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EA's Westwood Announces 100,000-Person Test For 'Earth & Beyond'

by Rainier on May 10, 2002 @ 10:46 a.m. PDT

Westwood Studios announced today plans to expand the public test of Earth & Beyond to 100,000 players before it's released this fall. Earth & Beyond is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game and will be published by Electronic Arts under the EA GAMES brand in August 2002.

Gamers can sign up to be testers HERE. Thousands of users will be selected every month until 100,000 testers are participating.

Players captain their own starships and live star-spanning adventures as they explore, trade and fight with thousands of others. Testers will be part of the creation process and will see the universe take shape around them as the developers add more sectors, planets, missions, quests, monsters, characters, features, evolving plot lines and more.

Testers will also become founding members of the Earth & Beyond community, giving them access to exclusive game information, contests, message boards, chats with the development team and special offers from EA.

The Earth & Beyond development team continues to add new features to the game and testers have seen (and helped to improve) these recent additions:

  • A galactic navigation system - Players have instant access to a map of the galaxy that grows with every new sector they visit. It also serves as an auto-pilot, making for easy navigation across the stars.
  • Fully-customizable avatars and starships - Players can customize their ships and avatars in thousand of ways, everything from choosing the body type and color, to mounting hundreds of different weapons, shields, engines and exotic technologies.
  • New player ships - All player ships were designed by Doug Chiang, the Academy Award(tm) winning art director of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
  • Expanded avatar interaction - Players now see a visual representation of their character when outside their starship, and can interact with other players and game characters while inside a starbase.
  • More than 40 unique skills - Each player archetype now has more than 40 skills and abilities to use while fighting, trading and exploring the galaxy.

Westwood has been hosting a server stress test of Earth & Beyond since August 2001. Initially, the test was to measure stability and test gameplay mechanics. It was open only to employees of EA, but has grown in recent months to include more than 15,000 public testers.

More information about Earth & Beyond can be found at the game's official Web site.

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