Big Huge News! Rise of Nations Successor Joins Premier Lineup of Microsoft Games for Windows at E3
Microsoft Game Studios is proud to announce the stunning, all-new successor to Rise of Nations, which won multiple awards for Real-Time Strategy Game of the Year in 2003. The new game, Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends, promises to reinvent the RTS genre once again with a game that immerses players in an epic fantasy war between the forces of Magic and Technology. Gamers fight through towering cities, flame-swept deserts and brutal ice plains in battles filled with mystical creatures, devastating machines and incredible acts of magic. Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends will raise the bar in the RTS genre with jaw-dropping graphics from an all-new 3-D engine, immersive in-game cinematics, integrated story-driven gameplay, a multiplayer mode for fast-paced games and clan support to build online communities.

Today Microsoft Game Studios is also announcing an exciting expansion to the wildly popular, award-winning Zoo Tycoon 2. Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species will let zookeepers adopt and raise some of the world’s rarest animals, such as the Giant Galapagos Tortoise and the Scimitar Horned Oryx. The upcoming expansion will bring zookeepers and their guests closer than ever to these amazing animals, thanks to new transportation options including sky trams and vehicle tours. With more than a dozen exotic new animals, innovative new people-movers and new challenges in the Campaign and Freeform modes, players and their families will have a huge variety of new options for building their dream zoo.

In addition to these titles, Microsoft Game Studios will showcase Age of Empires III, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, Dungeon Siege II and Fable: The Lost Chapters at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). These breakthrough titles once again demonstrate that some of the best and most innovative gaming experiences are on the Windows platform. Today’s announcement underscores Microsoft’s continued commitment to delivering top-notch games for Windows – a platform that boasts an installed base of more than 81 million home computers in North America, which is larger than all three major gaming consoles combined. This killer lineup of Windows games means that 2005 and 2006 promise to be great years for Windows gamers.

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Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends
Developed by Big Huge Games – the veteran design team responsible for such hits as Civilization II, Colonization and Alpha Centauri – Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends will evolve the franchise’s trademark features such as borders, large-scale battles and city-building in innovative ways. Players will be able to transform small villages into powerful civilizations and lead vast fantasy armies into strategic battles using formations, unit control and heroic abilities to destroy the enemy. The immensely popular Conquer the World (CTW) Campaign returns in Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends with exciting updates. The new CTW Campaign will guide players through a new world of heroes, monsters, loyalty and betrayal. Gamers will follow a gripping story through multiple campaigns with fascinating subplots and heroic characters. The campaigns will immerse players in an ever-changing three-dimensional world with terrain and cities that evolve as civilizations grow. For more information, visit www.riseofnations.com or www.bighugegames.com/

Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species
Calling all zookeepers: Some of the rarest and most exotic species are now up for adoption! Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species will put players’ zookeeper skills to the test caring for endangered animals like the playful Orangutan, elusive Gray Wolves, mysterious Florida panther and fearsome Komodo Dragons. Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species will challenge players of all ages to nurture and raise these rapidly disappearing animals to save them from extinction. Zookeepers will be able to get closer than ever to their prized animals with observation decks and bridges over exhibits, as well as sky trams and vehicle tours that afford guests an outstanding view while preserving the animals’ delicate habitats. For more information, visit www.zootycoon2.com

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
One of the most visually spectacular and ambitious MMOs ever conceived, Vanguard is being developed by one of the world’s most talented and experienced online game design studios: Sigil Games Online. Vanguard will be the premier, third-generation MMO on the Windows platform by featuring a full spectrum of life in a fantasy world, from crafting to combat, all the way up to politics and city building. Vanguard will combine next-generation 3-D graphics with a vast, majestic and detailed fantasy world, passionately designed by award-winning artist Keith Parkinson.

The design team at Sigil Games has more than 150 man-years of MMO experience that encompasses such titles as EverQuest, Star Wars Galaxies and Planetside. Vanguard will let players embark on a wild journey of unlimited imagination where they can make their mark on a world and shape its future. For more information, visit www.vanguardsoh.com/

Age of Empires III
All hail the return of the real-time strategy king! Age of Empires III is the latest landmark game in the award-winning series that has sold an amazing 16 million copies worldwide. Age of Empires III will rock the L.A. Convention Center with its unprecedented graphics and revolutionary gameplay features, including the all-new Home City. Players will forge alliances with Native Americans, bombard enemies with artillery and naval armadas, and use cavalry and bayonet charges to break up enemy lines. For more information, visit www.ensemblestudios.com.

Dungeon Siege II
Chris Taylor and his team at Gas Powered Games return players to the lush, interactive world of Aranna in Dungeon Siege II, with a new special effects engine, cinematic storytelling, Hero Powers, and exotic pets that will grow with the player’s combat party. The new game features a deep story, an extensive new character development system, gigantic monsters, dazzling special effects and more. For more information, visit www.dungeonsiege.com

Fable: The Lost Chapters
Fable: The Lost Chapters is the groundbreaking role-playing adventure game from Lionhead Studios based on the award-winning Xbox game that sold more than 1.5 million copies. Now on the Windows platform, Fable looks better than ever and features a wealth of new content including exciting quests and new armor, weapons, spells, areas and enemies. Fable: The Lost Chapters is scheduled to be released this fall. For more information, visit www.microsoft.com/games/fable/default.asp

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox® video game system, the Windows® operating system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse games for Windows (http://www.microsoft.com/games), including such franchises as Age of Empires®, Flight Simulator and Zoo Tycoon®; Xbox (http://www.xbox.com), including such games as Fable® and franchises such as Halo®, Project Gotham Racing® and MechAssault®; and MSN® Games (http://www.games.msn.com), the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as “Bejeweled” and “Hexic™.”
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