Bioware and Darkhorse have announced The Art of the Mass Effect Universe, which is a large hardcover collectors’ volume featuring Mass Effect 3 concept art, and other graphical aspects to the game.

The press release didn’t state what else you would find within the pages, but likely more information will be revealed before it drops in February 2012. Once released, it will run you $39.99 and since details are so minuscule, we’re also unsure whether or not this is the same art book included in the Mass Effect 3 Collector’s Edition. We will send a mail and ask for you. Hopefully, we’ll hear something back on Monday after PAX Prime is finished.


BioShock Infinite tells an emotionally-charged story, but to accomplish this Irrational Games had to spend a lot of time in the recording booth. During a panel at PAX 2011, Irrational Game’s Ken Levine, and voice actors Troy Baker and Courtnee Draper talked about this experience. 

Here are a few interesting tidbits that came up during the 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.


You can click this link if you'd like to see some footage from the recording sessions that Irrational presented at the panel. The first video features the recording of the emotional line "You were right" from the demo, and how Troy yelled at and degraded Courtnee so she could get the emotion just right tat was required for that line:

Below this article, a slideshow is playing with some eye raping pictures of a custom Skyrim 360, two of which are being given away at PAX right now. But don't worry, because this rape is statutory. Currently, as this article is typed, Todd Howard of Bethesda is giving PAX goers a walkthrough of Skyrim. After this event, two lucky attendees of the presentation will walk away with one of these 360s'. Luckily, Bethesda has given word that more of these 360s' will be given away between now and the release date of November 11th. No details yet, but the lucky receivers will be chosen through contests. Now, feast your envious, jealousy filled pupils upon this rad machine that myself and most likely yourself would kill for. Literally. 
Fans attending PAX can also head over to Halo Fest, a huge celebration of the franchise going on all weekend. We went to a press preview event to see what Microsoft planned to show off to fans.

The one Firefight map in the game is fully playable. It's called Installation 04 and is inspired the second level, called "Halo," from the first game. We defended the Forerunner spire from endless Covenant dropships along an idyllic cliffside. One new feature of this map is that NPC ally characters, the ODSTs, join Firefight for the first time to help take down enemies. This is especially made for players who want to dip into Firefight when none of their friends are online.

In addition to trying out the previously announced Beaver Creek and Damnation maps in competitive multiplayer, we also got to try out the just revealed Timberland and Prisoner maps. All of the revisited maps in Halo Anniversary have a classic layout that ties closely to the original version and an updated layout that adds in some fresh elements. 

Click "Read More" for the full list of details coming out of Halo Fest!