Virgin signs with Illusion Machines to develop DAWN OF WAR, a real-time combat strategy game set in the Stone Age

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Irvine, CA, May 1997 -- Virgin Interactive announced that it has inked a deal with Illusion Machines Inc. to create DAWN OF WAR (working title), a real-time combat strategy and resource management game that will have players vying for ultimate supremacy in a mythical Stone Age world.

The new partnership will bring together the publishers of the best-selling COMMAND AND CONQUER combat strategy game with the design team behind the gaming classic WING COMMANDER II. DAWN OF WAR is currently under development for Windows 95 PC CD ROM and is expected to be released in early 1998.

Based in Austin, Texas, Illusion Machines was founded in 1993 by Ellen Guon Beeman and Stephen Beeman, industry veterans who have worked at a number of leading interactive entertainment companies, including Origin, where they were responsible for the creation of the best-selling WING COMMANDER II title.

In addition to the founders, the DAWN OF WAR development team includes Denis Loubet, the lead artist on the ULTIMA Series and the original WING COMMANDER games, and Benjamin Ellinger, lead designer and programmer, among others.

"Illusion Machines' ability to deliver stellar game design, artistic vision and state-of-the-art technology make it one of the hottest development houses in our industry," said Simon Jeffery, vice president of marketing of Virgin Interactive. "Our own publishing strength in the combat strategy genre combined with Illusion Machines' development expertise make for an incredibly dynamic partnership."

DAWN OF WAR is a sophisticated combat strategy and resource management game set on a treacherous, primordial Earth where adept Cro-Magnons, powerful Neanderthals and quick, vicious Saurians (a race of humanoid dinosaurs) struggle to gain supremacy. Players select their race of choice and begin with a small tribe that they must defend, procreate and manage to expand their realm of power. The tribe members are highly complex individuals, each with their own intelligence, personality and the ability to grow smarter over time. In addition to honing their brute strength and increasing their numbers, tribes must utilize strategic planning skills to satiate their ever-expanding need for resources. Moreover, they must overcome a variety of primordial challenges, including ravenous dinosaurs that can be turned to their advantage, flowing lava, bubbling tar pits and cataclysmic floods. DAWN OF WAR features highly realistic character animations, 3-D terrains and stunning 16-bit imagery. The title can be played with up to eight players over a network or the Internet or one-on-one against the game's sophisticated artificial intelligence, which will not only perform devastating counter-attacks, but will also launch surprise attacks, feints and raiding missions against the player.

"We're extremely pleased to be working with Virgin to deliver DAWN OF WAR," said Guon Beeman, president and co-founder of Illusion Machines. "We have assembled a very talented group of designers, programmers and artists to make DAWN OF WAR one of the most addictive and sophisticated combat strategy games ever."

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Illusion Machines Inc., founded in 1993, develops stand-alone and Internet entertainment software for the Microsoft Windows 95 platform. Most recently, they provided MicroProse with technology and production services for THIS MEANS WAR!. They currently have an on-line product awaiting release from Microsoft in addition to Virgin Interactive's DAWN OF WAR.

Founded in 1983, Virgin Interactive is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of award-winning computer and video games. The company is dedicated to delivering top quality, ground-breaking interactive entertainment to gamers across all major platforms. Among VI's hits are such pioneering titles as THE 7TH GUEST and Westwood Studios' successful COMMAND AND CONQUER franchise.

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