Further increasing its commitment to PC games, Microsoft Corp. today announced the addition of internationally renowned games designer Alexey Pajitnov to the games group, as well as new relationships with gaming companies Monolith Productions Inc., Rebellion Developments Ltd. and Strategic Studies Group Pty Ltd. (SSG).
Pajitnov is best known as the creator of TETRIS, the world's most popular electronic game, with sales of more than 40 million copies. The Soviet-born software designer also created WELLTRIS, HATRIS, FACES, KNIGHT MOVE, ELFISH and FIRE & ICE. Now a resident of Washington state, Pajitnov has joined Microsoft to develop a series of mind-teaser and puzzle games.
"Alexey's is one of the most original minds in the business," said Ed Fries, general manager of the games group at Microsoft. "We're delighted to have him contribute his unmatched knowledge and experience to help us create exciting new games."
Three new relationships will enable Microsoft to offer an unprecedented range of strategy and action games to users who crave unremitting game play and stimulating visual and audio effects.
Microsoft will work with Rebellion Developments Ltd. of Oxford, England, to bring a world-class, real-time strategy game to market. The new game, code-named "Devil's Own," will test the skills of gamers while taking advantage of all the benefits of the Microsoft® Windows® 95 operating system. In Devil's Own, the player controls a large force of robot soldiers in a battleground of the future. Players must use scarce resources to accomplish a series of missions. A leading game designer in the United Kingdom, Rebellion has created cutting-edge games, such as Alien vs. Predator, that offer a level of graphical execution normally associated with movies, and pure-thrill playability second to none. The Alien vs. Predator video game from Rebellion has won many prestigious awards, including Action Adventure Game of the Year from Game Informer, Best Action Game from Die Hard Game Fan and Best Action/Adventure Category from Game Players.
In addition to working with Rebellion, Microsoft has also formed a relationship with Monolith Productions Inc., a Kirkland, Wash.-based computer game software and entertainment company, to develop an action game code-named "MetalTek." Monolith specializes in
Windows 95 and DirectX? technologies, and was responsible for designing and producing the Windows 95 Game Sampler CD and the Windows 95 Game Sampler CD II projects for Microsoft. MetalTek will take full advantage of Windows 95, delivering superb 3-D graphics, the ultimate experience under hardware acceleration, and full use of ActiveX?; and DirectX technologies.
Strategic Studies Group Pty. Ltd. (SSG), a world leader in the strategy game market, represents the third developer relationship announced today. Founded in Australia in 1982, SSG became famous for developing Reach for the Stars, a game of interstellar exploration and conquest that has become a classic space-genre game. Revered by its huge number of fans and still considered the benchmark against which other space games are compared, Reach for the Stars has inspired players to maintain outdated computer systems just so they can continue to play it.
Thanks to SSG's relationship with Microsoft, loyal fans will no longer have to go to such extremes to enjoy their favorite game. The two companies will develop a Windows 95-based version of Reach for the Stars using Microsoft DirectX technology. The new version is expected to offer a range of improvements and enhancements - from state-of-the-art Super VGA graphics to network, modem and Internet play.