Microsoft releases Age of Empires II

Microsoft Corporation has released the eagerly awaited and oft-delayed Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, the sequel to the best-selling Age of Empires, one the biggest causes of lost productivity since Solitaire debuted in Windows a decade ago. The game follows history from the fall of Rome through the Middle Ages, allowing players to "lead one of thirteen civilizations into greatness."

"The first 'Age of Empires' really struck a chord among gamers," says Ed Fries, the general manager of Microsoft's Games group. "Not only did 3 million fans around the globe acquire the game, but hundreds of them spent their time building dedicated Web sites for it. During the development of 'Age of Empires II' these loyal fans provided us with all sorts of ideas on how to make their favorite game even better as we brought it into a new era, the Middle Ages."

Age of Empires II features historical figures such as Joan of Arc and Genghis Khan in historically accurate campaigns, more sophisticated artificial intelligence, Internet multiplayer capability, and a new non-linear gameplay system that allows different tactics to achieve victory.

The game costs approximately $45 and is now available in major retail stores. For more information, please visit the Age of Empires II Web site

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