[UPDATED: 9:00am PST] Today's regularly updated newsbriefs include news of Donkey Kong Country 2 added to the Wii's Virtual Console, Cars going greatest hits across a number of platforms, and K2 Network's MMORPG Knight Online surpassing 4 million registered users.
- Nintendo has released three "new" games for download over the Wii's Virtual Console. Purchasable from the Wii's online Wii Shop Channel, the games released today include the Super Nintendo platforming sequel to Rare's Donkey Kong Country with Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, as well as Genesis action sequel Streets of Rage 2, both for for 800 Wii Points ($8). Blazing Lazers, the classic Turbografx-16 vertical-scrolling shooter, is also now available over the service for 600 Wii Points ($6).
- Officials from THQ have announced that the company's very successful Pixar-licensed Cars game has reached a new milestone with the addition of the game to a number of major console and portable greatest hits lines, including that for the PlayStation 2 and PSP, as well as to the Platinum Hits line for the Xbox and Players Choice line for the GameCube. The game, which THQ describes as being the "number one selling kids video game brand, as well as the number two overall best selling video game in 2006," is now available across each of these platforms for $19.99 throughout North America. The company also recently announced a follow up to the title with Cars Mater-National. The new game is expected to ship for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, and Game Boy Advance this fall.
- Composer and music producer Tom Salta has announced that his original score for Ubisoft's Wii launch title Red Steel is now available at iTunes music stores worldwide and will also be released to retail on CD on May 29. The score draws from traditional and contemporary Japanese influences, mirroring the landscape of the game, which is set against the backdrop of Japan's criminal underworld. Salta arranged and recorded traditional live Japanese instrumentation including koto, shamisen, shakuhachi and taiko performed by Japanese musicians including the specialist percussion group Taikoza. The score also features performances from conservatory-trained Japanese opera singers and renowned violinist Lili Haydn. The Red Steel Original Soundtrack marks the first Ubisoft video game music score to be released as a digital download, though the company notes that it is "the first of many to come." Tom Salta's previous video game credits include the Ubisoft's popular Xbox 360 action title, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and its more recent sequel.
- Leading Chinese online publisher The9 Limited has announced that it has entered into an agreement with Korean online game developer G10 Entertainment Korea Corp for an exclusive license to operate the sequel to hit dance MMO Audition in mainland China. The three year license agreement begins with the game's commercial launch in the region. In addition, The9 also has the exclusive rights of first refusal to the license for Audition 3 and two other unspecified games online games owned or distributed by G10. Mr. Jun Zhu, The9's chairman and CEO commented: "We are very excited that The9 obtained the exclusive license to operate Audition 2 in mainland China... Going forward, we intend to continuously introduce additional high- quality games to China and we are confident that we are well-positioned to take advantage of the rapidly growing Chinese online game market."
- Officials from free-to-play MMO game company K2 Network (War Rock) have announced that the company's fantasy MMORPG Knight Online has surpassed 4 million registered users, and that the title has continued to "exceed expectations" since the recent release of the title's expansion, Reign of Fire Drake in late 2006. Developed by Mgame, Knight Online first debuted in Korea in 2004, and now is supported by servers operating with local language-support in China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, and North America. K2 notes that the title is currently being played by millions of players in over 80 countries.