For Immediate Release


Bethesda Softworks(tm) To Publish Echelon(tm) in North America

Futuristic Flight Combat Game Promises Stunning Graphics and Massive Game Environment

March 20, 2000 (Rockville, MD) -- Bethesda Softworks today announced plans to publish Echelon, a futuristic flight combat game for the PC. Developed by Madia in association with Buka Entertainment, Echelon is the next evolution in futuristic flight combat that delivers the latest technical and game play innovations demanded by today's experienced game playing audience without sacrificing accessibility for newcomers. Players fly a variety of futuristic aircraft through several branching campaigns set on a spectacular continent that takes eight hours of real-time flying to cross.

"Members of the team have worked on games like Microsoft's Fighter Ace and Fighter Wing, but this is something very special. We've never been as excited about a game as we are with Echelon," said Alexander Michailov, Buka's project manager for Echelon. "To us, Echelon features the best of both worlds -- a futuristic feel and unprecedented realism."

Set in the 24th century, players begin the game as a member of a squad and work within their flight to achieve mission objectives. This first-person action game puts the player in tension filled white-knuckle combat over lush alien landscapes and towering cities as a member of an elite fighting force.

Missions are set up as pass/fail and when players achieve success they will move up in rank and qualify to fly other aircraft and command other units. At higher ranks, players will have tactical input on how the available men and equipment will be used to achieve overall mission objectives, in addition to executing the plan they design.

The broad range of selectable player craft includes various flight models -- plane, helicopter, and gravity-defying, futuristic hovercraft -- allowing for variety and challenge throughout the missions. Varied flight models for player craft make for challenging tactical combat in both single-player and multi-player offerings and have been designed to be fully playable with intuitive controls for keyboard, keyboard/mouse, or joystick.

Echelon uses a proprietary 3D graphics engine that allows for spectacular effects, such as dust and particle effects, highly realistic environments, beautiful landscapes, detailed building models, more than 25 types of friendly and enemy craft, 100 vehicles, and over 100 additional objects. In addition to several single-player campaigns, Echelon will support several multiplayer options including deathmatch and co-op modes in a variety of game types.

"We believe gamers will really like the features Echelon brings to the table," said Vlatko Andonov, president of Bethesda Softworks. "The graphics are incredibly smooth, the gameplay is fast-paced, and the different flight models each provide a unique experience. We're very pleased with the way it's shaping up."

Echelon will be released in October 2000 on the PC.

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