Bright Lights, Hot Games: Microsoft PC Games Unveils 2002--2003 Titles
Top PC Game Developers Join Microsoft at International Games Festival
"Our deep, diverse portfolio of vividly imaginative games demonstrates the strength and creativity of Microsoft's development studios, as well as the rich potential of the PC platform," said Stuart Moulder, general manager of Microsoft Game Studios. "Microsoft's International Games Festival will be the media's first peek at our 2002 and 2003 titles and the perfect opportunity for our fantastic developers and their games to shine."
Microsoft products highlighted during the Microsoft PC Games International Games Festival included the following:
"Rise of Nations." "Rise of Nations," unveiled today, combines the epic scope of "Civilization" with the fast-paced action of real-time strategy games. In "Rise of Nations," players build a city and then improve its infrastructure, create new communities 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 real-time strategy 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 II" and "Alpha Centauri,"* is scheduled for release in spring 2003.
"Age of Mythology." "Age of Mythology," scheduled for release in the fall, transports players to a time when heroes battled with monsters of legend and gods intervened in the affairs of mortals. Players create armies, develop civilizations through 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 20 mythological creatures. Ensemble Studios' advanced 3-D engine adds a deep richness of graphical detail to a never-before-experienced, real-time strategy game based on the ancient Greek, Norse and Egyptian cultures.
"Asheron's Call 2." "Asheron's Call® 2," the sequel to the popular "Asheron's Call" announced today and scheduled for beta release this winter, features a dynamic, evolving world that reacts to player behavior and actions; the advanced massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Turbine Engine G2 graphics engine; a revamped combat system; and a new in-depth crafting system that gives players a chance to pursue noncombative skills.
Following world devastation, "Asheron's Call 2" challenges players to determine where and how the world is restored. Players also must deal with ongoing events, including such world-shaking calamities as blizzards, volcanoes and hordes of invading forces. Players can align with one of three kingdoms and battle both monsters and opposing players to capture and control precious resources -- and ultimately, survive.
"Combat Flight Simulator 3." "Combat Flight Simulator 3," also announced today for release this fall, features an advanced graphics engine designed to showcase realistic terrain, ground objects and detailed aircraft during high-speed, low-altitude combat missions. Coupled with the "Flight Simulator 2002" physics engine, "Combat Flight Simulator 3" continues to build on Microsoft's reputation for building the world's best-selling PC-based flight simulators. "Combat Flight Simulator 3" also updates the "Combat Flight Simulator" franchise with 18 realistically rendered World War II aircraft and character role-playing attributes that change throughout the course of the war campaign.
Set from 1943 to the end of the war, "Combat Flight Simulator 3" puts players in the role of a fighter, ground attack or bomber pilot for the U.S. Army Air Force, Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) or the German Luftwaffe. Gamers feel the heart-pounding rush of low-to-the-ground air combat over the European countryside while flying missions focused around air superiority, close air support and low-altitude tactical bombing.
"Dungeon Siege." "Dungeon Siege," expected to hit stores in April, plunges players into a continuous 3-D fantasy world on a quest to stop evil. This fast-action role-playing game starts players with a single character. As they travel through the world, players can gather a party of as many as eight characters who work together on the quest. "Dungeon Siege" drives players into one over-the-top battle after another as the storyline seamlessly unfolds.
"Freelancer." Slated for fall release, "Freelancer (TM) ," an epic adventure set in the outer reaches of the planetary system, plunges players into a vibrant 3-D universe filled with political intrigue, space combat and an unknown alien menace. With its dynamic reputation and random missions, "Freelancer" 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 their story will unfold. The multiplayer component lets friends fly missions or explore together on their own persistent world servers.
"Impossible Creatures." Set in the 1930s, "Impossible Creatures" is a 3-D, real-time strategy (RTS) game that pits players against an evil madman in a desperate campaign across a chain of remote and diverse islands. Using Earth's 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. The title is scheduled for release this summer.
"Links 2003." "Links® 2003," the newest version of the best-selling golf simulator franchise of all time, continues the "Links" tradition of creating the most realistic golf experience on the PC. "Links 2003" will feature improved graphics, six all-new championship courses, 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, they'll be playing on the most detailed grass, sand and water textures around. "Links 2003" is expected to hit stores this fall.
"Zoo Tycoon: Dinosaur Digs." "Zoo Tycoon (TM) : Dinosaur Digs," slated for May release, 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 foliage and tar pits, while six new scenarios test their zoo management skills.
"MechWarrior 4 Inner Sphere 'Mech Pak'." "MechWarrior® 4 Inner Sphere 'Mech Pak'" features four new Inner Sphere "Mechs," as selected by fans. The new release features updated technologies to confuse enemies and inflict maximum damage. The Pak also features a Coliseum multiplayer map where players fight against one another in a gladiator arena. "MechWarrior 4 Inner Sphere 'Mech Pak'" is scheduled for release in May.
Zone.com. Zone.com (http://www.zone.com/ ) is Microsoft's online games site, providing free membership and a wide variety of games to its more than 25 million members. Zone.com is a destination for online entertainment with 130 games ranging from card and board games, such as hearts and checkers -- to enhanced PC games. It also offers massive multiplayer games for gamers who are interested in role-playing and developing characters in an entirely virtual world. About the Microsoft PC Games Group
The Microsoft PC Games group, part of Microsoft Game Studios, comprises many of the industry's top development studios. Committed to publishing a diverse PC games portfolio, Microsoft Game Studios develops, publishes and distributes such award-winning franchises as "Flight Simulator," "Age of Empires®," "Links," "MechWarrior" and "Zoo Tycoon," as well as original titles across all genres. More information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/games/ .