Tuesday, August 30

Mystique X-Men Cosplay Pictures

It's cold on my nipples Mystique
Rebecca Romijn has a lot to answer for. She's spawned a whole heap of Mystique cosplay and for this, we actually salute her. Without her X-Men movie shenanigans, we may never have had her legion of fans decided to emulate her blue attire and  venture where not even the movie version of Wolverine dared to tread...

Rebecca Romijn as Mystique from X-Men
Are you still with us? Hang on to your hat's ladies and gentlemen and cos play fans, we're about to catch the Mystique cosplay train - we'll stop at destinations such as body painted Mystique and I'm way too sexy for my blue skin Mystique. Either, come on everybody, join the cosplay joy ride... like Roxette asked you to in the 90s.... indeed you could say we're travelling First Class ;)

Mutant Mystique
I think the above mutant shows a fair degree of scary-ness - something about the angle of the photo and those spikes look a little too sharp for my liking....
Bikini wearing Mystique

This Mystique cosplayer must be a long way from her Magneto - he'd never have let her out with such red crazy hair?
Body painting in progress...
Put 'em up, X Man. Or other wise known as come hither Wolverine. 
Mystique Cosplayer who appears to be wearing her birthday suit. We like suits at Gears of Halo.
Attention Fanboys... this is the lady you were looking for! Those eyes suggest a hint of crazyiness much?
Kind of 'I'll fuck you up'  Mystique Cosplayer
Mystique and her Birthday Suit II
I think this Mystique is faking it. What do you think - are following that classic piece of advice, fake it, till you make it?

Ah, yes, it's a tree. I love nature!
The latest movie version of the Mystique character was played by the fresh faced Jennifer Lawrence in the mega hit X-Men: First Class movie where she plays the titular X-men smurf in blue:

Definitely First Class material
If you are still hot for some X-Men cosplay, check out Jean Grey in her Dark Phoenix glory

What's this creature from Halo 4?

If you happened to watch right to the end of the Halo 4 Concept Art Video that was released over the weekend during the Halo Festival at Pax Prime you might have spied a very orange and angry ending which appears to be showing some kind of creature. Is this an enemy you will face in Halo 4? Or is it a friend? Time will tell but colour me HUGE FREAKING EXCITED.

Here's the video that was released:

And here's some images of the art from it.

Halo 4 Lead Designer Jesse Snyder talks...... Halo 4

Sounds like Jessie Synder has simply been gagging AND busting his balls to talk about Halo 4. And now that he can talk about Halo rather than his latest 'project' he shares his feelings and excitement about being the lead designer for Halo 4 and The Reclaimer Trilogy.

A while back Halo 4 was announced. As you might have suspected, I’ve been pretty busy working on the game. It turns out the campaign for a Halo game requires a pretty intense amount of effort. Who would have thought. I guess people are pretty into Halo or something.

I was actually the first designer hired at 343 Industries, but at the time the studio didn’t have a name. It was called something generic like “Halo Internal.” Woooo. In any event, I was the first designer to take the plunge (there were other designers that had come and gone, but they were pulled from other parts of Microsoft).

I didn’t start as a lead either. I was just coming off a crazy amount of Treyarch crunch (which if you ask around, is some of the most legendary crunch known to mankind) and was looking to get down on some level building, scripting and prototyping. You know, hitting reset on the ol’ work life balance button. However, after working at 343 for a bit, they asked me to be a lead, and being a lead on a Halo title is not something you tend to turn down. Don’t worry, I like to stay pretty hands-on with the tools in addition to having an outlook calendar full of meetings.

Halo 4 has been pretty crazy as far as projects go. Sure, there’s all the regular game making stuff that goes on, but there’s been such a big veil of secrecy over this game which has been insane. For example, we hired lots of people (like myself!) who had no idea exactly what they were signing up for.

Yes we are 343 Industries. Yes we own the Halo IP. Yes we are part of Microsoft. A game? What is that? No, no. We are working on a project you see. An FPS? We can’t say. Sorry. Please work for us. By the way, if you were to work on an FPS…

Yep, for the longest time, we couldn’t even publicly say we were working on agame. I’m sure most of you figured that out, but for someone who is a professional game designer, it’s hard not be able say “I’m working on a game” out loud or publicly. My go-to joke was always “Oh, well I work on books and anime.” Oh books-and-anime joke, how I’ll miss you. This is especially funny if you know me well.

And then we announce “Oh, and by the way we’re making a trilogy!” Jeez, really? I go from working on projects to an entire trilogy publicly? Someone needs to take a burlesque class and learn the art of tease.

