â€œAge of Empires IIIâ€ Expands Into the Eastern World This Fall
Big Huge Games to develop second expansion pack for massively popular Games for Windows franchise.
REDMOND, Wash. â€” May 18, 2007 â€” Pack your bags â€” â€œAge of EmpiresÂ® IIIâ€ is heading east. Microsoft Game Studios, Ensemble Studios and Big Huge Games Inc. today unveiled the first details about â€œAge of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties,â€ the second expansion pack for the top-selling â€œAge of Empires IIIâ€ that arrives on MicrosoftÂ® WindowsÂ® XP- and Windows Vistaâ„¢-based PCs this fall. The expansion pack will introduce gamers to Asian civilizations, a host of new gameplay features, and a new developer that will provide a unique spin to a classic favorite.
Players will experience firsthand the rich and historical influences of Asia while commanding their units and expanding their empire in the Eastern world. The latest expansion pack will be the first â€œAge of Empiresâ€ title developed by Big Huge Games, the development studio responsible for the incredibly popular real-time strategy franchise â€œRise of NationsÂ®.â€
â€œWeâ€™re honored to have the opportunity to develop â€˜Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynastiesâ€™ with Ensemble Studios and confident that the innovation of both teams will deliver an exciting experience for fans of this franchise,â€ said Brian Reynolds, chief executive officer and creative director of Big Huge Games. â€œWe feel that the in-depth experience of Big Huge Games in the real-time strategy genre, combined with the solid reputation of the â€˜Age of Empiresâ€™ franchise, will result in something fresh and unique for gamers.â€
In addition to the introduction of playable Asian civilizations, the expansion pack will provide new content and several new gameplay elements that include new ways of winning and trading, random map styles that feature remixes of classic â€œAge of Empiresâ€ game styles, and 15 new Asian â€œWonders.â€ The introduction of these features will coincide with the basic core gameplay of â€œAge of Empires IIIâ€ that gamers have come to know and love. â€œAge of Empires III: The Asian Dynastiesâ€ will also ship as a Games for Windows title with easier installation, improved reliability and support for key Windows Vista features, including the Games Explorer and Parental Controls.
â€œThe success of â€˜Age of Empires IIIâ€™ has given us the opportunity to expand the gameplay further and offer a fresh perspective through this expansion pack created by Big Huge Games,â€ said Bruce Shelley, lead designer, Ensemble Studios. â€œWeâ€™re delighted to have them work on this project with us and certain that they will deliver a great addition to the franchise.â€
â€œAge of Empires III,â€ which launched in October 2005, is one of the fastest-selling titles in the franchiseâ€™s history, placing gamers in the position of a European power struggling to explore, colonize and conquer North and South America, roughly during the time period of 1500 to 1850. The game has garnered numerous awards, including GameSpyâ€™s 2005 Top Ten PC Games of the Year and PC Gamerâ€™s Editorsâ€™ Choice. It has sold more than 2 million copies to date and is currently among the top-selling titles for Games for Windows. In addition, the first expansion pack, titled â€œAge of Empires III: The WarChiefs,â€ was released for the game last fall.
About Big Huge Games
Founded by four veteran game developers who together have brought strategy gamers such classic hits as Rise of Nations, Alpha CentauriÂ®, and Civilization IIÂ®, Big Huge Games is a video game studio focused on cutting-edge technology and aimed at mass-market game development. Big Huge Games founders Brian Reynolds, Jason Coleman, David Inscore and Tim Train continue in the tradition of creating inspired and innovative games for PC and next-generation consoles. Creating games that have received numerous â€œGame of the Yearâ€ awards and accolades, Big Huge Games is headquartered in Timonium, Maryland. For more information about Big Huge Games, please visit http://www.bighugegames.com.
About Ensemble Studios
Ensemble Studios (http://www.ensemblestudios.com) is one of the worldâ€™s premier entertainment software developers. Ensemble Studios is known for its blockbuster â€œAge of Empiresâ€ and â€œAge of MythologyÂ®â€ game series, as well as the upcoming â€œHaloÂ® Wars.â€ Ensembleâ€™s titles are distinguished by the highest-quality art and gameplay dynamics applied in familiar historical settings, and appeal to hard-core gamers and mass audiences. Ensemble Studios is based in Dallas, Texas.
Microsoft Game Studios
Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the XboxÂ® and Xbox 360â„¢ video game systems, 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 â€œAge of Empires,â€ â€œFlight Simulatorâ€ and â€œZoo TycoonÂ®â€; Xbox and Xbox 360 (http://www.xbox.com), including such games as â€œGears of Warâ€ and franchises such as â€œHalo,â€ â€œFableÂ®,â€ â€œProject Gotham RacingÂ®â€ and â€œForza MotorsportÂ®â€; and MSNÂ® Games (http://www.games.msn.com), the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as â€œBejeweledâ€ and â€œHexicÂ®.â€
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq â€œMSFTâ€) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.