Virtrium LLC - Rick Simmons, President / CEO, rick.simmons@virtrium.com


April 14, 2008 PHOENIX, Arizona – Virtrium LLC, developers of online game technologies and products, announced today that they are changing the name of "Horizons" to "Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted."

"We've always felt that it made more sense to have a name that reflected what the game was about," said Rick Simmons, President of Virtrium. "And our game is about Istaria, and the stories of the people who inhabit the world. It's always been confusing why the name of the game was "Horizons", but our website domain was "istaria.com", and our main focus was about Istaria and the Gifted. We've decided to change the name so that it makes a little more sense."

The game, originally developed by Artifact Entertainment, was purchased by Virtrium in September, 2007. Since then the development team has brought new life back to a world many thought of as stagnant, and even dying. "We've seen some real growth in the game in our first few months of ownership," Mr. Simmons said, "Players have responded well to this growth, with many of them returning to the game and official forums to comment."

From one returning player: "It's exciting to see what's been happening...as a returning player with many old accounts, I popped in to see how it was all going and decided to reactivate some of my characters. The sound of wings flying over the Saritova Islands just got a little louder, along with some very creaky old Saris brain muscles being stretched. Seeing devs who actually care about the game is heartening, and I'm happy to see the 'resurrection' happen. Keep up the great work !!"

The development team has shown a refocus on storytelling through an MMO world. Heather "Velea" Rothwell had this to say about the new storyline focus. "Our most recent triumph is being able to bring players who had once held characters on the European shard, Unity, over to play on our US shards, Order or Chaos. This is something players from overseas have waited a long time for, and we're pleased that we can offer them the characters they'd worked hard to develop back. But we didn't just bring those players back, we brought them back with a story of where they'd been, and why they came to the US shards."

"Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted" continues to hold a unique niche in the MMO market as one of the only games with playable dragons as a race. As a Dragon, players begin as a hatchling, and progress through game play to become flying Ancient Dragons. The crafting and building systems in Istaria continues to hold strong appeal for the player community. Players may own and build upon their own piece of land in Istaria, be it on an above ground plot for the biped races, or an underground lair for dragons.

Asked for any closing words, Rick commented, "In Istaria, players make the world their own. Whether in joining the war against the Withered Aegis, building their own unique plot, or just soaring the skies as a mighty Ancient Dragon, Istaria is a special place where people come together to be a part of a world that takes them away from everyday life. It is the Istarians themselves that make the world special, and hearing their stories is what makes our world truly unique."

ABOUT VIRTRIUM - Virtrium LLC, founded in July 2006, is a privately held software development company founded to support the games and technology behind the massively multi-player online games market. Virtrium brings real, applied experience in technology design, development and implementation for the software and techniques behind MMO products – as well as experience behind product launch and continued development in a live, production environment. The company's mission is to provide software technologies and support services that enable the growth of niche entertainment products within the massively multi-player online games market. To find out more about Virtrium LLC, visit http://www.virtrium.com

ABOUT ISTARIA: CHRONICLES OF THE GIFTED - Originally developed by Artifact Entertainment and published by Atari, the MMO "Horizons" launched in December 2003 and currently boasts a dedicated following of players worldwide. April of 2008 saw a significant crafting expansion and re-branding as Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted, demonstrating Virtrium's deep commitment to expand development and re-establish story as a significant feature of the game world. The ability to play as a flying Ancient Dragon, coupled with comprehensive crafting and community construction, allows Istaria fans to experience, explore and create a world epic in scope. Players are able to take on the role of Dragon, or one of 10 other races ranging from the lawful Elf to dark Fiends, as well as more unusual forms, such as the cat-like Saris and horned Satyr. For more information on Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted, visit http://www.istaria.com.


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