of all time,**
“Links® 2003”
continues the tradition of creating the most realistic golf experience on the PC with improved graphics, a new real-time swing system, six new championship courses, new tour players, high-resolution 3-D characters and expanded online capability. PC golfers will feel as if they are truly on the course surrounded by realistic shadows and chirping birds; gamers will play on detailed grass, sand and water textures. Additional features include
Match Maker, an online service that enables inside-out matchmaking; E-mail Tourney, which lets players set up tournaments via e-mail; a new single-player career mode; and an updated 3-D course designer that gives golfers the freedom to create their own golf course and share it online with friends. Developed by Microsoft,
“Links 2003”
is scheduled to hit stores in the United States this fall.

MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries

“MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries,”
the latest installment of the hugely popular
franchise, combines the popular gun-for-hire theme with an advanced graphics and gameplay engine. Following the rise to power of a newly formed Mercenary MechWarrior Company,
“MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries”
allows players to affiliate with the Northwind Highlanders, Gray Death Legionnaires, Kell Hounds or Wolfs Dragoons to experience a captivating story line that evolves based on players actions during the game. Features include four new weapons, new multiplayer options and a revamped single-player campaign. Developed by Cyberlore Studios Inc. in conjunction with Microsofts FASA Studio,
“MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries”
challenges players to decide whether to remain a neutral party in the conflict or intentionally accept contracts that will set them firmly against one of the great Noble Houses. Completing missions for either side ultimately determines the fate of the players bands of mercenaries, leading up to a final, perilous mission.

RalliSport Challenge

The critically acclaimed off-road rally racing game from Xbox™
has made its way to the PC. Developed by Digital Illusions C.E.,
“RalliSport Challenge”
offers gamers and racing fans a comprehensive, action-packed racing experience. The game provides pulse-pounding excitement by combining four types of rally competition into one game: Hill Climb, Traditional Rallies, RallyCross and Ice Racing. The game challenges players to race 29 fully licensed cars on 48 tracks on all types of terrain. Driving expertise is put to the test as players make their way through a robust career mode with four classes of racing to conquer: Pro, Expert, Classic and Unlimited. Points are earned for each race, which in turn unlocks new cars and allows qualification onto the upper race circuits. The PC version will support network play for up to four competitors.
“RalliSport Challenge”
is scheduled to hit the stores in time for the holiday season.

Rise of Nations

“Rise of Nations™ ”
combines the epic scope of
with the fast-paced action of RTS games. In
“Rise of Nations,”
players build a city and then improve its infrastructure, create new cities and expand national borders. Gamers have the option to win through military might, using everything from slingshots and cannons to stealth bombers, or they can corner the market on key commodities as they wheel and deal with a wide variety of civilizations. Unlike other historical RTS games,
“Rise of Nations”
allows gamers to quickly play through history, from early civilization to the modern age. This latest title from Big Huge Games Inc. founder Brian Reynolds (designer of
“Civilization 2”
“Alpha Centauri”
*) is scheduled for U.S. release in spring 2003.

Zoo Tycoon: Dinosaur Digs

Now on store shelves,
“Zoo Tycoon™ : Dinosaur Digs”
is the latest addition to the
“Zoo Tycoon”
franchise. A fun and creative expansion pack,
“Dinosaur Digs”
works with the existing
“Zoo Tycoon”
game by enabling players to evolve their zoos with more than 20 ferocious dinosaurs and prehistoric beasts. The family-friendly PC game allows players to uncage their imaginations and create the ultimate zoo using dinosaur-themed buildings and attractions, new staff members and prehistoric objects such as volcanoes and tar pits while six new scenarios test their zoo management skills.
“Zoo Tycoon: Dinosaur Digs”
was developed by Blue Fang Games LLC.

About Microsoft Game Studios

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the PC, Xbox video game system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse game portfolios for the PC (, including such franchises as
“Age of Empires® ,” “Flight Simulator”
“Zoo Tycoon”
; Xbox (, including such franchises as
“Halo™ ,” “Project Gotham Racing™ ”
“NFL Fever” ; and (, the official games channel for the MSN®
network and home to such hits as
“Outsmart™ .”

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.

* Although actually designed by Brian Reynolds, the games
“Civilization II”
“Alpha Centauri”
were originally marketed under the
“Sid Meier”
brand, e.g., as Sid Meiers
“Civilization II”
and Sid Meiers
“Alpha Centauri.”

** NPDTechworld, August 1992March 2002. Based on total U.S. retail sales.

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

Microsoft, Age of Mythology, Asherons Call, MechWarrior, Freelancer, Links, Xbox, Rise of Nations, Zoo Tycoon, Age of Empires, Halo, Project Gotham Racing, MSN and Outsmart are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

is a registered trademark of Hasbro Interactive. ALPHA CENTAURI is a registered trademark of Firaxis Games.

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

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsofts corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. Journalists and analysts may contact Microsofts Rapid Response Team for additional assistance.

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