Check out the rest of the article here

Monday, August 29

The Art of the Mass Effect Universe to be released

Fans of the Mass Effect™ series looking to go deeper into the Mass Effect universe are in luck. Dark Horse is proud to announce The Art of the Mass Effect Universe, an expansive, hardcover art book showcasing the stunning and imaginative art behind the highly anticipated action RPG Mass Effect 3. With commentary from the creators of the Mass Effect series, The Art of the Mass Effect Universe invites fans to get a behind-the-scenes look at the critically acclaimed franchise.

Mass Effect 3 is the climax of the greatest sci-fi epic of our generation, so it’s only fitting that Dark Horse up the ante as well,” Dark Horse editor Dave Marshall said. “The Art of the Mass Effect Universe will reveal reams of never-before-seen artwork that was created during the development of this modern masterpiece.”

The Art of the Mass Effect Universe will be available for purchase in February 2012 for $39.99.

From the award-winning developers at BioWare™ comes Mass Effect 3, the pinnacle of the critically acclaimed epic action RPG series. The galactic war has begun. An ancient alien race known only as the “Reapers” has launched an all-out invasion of the galaxy, leaving nothing but a trail of destruction in their wake. Earth has been taken, the universe is on the verge of total annihilation, and you must lead the counterassault to take it back. The price of failure is extinction. Only you, as Commander Shepard, can determine how events will play out, which planets you will save from annihilation and which alliances you will form or abandon as you rally the forces of the galaxy to eliminate the Reaper threat once and for all.

Look for Mass Effect: Invasion, the latest comic series, to arrive on October 19, 2011. The collection of the previous series, Mass Effect: Evolution, is on sale September 21, 2011.

Humans will use the Forerunner tech in H4

I spied a nice snippet of Halo news that came out of Halo Fest:

Finally, some additional details were revealed, such as how the humans, now at peace, have started researching forerunner technology. The result of this is apparently are seen in the new human weapons, which show traces of forerunner influence now.

So humans are the new covenant now? ;)

So this makes me wonder - for how long as the Chief and Cortana been sleeping in space?

Bioshock Infinite Pax Details

Panels are all the rage these days and PAX 2011 is no exception. Bioshock: Infinite fans were treated to one hosted by Irrational Game’s Ken Levine, and voice actors for the game, Troy Baker and Courtnee Draper chatted about the third game in the horror series.

Game Informer provides the key points from the discussion panel
  • Ken Levine didn’t meet any of the actors from the first BioShock, he only ever talked to them over the phone before recording sessions, but for Infinite he was extremely hands on, often getting in the recording booth to help out the actors.
  • The actress who plays Elizabeth – Courtnee Draper – is going to law school, and was actually about to quit acting when she got offered the part for BioShock Infinite. She actually hadn’t heard of BioShock before her audition.
  • The Uncharted games really inspired Ken Levine while working on BioShock Infinite.
  • Few of the dramatic sequences in BioShock Infinite are not truly scripted. BioShock Infinite has a system that watches for cool opportunities to introduce dialogue sequences, so the game’s story will evolve differently for every player.   
  • Ken Levine wanted every line of dialogue to sound perfect, so a lot of time was spent rerecording lines. Three lines, in particular, proved to be so challenging that it took the team over an hour to record what they wanted.
  • At least one scene in the game was not originally planned for the game, but was pieced together using ad libs and extra lines from other recording sessions.
  • During one particularly difficult recording session, actress Courtnee Draper was having trouble working up the emotions necessary to deliver her lines, so Draper encouraged the actor who plays Booker DeWitt (Troy Baker) to start berating her until she was in tears. Finally she was able to deliver her lines perfectly.

Aria T'Loak versus Predator crossover?

Aria T'Loak vs Predator crossover? Not quite, simply some artwork from the forthcoming Mass Effect: Invasion comic series that's coming out shortly. Invasion will be a tie into to Mass Effect 3.

Femshep Mass Effect 3 Wallpaper

It seems like Femshep is all the rage these days with votes to see what colour her hair will be and special marketing campaigns etc. Well, anyways here's some Femshep Wallpaper to make your computer screen feel all happy on the inside and all business on the out.

Sunday, August 28

Halo 4 Concept Artwork by 343

As part of Halo Fest, 343 has released this video of Halo 4's concept artwork. I've taken some 720 res shots for us all to enjoy direct from the video. Don't thank me, buy me something.

