NEWS - Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Microsoft Game Studios Leads Way...

'Halo 2,''Fable,' 'Forza Motorsport,' 'Jade Empire' and 'Dungeon Siege 2' Highlight Mixture of Established Franchises and Future Blockbusters LOS ANGELES, May 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft Game Studios today unveiled its product lineup at this year's Electronic Entertainment Exposition (E3), featuring games for the Xbox(R) video game system and Windows(R) operating system. Highlighting the portfolio is one of the century's most anticipated video games, "Halo(R) 2" from Bungie Studios. Today, Microsoft Corp. announced "Forza Motorsport(TM)," an advanced, fully customizable racing simulation developed by Microsoft Game Studios that will be playable over the Xbox Live(TM) service. The lineup also includes three of the most eagerly awaited role-playing games (RPGs) in development: "Fable" for Xbox from Big Blue Box Studios and Lionhead Studios, "Jade Empire" for Xbox from BioWare Corp., and "Dungeon Siege 2" for Windows from Gas Powered Games Corp. (Logo: ) Microsoft's portfolio is a compelling lineup of 13 Xbox and Windows games developed by some of the video game industry's brightest stars, including "Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict" for Xbox from Epic Games Inc.; "Conker(TM): Live and Reloaded" and "Kameo(TM): Elements of Power(TM)" for Xbox from famed developer Rare Ltd.; "Vanguard: Saga of Heroes," a new Windows massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) from Sigil Games Online Inc., founded by the original executive producer and co-creator of "EverQuest"; "MechAssault(R) 2: Lone Wolf" for Xbox from FASA Studio and Day 1 Studios LLC; "Sudeki(TM)," the soon-to-be-released role-playing game for Xbox from Climax Studios Ltd.; "BC" for Xbox from Lionhead Studios and Intrepid Computer Entertainment; and "Zoo Tycoon(TM) 2" for Windows from Blue Fang Games. "At Microsoft Game Studios, our mission is to create excellent and innovative franchises that customers love," said Shane Kim, general manager of Microsoft Game Studios. "Our focus on developing amazing entertainment experiences with the best creative talent in the world is the most important aspect of our strategy to become the premier publisher of interactive entertainment." Ambitious Xbox Games Lineup Microsoft Game Studios offers a prominent lineup of the most anticipated Xbox and Windows games, including the hottest new Xbox exclusives: -- "Halo 2" is the sequel to the highly successful and critically acclaimed game "Halo: Combat Evolved." At the heart of "Halo 2" is a compelling, movielike saga, on par with the great stories told in film. In "Halo 2," the battle moves home to a war-torn Earth, where players utilize new vehicles and weapons to destroy the Covenant. "Halo 2" will utilize Xbox Live in a way that will completely redefine online gameplay. (Bungie Studios, for Xbox, November 2004, rating pending) -- "Forza Motorsport" revs up Xbox gamers who are passionate about cars and racing. "Forza Motorsport" is the ultimate car-lover's playground, letting gamers buy, sell, trade, tune, modify and race their customized car collection. On the track, players experience an impressively accurate simulation, putting their performance-tuned creations to the test against the best the online world has to offer on Xbox Live. (Microsoft Game Studios, for Xbox, winter 2005, rating pending) -- In "Fable," the groundbreaking role-playing adventure game from Big Blue Box and Peter Molyneux's Lionhead Studios, every action determines characters' skills, appearance and morality. Gamers choose the path of righteousness or a life of evil, and watch themselves transform into a reflection of their actions and decisions. (Big Blue Box, for Xbox, fall 2004, Mature) -- From BioWare, the developer of "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic," comes "Jade Empire," a martial-arts-influenced action role- playing game set in the ancient, mysterious world of mythical China. Only by mastering the greatest fighting styles and defeating the most powerful enemies will players earn their place as a master of martial arts in the world of "Jade Empire." (BioWare, for Xbox, spring 2005, rating pending) Other titles in the Microsoft Game Studios portfolio include these: -- "BC" (Microsoft Game Studios, developed by Lionhead Studios' Intrepid Computer Entertainment division). "BC" is an original third-person action-adventure game that hurtles players back millions of years to the beginnings of humankind. Members of a tribe take part in an epic journey of survival, battling against ferocious, prehistoric creatures while exploring and exploiting vast natural environments. (Xbox, 2005, rating pending) -- "Conker: Live and Reloaded" (Microsoft Game Studios, Rare). Gaming's notoriously naughty squirrel, Conker, lands on Xbox with a bang in an all-new Xbox Live-enabled team-based shooter. Also included is the critically acclaimed single-player game "Conker's Bad Fur Day(R)," completely re-created for Xbox with stunning graphics and unparalleled attitude. (Xbox, March 2005, rating pending) -- "Dungeon Siege 2" (Microsoft Game Studios, Gas Powered Games). "Dungeon Siege 2" returns players to the beautiful fantasy land of Aranna, but it is a land scarred by civil war, where the lines between good and evil are blurred. (Windows, holiday 2004, rating pending) -- "Kameo: Elements of Power" (Microsoft Game Studios, Rare). From legendary game developer Rare comes "Kameo: Elements of Power," a larger-than-life journey full of intense combat, magnificent exploration, and innovative morph-into-monster action that allows Kameo to transform into incredible monsters to search out and battle ever-present evil. (Xbox, January 2005, rating pending) -- "MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf" (Microsoft Game Studios, FASA Studio and Day 1 Studios). "MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf" continues the massive structural damage, intense combat and addictive online multiplayer gameplay on Xbox Live that Mech fans have been praising since "MechAssault" first hit Xbox. And now for the first time players can get out of the Mech. (Xbox, January 2005, rating pending) -- "Sudeki" (Microsoft Game Studios, Climax). "Sudeki" pushes the limits of what a role-playing game can be by providing bigger worlds, more powerful heroes and sexier heroines, all set in the context of fantastical real-time action. (Xbox, July 2004, Mature) -- "Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict" (Microsoft Game Studios, Epic Games). "Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict" brings the "Unreal Championship" franchise to Xbox and Xbox Live with bold enhancements to single and multiplayer gameplay, including all-new superagile player acrobatics, a third-person camera mode and intense melee abilities. (Xbox, holiday 2004, rating pending) -- "Vanguard: Saga of Heroes" (Microsoft Game Studios, Sigil Games Online). "Vanguard: Saga of Heroes" represents the next evolutionary leap in massively multiplayer online role-playing games from the original creators of "EverQuest." "Vanguard" is a high-fantasy-themed MMORPG with a heavy focus on character advancement, an immersive world and player interdependence. (Windows, rating pending) -- "Zoo Tycoon 2" (Microsoft Game Studios, Blue Fang). "Zoo Tycoon 2," the newest addition to the massively popular and award-winning "Zoo Tycoon" franchise, provides the ultimate zoo experience. The game now allows players to step into their zoo, where they'll be face-to-face with animals and guests in an all-new 3-D world. (Windows, holiday 2004, rating pending)

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