Shacknews - John Keefer

Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge will be getting some new fighting buddies for Ryu. During today's Nintendo Direct showcase, it was revealed that two new DLC characters will be coming to the game for multiplayer sometime in the near future.

Assassin Momiji from Ninja Gaiden, and Kasumi from the Dead or Alive series will be joining Ryu Hayabusa and Ayane in the cast of characters. According to the official site, the two characters will be available in the Ninja Trials and Chapter Challenge multiplayer modes. No release date was offered by Nintendo.

Razor's Edge was a launch title for the Wii U as an upgraded and tweaked version of the original NG3 on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Shacknews - John Keefer

Free-to-play multiplayer mech game Hawken has had its official launch delayed until early 2013, instead opting to go to open beta on the originally scheduled release date of December 12. In anticipation of the open beta, it will be closing its Vanguard Initiative pre-sales tomorrow.

"The timing has changed," a representative for publisher Meteor Entertainment said. "Prior, the development team had not given themselves Open Beta timeframes so [they] have adjusted accordingly. Launch is slated for early 2013."

Developer Adhesive Games has already held several closed betas for the game and has gotten plenty of feedback, but it plans to use the open beta to continue to polish the game. "We have so much more to add to Hawken, lots of features, balance changes, and improvements." said lead animator and Adhesive co-founder Chris Lalli. "The Open Beta Event allows us flexibility to roll out these updates in waves, and get instant player feedback that will influence the final version of the game."

Players hoping to get some early perks can still get in on pre-sales by dropping from $5 to $60 on various packs. But you'll need to grab them before noon PT tomorrow. Players who already purchased an Ensign pack or above will get the Cupcake mech when the open beta begins.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

The Wii Fit franchise is getting yet another accessory to accompany your Balance Board. Included with Wii Fit U for Wii U is the "Fit Meter," a device similar to Nike Fuel (or the Pokewalker). This peripheral will keep track of your physical activity throughout the day, and then transfer the data to your Wii U when you get back home.

Wii Fit U will be available in the "first half" of 2013.

Transfer your data to Wii U

Shacknews - Steve Watts

EVE Online developer CCP has released its latest expansion, titled "Retribution." The large patch is available starting today, and offers a long list of bug fixes, balance changes, and new features.

The focus of the expansion is Bounty Hunting, as it introduces a new system for putting a price on the heads of your enemies. The patch notes detail just how the new bounties work. You can place a bounty on any other player character, or on corporations and alliances. The minimum bounty for a player is 100,000 of the in-game currency ISK, 20 million for corporations, and 100 million for alliances. Your payout will be based on damage inflicted. It also adds a bounty office, five new ships, and revises the crimewatch system.

The patch squashes user interface bugs, potential crashes, and more. Check out the full patch list for all the minutiae, and check out the launch trailer to get a feel for the tone.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Bif! Bam! Pow! Do you like punching women then watching them jiggle? Do you like punching women then watching them jiggle on public transport? Then you're in luck! Team Ninja's jiggly fighting game Dead or Alive 5 is coming to PlayStation Vita in early 2013, under the name Dead or Alive 5 Plus.

Team Ninja head Yosuke Hayashi casually dropped the news in a video for the IGN Pro League. He didn't have much to say about the Plus port, instead promising details "at a later stage." But what more do you need to know? If you'd like DOA5 on your Vita, it's coming.

That image up top is from the Xbox 360 and PlayStation edition, by the way.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Mass Effect 3 has already had quite a few expansions, and the most recent title, "Omega," had a sense of finality to it. But BioWare isn't quite done telling Shepard stories yet, as the company apparently has a large chunk of its writing staff hard at work on the next one.

"It's all hands on deck for this one. Pretty much every Mass Effect 3 DLC writer here in Edmonton is involved," wrote BioWare's Jos Hendriks on the official forum (via Eurogamer). "If my math skills are correct [that means] eight."

That eight-person writing team is said to include lead writer Mac Walters. The Edmonton team itself is responsible for the Mass Effect Trilogy, just released yesterday (check out Andrew's field report).

Tweets have also revealed the involvement of chief composer Sam Hulick, and the voice actors behind Joker (Seth Green) and Kaiden (Raphael Sbarge). Whatever BioWare has up its sleeve, it has a larger writing staff and returning cast than previous pieces of DLC. That could indicate a grand finale, or setting the stage for whatever is coming next to the series.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

When a subscription-based MMORPG turns free-to-play, as they almost inevitably do, it's very important to strike a balance between what's free and what players must pay for. Star Wars: The Old Republic kind of cocked that up. Responding to complaints, BioWare is still trying to find that balance, and yesterday rolled out a few more changes kind to players.

"We want you to know that this is an ongoing dialogue," BioWare said in a blog post. "Your feedback is critical to the success of TOR, and of special interest to us."

Quickbars are one aspect that BioWare over-restricted. Players typically need several to hold all the skills they'll collect as they level, but free-to-play players were by default limited to only one When The Old Republic first switched models.