Here's a would-be-Spartan taking a wee stroll through some kind of canyon.

Our hero looks into the forest - certainly seems 'Halo' themed.....

Is it me or does this Halo 4 artwork feel a bit Ralph McQuarrie inspired? That's a good thing!

Is one of the Halo 4 skulls hidden within this Forerunner Structure?

This one is my favourite, it really evokes a Sci Fi feel. 

Space. It's no place for a flat tyre.

Halo 4 Concept Art Video from Halo Fest

Halo 4 Concept Art Video from Halo Fest

The Reclaimer Trilogy

The new Halo series, starting with Halo 4 is to be known as The Reclaimer Trilogy. 

It's basically final confirmation that the Chief will be up against Forerunner tech....

Out of the Halo Fest:

"He said that with the Chief headed toward a mysterious new planet, the team is investing heavily in the look and feel of the Forerunner civilization. O'Connor chimed in, saying that players have seen inert, abandoned Forerunner structures in the past, but now they'll see what that technology looks like when it isn't completely dead."

"Halo 4's story is still being closely guarded, but O'Connor did emphasize that the game will be a direct sequel to Halo 3, and that it deals with the fate of Master Chief and Cortana."

And seeing as the Chief is a Reclaimer, it makes sense for the series of games to be known as the  Reclaimer Trilogy

Skulls for Anniversary

Quickest skull pix I could find!
Skulls for Anniversary 

Halo Fest has revealed Anniversary will have a new set of skulls for a novel gaming experience. 

Those announced so farL

Grunt Birthday Party – Yay!
Grunt Funeral – Like Halo 2 version, Grunts explode when they die. Available as a pre-order bonus.
Malffunction – Every respawn a random HUD element is missing for the player.
Boom – Each explosion radius is doubled.

Skulls only appear and can utilised up in the new graphics engine mode as they won’t appear in “Classic” Halo mode. 

Saturday, August 27

Pax 2011 Cosplay Pictures

Here's some cos play from Pax 2011. As you'd expect from such a popular event, the costumes are all over the place ranging from Fallout to Bioshock: Infinite.

Check out these great pictures!

Some Assassins working on their creed

elizabeth bioshock cosplay
Looks like Elizabeth needs some rescuing 

Looks like Carmine is alive and well at Pax. At least for now - do you think Carmine will live or die in Gears of War 3. It's out next month. Excited much?

Let's Duke it out if this is a good cosplay costume or not

Portal fans are almost a mandatory requirement at a gaming convention these days

Here's some cos photos from a PAX event earlier in the year.

Major Nelsons Halo Map Descriptions

A straight borrow from Major Nelson who is running round Halo Fest...

· TIMBERLAND –Timberland is “Halo: Anniversary’s” beautifully reimagined multiplayer map from “Halo PC,” set in the classically alpine environment so familiar to “Halo.” Once serving as a watch point for the immense relay complex below, the monitoring outposts nestled atop this ridge became a staging ground for human forces during their time on Installation 04. Toward the end of the conflict, a Covenant assault brought the marines here to a tragic end. Timberland is a tree-covered valley, sporting undulating hills, surging rivers, and a terrain perfect for large-scale vehicle mayhem. (8 – 16 players)

· PRISONER –The return of “Halo: Combat Evolved’s” Prisoner delivers a claustrophobic and frenetic multiplayer experience now elaborately recreated for “Halo: Anniversary.” These spinning confinement platforms are a testament to the technological prowess of the Forerunners. In the event of a security breach, the facility’s suborbital location and frigid temperature were thought to be able to keep any threat at bay, but it appears those plans were… optimistic. Prisoner is a multi-level facility, with tightly-woven corridors and many bridges and ramps, perfect for the chaos of close-range combat. (2 – 8 players)

· INSTALLATION 04 – Installation 04 brings fans back to one of the most iconic environments in “Halo’s” history, the base of an enormous Forerunner spire from “Halo: Combat Evolved’s” campaign mission “Halo,” now stunningly returning in “Halo: Anniversary’s” Firefight mode. Set on one of the many cliff sides of Alpha Halo, this beacon served as a rendezvous point for survivors of the Covenant attack on the UNSC Pillar of Autumn. These survivors, including the legendary Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, were forced to stave off numerous Covenant attacks until rescue finally came. Installation 04 is a familiar precipice studded with ancient Forerunner structures which make a perfect defensive position against an invading alien enemy and marks the first Firefight experience to include ally AI players who will defend the installation alongside you. (1 – 4 players)

