The Ultimate Space Adventure Begins As PC Game “Freelancer” Hits Store Shelves

REDMOND, Wash., March 4, 2003 — Prepare to unlock a universe of possibilities as
“Freelancer (TM) ,”
the latest PC game from Microsoft Corp., lands on store shelves today. With
“Freelancer,”
players can embark on an epic space adventure that puts them in the space pilot’s seat as never before.
“Freelancer,”
developed by Digital Anvil and Microsoft Game Studios, enables gamers to experience the adrenaline rush of fast-action combat with the engrossing story of a dynamic living universe. Players assume the identities of a variety of characters — from crafty traders and naval officers to galactic explorers and bounty hunters — and those identities determine which allies and enemies players will encounter in the game.

Players also can join friends in cooperative missions via multiplayer gameplay and experience a world that changes around them based on the reputations they establish. One of the most highly anticipated titles of 2003,
“Freelancer”
features easy-to-use keyboard and mouse controls, eye-popping graphics and an incredibly huge universe that players can explore for hours on end.

“‘Freelancer’ offers the freedom for players to make their own stories,”
said Phil Wattenbarger, project lead for Microsoft’s Digital Anvil studio.
“We want players to feel like they are in a real place, where what they do and who they talk to leads to an experience that’s uniquely their own.” “Freelancer”
features the voice talents of such actors as George Takei (
“Star Trek”
), as conflicted Lord Hakkera; Xander Berkeley (
“24”
), as rough-edged pilot Dexter; Ian Ziering (
“Beverly Hills 90210”
), as hero Edison Trent; and Michael T. Weiss (
“The Pretender”
), as Orillion, the mysterious leader of The Order. Boasting hundreds of unique personalities throughout its universe,
“Freelancer”
offers countless possibilities for social interaction with distinctive and engaging characters.

“Anticipation for ‘Freelancer’ is high, which is in part due to the unique way people can experience the game, either by following a narrative line or by exploring this massive, open-ended universe,”
said Stuart Moulder, general manager for PC games at Microsoft Game Studios.
“‘Freelancer’ gives PC gamers complete freedom to experience the game in their own way and at their own pace. It is this creative freedom that players crave and something that will set the stage for future PC games development.”

“Freelancer”
is available at leading North American retailers for an estimated retail price of $54.95 (U.S.) and is rated
“Teen.”

Since forming an initial alliance in 1997, Microsoft and Digital Anvil have collaborated on developing groundbreaking games for the PC. In December 2000, Microsoft acquired Digital Anvil and with it the rights to
“Freelancer”
and
“Brute Force (TM)”
for the Xbox (TM) video game system. As an internal development studio within Microsoft Game Studios, Digital Anvil continues its commitment to next-generation gaming with its top-notch creative and technical talent. As part of Microsoft, Digital Anvil’s developers now have full access to resources and infrastructure that allow them to fully realize their creative vision.

More information about
“Freelancer”
can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/games/freelancer/ .

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 ( 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.

Microsoft, Freelancer, Brute Force, 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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