REDMOND, Wash., June 10, 1999 — A panel of 32 game journalists today honored Microsoft Corp.'s upcoming space-combat simulation game, "Freelancer," with four coveted 1999 E3.Net Game Critics' awards ( http://www.e3.net/ ) including Best of Show, Best Game, PC, Best Simulation and a special award for Outstanding Achievement in Graphics. Developed by Digital Anvil, an Austin, Texas, entertainment company founded by legendary game designer Chris Roberts, "Freelancer" is a revolutionary space-combat simulation game that provides unprecedented production values within an engrossing sci-fi universe.
"We proudly accept this award on behalf of the talented development team at Digital Anvil," said Ed Fries, general manager of the Microsoft Games Group. "Chris Roberts and his team have deservedly been recognized for creating a fantastic game that will revolutionize the space-combat genre when it is released next year."
"This was the toughest competition in the three-year history of the awards. Every nominee in every category was worthy," said Aaron John Loeb, Game Critics' Award Committee chairman. "The brilliance of the winners and the incredible nominees just go to show how far the games industry has evolved in such a short time."
"Freelancer" has emerged as one of the most talked-about games, following its showing at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E 3 ), held last month in Los Angeles. "Freelancer" features a vastly detailed 3-D sci-fi universe and innovative gameplay intertwined with an intriguing story line.
While "Freelancer" isn't scheduled to be released until late 2000, gamers can get a taste of what's in store in it this holiday season with the release of "Starlancer," also developed by Digital Anvil. Set in our solar system 150 years in the future, "Starlancer" chronicles the early struggles in the "Freelancer" universe. "Starlancer" combines the intense action of a first-person space-combat game with the drama and intrigue of a classic World War II air-combat movie. As part of a rag-tag squadron, "Starlancer" pilots will find themselves dogfighting for control of Earth, Mars and other planets.
In addition to the special achievements for "Freelancer," five other Microsoft games and game devices - all available this fall - were selected as nominees in four categories:
Best New Peripheral, for Microsoft
Best Strategy Game, for "Age of Empires® II: The Age of Kings," the anticipated sequel to the best-selling "Age of Empires" strategy game, scheduled to be released this holiday. "Age of Empires II" is being developed by Dallas-based Ensemble Studios.
Best Online Only Game, for the "Asheron's Call TM " online multiplayer game, an epic role-playing game for the MSN TM Gaming Zone, where thousands of players are drawn together within a 3-D fantasy world. "Asheron's Call" is being developed by Turbine Entertainment Software.
Best Puzzle Game, for "Pandora's Box," a graphically rich and challenging series of puzzles created by famed Tetris designer Alexey Pajitnov
The E3.Net Game Critics' Awards, sponsored this year by UGO Networks, are collectively nominated and voted upon by an independent group of 32 consumer game critics from various publications and media, including industry magazines, both print and online. Over
the past two years, the awards have become the toast of the E 3 by singling out the top products across all platforms and genres.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
Microsoft, "SideWinder," Intellimouse, "Age of Empires," "Asheron's Call" and MSN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Other product and company names herein may be 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.