X2: The Threat Now Available for Download, CD Available June 17

British publisher Virtual Programming Ltd. on Tuesday announced that the latest game it has ported to the Mac, EgoSoft Softwareis X2: The Threat, is now available for download from its Web site. New York-based Freeverse Software, which distributes the companyis games in the United States, will have X2 on store shelves June 17.

X2: The Threat puts players in the role of an ex-con whose sentence is commuted by higher-ups at TerraCorp, who want to put his piloting skills to good use. Players donit know the companyis ultimate goal, but theyire put to work transporting supplies between sectors of the galaxy. With the money they earn from those jobs, they can upgrade their ship or even purchase a better one, which is important given the presence of pirates who will try to steal their cargo.

Players eventually learn about the presence of a malevolent race of creatures called the Khaak and discover why they were pulled from a sentence of hard labor on a desolate prison planet. The subsequent web of intrigue assumes galactic proportions. Along the way, players get the opportunity to pilot more than 70 different types of ships, from single-seat fighters to massive destroyers, and interact with several alien species, all with their own agendas.

Plying galactic trading routes in X2: The Threat

X2: The Threat can be downloaded from Virtual Programmingis Web site for £24.95 (US$45.36). Freeverse will have the game available as a boxed product for $39.95 and is offering free shipping on pre-orders. System requirements call for a 1.25GHz G4 processor, 256MB RAM, 2GB free hard drive space and an ATI Radeon 7000 or nVidia GeForce 3 video card (Radeon 9600 or nVidia GeForce 4Ti recommended).