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'POD': The new king of virtual racing.

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 1, 1997--

The Market's Fastest, Richest, Smartest, Most Internet-Capable

Racing Game Hits the Streets April 1st!

Tear around 16 different tracks at up to 280 mph! Hit a pylon or dead car and watch it ricochet off your bumper like the real thing! Play against the smartest computer opponent ever, or race with up to seven friends or strangers over the Internet, local area network, modem, on split screen or a combination of them all! Download new tracks and cars every month!

That's the brave new world of POD, a rip-roaring, eye-popping, Pentium/MMX(TM) technology sci-fi racing game from Ubi Soft Entertainment that pushes the envelope in every aspect of virtual racing: speed, graphics, effects, artificial intelligence, Internet capability, expandability and more.

On MMX(TM) technology based machines, the game sends you hurtling around the track at up to 32 fps or at a blistering maximum of 80 fps with a 3Dfx 3D accelerator card, all to the rumbling accompaniment of Dolby Surround Sound that tells you a car is approaching even before you see it. On Pentium systems 100 MHz and up, you'll average 25 to 27 fps, as much as 30 percent faster than most Pentium racing games.

Developed after a thorough analysis of virtually every racing game on the market in every platform, POD has taken the best features of its forebears and added layers of realism and variety that bring true arcade-class racing to the PC. Thanks to a free matchmaking service called POD-NET that can be accessed either from the Ubi Soft Web site (www.ubisoft.com) or from a Ubi Online direct-connection button in the game interface, it is also the first multi-player racing game directly playable over the Internet without middleman gaming fees.

Creating the Perfect Car

The game takes place sometime in the future on the Planet IO, the victim of a lethal virus called POD that is causing IO's world to disintegrate. Players race for their lives in their choice of eight cars on a succession of 16 tracks in a desperate rush to escape before the planet explodes. The level of the difficulty and the richness of the graphics progress from track to track.

Each car can be modified by changing the settings assigned to grip, acceleration, brakes, handling and speed to create a unique 300-point configuration. The computer then generates the car you've designed to create the appropriate feel when you take the "wheel." Cars react differently on each course, leading to a lot of trial-and-error that keeps the game challenging.

Knock-out Animations

With unparalleled real-time 3D-generated graphics, POD's moving 3D objects and changing backgrounds offer a visual feast. Each track has obstacles such as cones, signs, pylons and abandoned vehicles that really move when you hit them and reappear where they have landed on each successive lap around the track. Moving 3D landmarks such as rotating satellites, flashing neon billboards and spinning nuclear reactors add to the realism and visual interest. Skid marks remain on the road, clouds cast shadows on the ground and tires "smoke" from skids and fast turns.

16 Richly Imagined Tracks

POD's 16 tracks -- more than virtually any game on the market-add another level of visual richness. Lushly displayed in 640 x 480 resolution utilizing a palette of 65,000 colors, the scenes range from abandoned urban refineries to lavish rural hillsides. Each track has distinct obstacles and physical properties that players must learn to prevail.

The visual effects change with every track. In the Canyon environment, light filters through the windshield when you're facing the sun. In the Sewer setting, slime drips out of the sewers on the side of the track when you drive by. On the Cocoon track, where the POD virus is causing the wildlife to mutate, man-sized flies hover at the edge of the track, and a giant spider straddles the screen with his hairy legs.

Higher Intelligence

POD is also equipped with superior artificial intelligence programming that not only allows each vehicle to handle differently according to its custom configuration but also enables computer opponents in single-player mode to adapt to your racing style. Computer-controlled cars will cut you off from your favorite shortcut, force you off the road and use ramps to pass you by. At the easiest of the three difficulty settings, the other vehicles will give you slack; at the hardest, they will use every trick they can to win.

Mix-and-Match Internet Play

POD is among the first games in history to enable players to mix and match their linking options over the Internet, local area network, modem or two-computer direct link connection.

Example: Two people playing in split-screen mode on the same computer can link up with a friend in another city by calling the IP number of a designated server, and that friend can link to gaming colleagues over his corporate LAN. Pre-calculated car movements have been integrated directly into the game engine to conquer latency problems, delivering smooth movements and eliminating system jumping.

Pit Stops at the POD Web Site

In addition to POD-NET's free matchmaking service for POD Internet players, the POD Web site lets you download new vehicles created by other players as well as new tracks and saved races of players from anywhere in the world. (Learn the superstars' secrets by following their ghosts!) Upload your races and compare them against the winners. Participate in contests and championships in real time.

You'll also be able to chat with other POD gamers, view a ranking of all competitors, get the scoop on the making of the game and visit a special "garage" for inside information about customizing the game cars.

Specifications, Pricing

POD will carry an MSRP of $49.95. Minimum system requirements include an MMX 166 or Pentium 100 with 16 MB RAM, a 4X CD-ROM player, a 16-bit sound card and a graphics card capable of displaying 640 x 480 in 16 bits. For more information, contact Ubi Soft at 415/547-4000 or 800/UBI-SOFT or visit the company's Web site at http://www.ubisoft.com. -0-

Ubi Soft Entertainment, a $50 million European-based software publishing and distribution company, was founded in 1986 in France. It is best known in the U.S. for Rayman, a blockbuster action/adventure game for all ages that debuted in 1995. In addition to its U.S. offices in California and its headquarters in France, Ubi Soft has offices in Japan, Germany, Spain, Italy, England, Australia and China.

CONTACT: Ubi Soft Entertainment

Carrie Tice, 415/547-4000, Ext. 215

415/547-4001 (Fax)

E-mail: carriet@ubisoft.com

Web: http://www.ubisoft.com

or

S&S Public Relations, Inc.

Lauren Finkelman/Sophia Chee, 415/773-5359

415/773-5369 (Fax)

E-mail: lauren_finkelman@compuserve.com
COPYRIGHT 1997 Business Wire
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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