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Dawn of a New Age: Age of Empires III Announced for 2005 Release

Ensemble Studios, 1/4/2005

Microsoft Game Studios and Ensemble Studios are proud to announce the return of the king of real-time strategy games: Age of Empires III is scheduled to ship in the second half of 2005. This will be the latest landmark release in the award-winning franchise that has sold a staggering 16 million units worldwide.

Age of Empires III will offer gamers the next level of realism, with advanced battle physics and unparalleled visual detail. The new game picks up where Age of Empires II: Age of Kings left off, placing gamers in the position of a European power determined to explore, colonize and conquer the New World. This time period features stunning scenes, from towering European cathedrals to courageous tribes of Native Americans, and spectacular combat with Industrial Age units like rifled infantry, cavalry and tall ships bristling with cannons.

Age of Empires III will once again demonstrate Ensemble Studios' reputation for excellence and innovation in the real-time strategy (RTS) genre. The game will set a new standard for visual quality and amaze players with detail never before seen in an RTS. Age of Empires III will excite strategy gamers with new game-play elements, including the concept of a "Home City," new civilizations, units, technologies and an immersive new single-player campaign that will span three generations.

Ensemble Studios is one of the world's premier entertainment software developers. Ensemble Studios is best known for its blockbuster Age of Empires game series. Ensemble'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 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, including such franchises as Age of Empires® , Flight Simulator and Zoo Tycoon® ; Xbox, including such games as Fable® and franchises as Halo® , Project Gotham Racing® and MechAssault® ; and MSN® Games, the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as "Bejeweled" and "Hexic™."