Lions, Tigers and “Impossible Creatures” Roar Into Stores Today

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 8, 2003 — Imagine a world where great white sharks stalk on land, hippopotamuses soar overhead with bat-like wings, and rhinoceroses move with the speed and agility of leopards. Today, Microsoft Corp. announced the retail availability of just such a place in
“Impossible Creatures.”

Developed by Relic Entertainment Inc.,
“Impossible Creatures”
is an imaginative computer game that breathes new life into the real-time strategy (RTS) genre by introducing the Creature Combiner, a tool that merges the features and capabilities of more than 50 of Earth’s most formidable animals to create thousands of bizarre and fantastic units. Gamers command their unique army of bizarre beasts in 15 single-player battles against an evil madman, or against other players in fast-paced online skirmishes brought to life by each player’s imagination and a powerful 3-D graphics engine.

“With ‘Impossible Creatures,’ we’ve created the RTS for everyone — a game that will appeal to those who’ve only played a computer game once or twice as well as hard-core gamers who play more than 30 hours a week,”
said Alex Garden, CEO of Relic Entertainment.
“Because we’ve based our custom units on something everyone knows — animals — players intuitively understand the strengths and weaknesses of the ‘Impossible Creatures,’ and can quickly adapt strategies. The result is a fast-paced battle that’s never the same game twice.”

Players create personalized armies featuring customized units. For example, gamers looking for a strong aerial attack can create a rhino with the wings of a snowy owl; or, if they want to launch an amphibious assault on an opponent’s base, they can mutate a killer whale with the arms and legs of a silverback gorilla.

Relic Entertainment also has launched Relic Developer’s Network (RDN), a unique Web site dedicated to letting players express their creativity by modifying games released by the company. The RDN site ( http://www.relic.com/rdn/index.php ) currently features a suite of tools, including mission, objects, FX and sound editors, empowering players to design their own games based on Relic Entertainment’s technology.

“‘Impossible Creatures’ is a great addition to Microsoft Game Studios’ diverse portfolio of PC games,”
said Stuart Moulder, general manager of Microsoft Game Studios at Microsoft.
“Top to bottom, from the innovative Creature Combiner to the fast-paced gameplay and the stunning 3-D graphics engine, ‘Impossible Creatures’ represents the next level of real-time strategy gameplay.”

More information on
“Impossible Creatures”
is available on the official Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/games/impossiblecreatures/ .

Availability

“Impossible Creatures”
will be available at leading retailers nationwide, including Best Buy Company Inc., Electronics Boutique and Circuit City Stores Inc., on Jan. 8 for an estimated retail price of $44.95 (U.S.).* The game is rated “Teen” by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

About Relic Entertainment

Relic Entertainment Inc., a leading-edge developer of electronic entertainment software founded in 1997 and led by Alex Garden, developed
“Impossible Creatures.”
Relic’s debut product,
“Homeworld,”
launched in the fall of 1999 and has since been recognized dozens of times, including winning 1999’s Game of the Year award from PC Gamer and 1999’s Strategy Game of the Year from Computer Gaming World. Relic currently has two new games under development. It has gained a reputation as one of the best game development studios in the world. Relic is located on the Internet at http://www.relic.com/ .

About Microsoft Game Studios

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the PC, Xbox (TM) 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 ( http://www.microsoft.com/games/ ,) including such franchises as
“Age of Empires® ,” “Flight Simulator”
and
“Zoo Tycoon (TM)”
; Xbox ( http://www.xbox.com/ ), including such franchises as
“Halo (TM) ,” “Project Gotham Racing (TM)”
and
“NFL Fever”
; and Zone.com ( http://www.zone.com/ ), the official games channel for the MSN®
network and home to such hits as “Bejeweled” and “OutSmart (TM) .”

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) 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.

* Actual retail prices may vary.

Microsoft, Xbox, Age of Empires, Zoo Tycoon, Halo, Project Gotham Racing, MSN and OutSmart 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.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft®
Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.asp .

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