FreeSpace marketing campaign
Interplay launched an extensive marketing campaign for the release of Descent: FreeSpace, which included trailers, magazine advertisements, posters, short stories, a story writing contest, and a mission design contest.
Interplay commissioned five short stories from notable science fiction authors. These were written based on the information in the FreeSpace Reference Bible, and were published over the course of 1998, following the release of Descent: FreeSpace itself on June 15.
Predator by Fred Saberhagen, published July 8
Hammer of Light, Omen of Darkness by Simon Hawke, published July 22
Freefall in Darkness by Jeff Grubb, published July 30
A Thousand Years by Clayton Emery, published August 10
A Veteran of the Great War by Brian M. Thomsen, published August 31
Story Writing Contest
Fans had the opportunity to write a short story of no more than 5000 words set in the Descent: FreeSpace universe. The winners received limited edition FreeSpace prizes and/or Descent 3.
Mission Design Contest
The FRED mission editor was rather remarkable for its time, as it dramatically lowered the difficulty of creating new game content. (By comparison, creating new missions for TIE Fighter required using a hex editor or a clunky third-party program such as TIE Fighter Game Builder.)
Interplay invited fans to submit their own missions, all of which were subsequently included in the Silent Threat expansion pack. Every person who entered the contest also received a free copy of Silent Threat. The winners received limited edition FreeSpace prizes, computer peripheral equipment, or games from Interplay.