Previously announced, playable fan favorite maps also made their US debut at Halo Fest including:

· DAMNATION –A fan favorite multiplayer battleground from “Halo: Combat Evolved,” Damnation is impressively brought back to life with amazing detail. As the primary satellite of the Unggoy home world, Buwan provides the perfect environment for this massive Covenant hydro-facility used to power and refuel a variety of capital ships. Though still operational via automated subsystems, the station was abandoned shortly after the breaking of the Covenant. Damnation is an asymmetrical, multi-tiered complex, replete with long lines of sight and tightly-crafted choke points. (2 – 8 players)

· BEAVER CREEK – The classic “Halo 2” multiplayer map Beaver Creek returns, tracing its roots back all the way to “Halo: Combat Evolved’s” legendary Battle Creek. The rocky warrens of this part of Halo provide the ideal environment for an array of impressive telemetry clusters. These spires’ synchronization conduits ensure that the ring’s translocation grid is always fully operational. Beaver Creek’s symmetrical bases in a small, creek-fed canyon are excellent for both free-for-all and team-based game types. (2 – 8 players)

Each of the competitive multiplayer maps that ship with “Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary” will include two variants which let players experience maps in both their classic layout as well as a modified, reimagined version with changes that account for the dynamic gameplay created by “Halo: Reach’s”Armor Abilities. For a sneak peek at the explosive multiplayer action that awaits, fire up Halo Waypoint or visit HaloWaypoint.com to see a new behind-the-scenes feature from 343 showcasing five of the seven beautifully reimagined maps included in “Halo: Anniversary.”

Here's the article on my love for Halo that I submitted to Age of Gratitude. If you have a cool Halo story to share, why don't you write it and send it to them?

You know how you occasionally realise that you just witnessed some form of art that was something wicked awesome? For me one of the first such moments I remember having was seeing Darth Vader chop of Luke’s hand and then tell him he was his Father. The joke’s on you kid. And that’s just like the joke that got me hooked on Halo Combat Evolved. The Halo is a bomb that will kill you and every other living thing in the universe if you fire it? And I nearly turned it on?

Master Chief, you had me at hello.

It was about 7 years ago when my flatmate turned up with a game called Halo: Combat Evolved. I hadn’t played a PC game in years, probably not since the glorious Duke Nukem on the PC which I must have played a thousand times. Popping my Xbox cherry on Halo, I played CE through in a week or so, literally dreaming of it, going to work and day dreaming about Hunters at the top of a hill….. and so it began – I can’t imagine how many thousands of Halo 2 online games I played, H3 was only slightly less in number as I played a lot of campaign … how many Halo Maps have I bought? All of them. How many blue stickies to the face have I received? Call me Papa Smurf.

Halo’s both campaign and multiplayer have their wondrous moments. I still fondly remember my first triple kill on Ascension. I threw a grenade and was rewarded. A massive fluke but massive fun. In H3, a double triple on Snowbound (I love that map and don’t understand the hate) was a true highlight – my l33t skills coming to the fore? Were it so easy. A 14 kill steak on Ghost Town camping with a sniper rifle? 5 minutes of perfection. Finishing The Library on Legendary? Man Points Awarded. Finding some hidden Skulls on Halo 2 without using ‘helpful tips from the internet’? Satisfying. Downing two Scarabs, fighting through a horde of Flood and seeing the Arbiter deliver some some swift and righteous sword justice? Priceless. Getting Cortana on board the Pillar of Autumn? Just doing my job, Sir.

Bungie has created a monster and I love them for it. My first Halo Man Crush was on Frankie from Bungie. I found HBO pretty quickly too. BS Angel. Ascendant Justice, and nowadays Urk. I heart them all. I do try and share the love too – Halo got me writing about the game, especially as I pined hopelessly for ODST to drop. I specifically started my gaming site Gears of Halo because of my desire to write about Halo and it’s wondrous universe.

Remember how in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one of them would yell, “Gee I Love Being A Turtle”!? Well I love being a Halo fan in the same way. It’s not just the games and their epic game play. It’s the story. It’s the attention to the story’s detail and the continuity from one game to the next. It’s the humbleness that Bungie ooze. Sure, they let you know they rock every so often but I think that’s because they think the game’s fans rock and they just wanna hang with them!

Who really knows what the future Halo universe will look like? If the quality is there, I’m sure the fans and community will continue to engage – but at the very least, we’ll always have those boys from Bungie to thank for starting it all off and pointing the Amber Clad in the right direction. I heart you Bungie.

Jimmy Jangles