BioWare wisely doubled this to 2, and has now raised the limit again for Preferred Status Players (PSPs), those who've either bought an actual copy of the game or bought something from the Cartel Coin store, which uses a virtual currency paid for with real money. PSPs now have 4, and will receive refunds for any more they've bought.

PSPs will receive extra character slots in a future patch, with their previous limit of 2 upped to 6. People who choose to still pay the optional subscription fee will have no limit at all.

Star Wars: The Old Republic went-free-to-play last month, only 11 months after it launched.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Now, really, the correct way to look at the latest annual Call of Duty setting record sales every year is that video games are becoming a greater part of mainstream culture, making them more acceptable. So, really, you should be glad that Activision today announced that, on top of setting new day-one sales records, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 has beaten last year's installment to the $1 billion mark. You are, aren't you?

Cod Blops 2 took 15 days to hit the mark after its launch last month, Activision said, while Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 took 16 days in 2011. Activision also points out that it's still ahead of Avatar's $1 billion figure of 17 days, to help ram home the idea that lots of people like video games. Games do cost more than movie tickets, of course.

Speaking of contrived comparisons, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick claimed that "Since Call of Duty was launched, cumulative franchise revenues from players around the world are greater than current worldwide box office receipts to date for the top-10 grossing films of 2012 combined." A helpful point of comparison, it is not. He added, "Life-to-date sales for the Call of Duty franchise have exceeded worldwide theatrical box office receipts for 'Harry Potter' and 'Star Wars,' the two most successful movie franchises of all time."

So there you have it: people still like Call of Duty. If you're one of the grumps begging for it to fail, sorry, this won't be the year you get to cackle gleefully into a comment box.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Another thrilling Wii U system update has arrived, just weeks after the massive day-one patch which Nintendo had to publicly apologize for. The latest update brings the system to version 2.1.0, although it doesn't appear much has changed. Nintendo TVii is still not yet ready with this update, but improvements to "overall system stability" are promised. From our quick test with the latest update, it does appear many of the system processes do load a tad quicker.

This is yet another sizable update, clocking in at 593MB according to IGN. Thankfully, if you've already downloaded the 2.0 day-one update, you won't have to stare at the progress bar. The Nintendo support site details how you can download the update in the background, so you can continue using your Wii U.

Shacknews - Tyler J. Smith

Is your name Winter? If so, Late Night Computing for December 4, 2012 hates you.

Winter, or fall, whatever, can jump off a bridge. I've been up for most of the last two days with intermittent sinus attacks due to the changing weather (we're dropping from the mid-60's to the high-30's over the next day). Just when I think I'm groggy enough to fall asleep, a coughing attack summons me from my potential slumber. I imagine this is what Pokemon must feel like when they're unleashed from their tiny dungeons.

News bits:

  • "Less talk, more rock. The native language of video games is neither spoken nor written." [via BoingBoing]

  • Shacker jamiejme makes an utter killing with Plague, Inc. [via Wired]

  • The Sess discusses #1reasonwhy and sexism in gaming on a new episode of Sessler's Something. [via Youtube]

  • Is the world going to end later this month? The US Government takes the question to NASA scientists. [via USA.gov]

  • Shortly after the decommissioning ceremony of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, the Navy announces a new vessel named the USS Enterprise scheduled for launch in 2025. Chekov rejoices. [via US Navy]

Chatty posts of the moment.

Make sure you log-in and check your filters if you can't see the following:

  • "Jet Set Radio is still fun as hell to play, and the visuals in the HD version look great. Don't even get me started on those beats Professor K is spinning." [by Nat King Cobra]

  • "Nintendo 3DS shackers, I'm going to be doing a lot of flying over the holidays so I decided to buy a 3DS and I know I'm getting Mario 3D Land, but I was hoping for suggestion on a second game. I saw games mentioned in a previous thread, but I figured I would ask again because I specifically want something with really good sound/music. I have a pair of noise canceling headphones that I will be rocking the whole time and I want a game that is a pleasure to listen to for hours on end. Thanks!" [by sleepytea]

Nightly file.

  • The Age of Decadence public beta 3. "The Age of Decadence is an isometric, turn-based role-playing game set in a low magic, post-apocalyptic fantasy world, inspired by the fall of the Roman Empire. The game features a detailed skill-based character system, non-linear gameplay, multiple skill-based ways to handle quests, choices & consequences, and extensive dialogue trees." Download the free game for Windows in 32-bit.

Media.

EVE Online Retribution launch trailer:

New destroyers bring the EVE Online universe to the brink of war once more with the Retribution expansion.

Halo 4 reveals the full cinematic for the fifth episode of Spartan Ops, The Last of Us teases its Spike VGAs 2012 trailer, Ilya Muromets is the new hero frame for MechWarrior Online, and Forge launches in a spectacular fashion.

...