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Didja know that the best RPGs are on the 360?

Microsoft just launched a new marketing campaign whose main aim is to get you trained so that when someone mentions the letters RPG your instant response will be Xbox 360. The Best RPGs Are On Xbox 360 is the campaign's name and highlights some of the best of the best RPGs that grace the Xbox 360 including Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, Mass Effect, Oblivion and of course Fable 2. Simply head to Xbox.com to get the dish on these super RPGs and if your interest is piqued, make your way to Gamestop. There you will find a free retail disc that comes packed with information on these "Best RPGs" as well as never before seen videos of Fable 2 and the complete Sci-Fi channel "Sci vs Fi" episode featuring Mass Effect. Now how can you not agree? The Xbox 360 is hands down the best place to find RPGs ... just none that are on the Playstation platform.

BioWare talks Mass Effect's 'Bring Down the Sky'

The folks over at IGN had a chance to sit down and chat with Casey Hudson, Project Director for Mass Effect about the game's upcoming Bring Down the Sky DLC. And in the process, we get learned! We learn that Bring Down the Sky (which is scheduled for release March 10th) is focused on furthing the Mass Effect storyline by introducing The Batarian race as well as learning more about how they've impacted the lives of those around you. Also, we should mention that the DLC can be played by any Mass Effect owner as long the player is on or has access to the Normandy. Because that's where the mission starts off. Make the jump to read IGN's complete Bring Down the Sky interview in all its interview glory and learn a bit more of what's to come this March.

Commander Shepard has never looked this good

They've teased over and over again, but the time has come for HyperChild to pull back the mysterious curtain and complete one final reveal.

HyperChild just recently showcased the final sculpt for their upcoming Mass Effect Commander Shepard statue which not only comes with an $89 price tag, but comes chalk full of Mass Effect gaming cred. The statue (seen in the gallery below) is around eight inches tall, is limited to 2,500 pieces and will be available the second quarter of 2008 exclusively through online retailer HighDome. And with all this action figure talk lately, we must say this Commander Shepard statue is one of the best sculpts we've seen yet. But we guess that's why it carries an $89 commitment.

Gallery: Mass Effect - Commander Shepard Statue

EA confirms Mass Effect PC release in May

In what shouldn't be a huge surprise to Mass Effect fanboys the world over (seeing that it has been rumored for a while now), EA just confirmed that the 360's lovable RPG Mass Effect will be getting a PC release this May.

Mass Effect on the PC will be identical to its older 360 sibling, but will also sport some PC exclusive additions. Additions including an optimized control scheme, the ability to map hot keys, an enhanced inventory system and a new decryption mini game. Mini games FTW! What is missing from their announcement is any details about how the upcoming Bring Down the Sky DLC will be incorporated into the PC release or if they'll be adding more graphic "sex scenes" so FOX News has something to talk about.

[Via Joystiq, Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

Mass Effect gets Bring Down the Sky DLC in March

Literally moments ago, BioWare announced that brand spanking new and flashy Mass Effect downloadable content will be headed to the XBLM on March 10th and boy oh boy is it juicy good.

The Mass Effect Bring Down the Sky DLC pack will cost 400 Microsoft points and expand upon the Mass Effect story by introducing a new world featuring the Batarian race. According to the description, Bring Down the Sky will feature over 90 minutes of additional gameplay where a "Batarian extremist group has hijacked a mobile asteroid station in the Asgard system, setting it on a collision course with the nearby colony world of Terra Nova" and (of course) "only Commander Shepard can save the millions of innocent civilians before the asteroid completes its deadly descent." Intense stuff.

The new DLC will also pack one new achievement worth 50 Gamerscore and is confirmed to be the first of many planned Mass Effect expansion packs. We guess Surfer Girl was right about this one.

[Thanks, teknomusik]

Mass Effect Shepard statue nears completion

Not to be out done by the Halo 3 and Gears of War action figures of the world, the sculpting crew over at Hyperchild have just released a teaser shot (seen above) of their near complete Mass Effect Commander Shepard statue. If you recall, this is the same $89 statue we mentioned back in November, but now fully painted and finalized for production. And even though Hyperchild has yet to do a big unveil, you can check out pictures of the final sculpt (minus the pretty paint job) in their fourth figure update right here. All in all, we'll admit the figure looks sexy enough, but the high price tag will probably prevent us from owning one. How we see it, we could totally purchase six Halo 3 or Gears action figures for the price of one Shepard and that's kind of tough to accept.

Mass Drama: Lawrence is sorry and Sessler speaks


The Mass Effect versus FOX News drama continues and gets juicier and juicier by the moment. So juicy, we're required to wear raincoats when blogging about it. No joke.

First on the docket is news that Cooper Lawrence, the psychiatrist/author who participated in the on-air Mass Effect bashing, has surprisingly apologized for her remarks. Lawrence admits that she never played the game prior to the discussion and was told before going on air that Mass Effect was like pornography. Now, after being given a demo of the game, she admits that "it's not like pornography. I've seen episodes of 'Lost' that are more sexually explicit" and is sorry for her statements. It should also be noted that her apologetic words come at a ripe time as angry gamers flooded Amazon.com's listing of her self-help book with negative reviews and negative press. Damage control much?

Finally, you must watch the video embedded above. The vid comes from our favorite G4 personality Adam Sessler as he stands on his soapbox and gives us his two cents about the Mass Drama. Not only does Sessler make some damn great points, but his rant should expand your use of the English language. That Sessler, what an energetic and articulate dude.

[Thanks, SirUrza and Trekster_Gamer]

Read - Sessler's Soapbox
Read - Lawrence's apology

Fox: EA invited to talk Mass Effect 'SE'XBOX


The hullabaloo surrounding an inaccurate Fox News report on Mass Effect continues today. Joystiq readers will recall that Fox News recently ran a story claiming that Mass Effect contains "full digital nudity and sex," a charge that is simply untrue. Electronic Arts, who now owns the Mass Effect property, later contacted Fox via a letter from EA VP of communications Jeff Brown. The letter asked Fox to correct the errors in the segment and also cited more than a bit of hypocrisy by pointing out that many of Fox's own programs, such as Family Guy and The OC, show sexual situations that are just as graphic (and are rated for ages under 17 by the way, unlike Mass Effect).

MTV did a little digging and got their own response from Fox on the matter. A Fox spokesperson, who would not be named, said, "Fox News Channel has extended several invitations to EA through a company representative to appear on 'Live Desk With Martha MacCallum' to discuss 'Mass Effect' and the segment which aired on Monday. We have received no response." So, in other words, Fox can apparently report as much erroneous information as they want, because the party they were defaming wasn't present to defend itself. We'll have to wait and see if EA takes the bait.

Editor's rant: Fox's stance on this matter is complete bunk. The fact remains that they misrepresented Mass Effect, and having EA on to "discuss" the game isn't going to change that. What's called for is a correction of inaccurate reporting. Sorry folks, but as a member of the Joystiq network, it's disgusting. We do our absolute best here to report the facts as they are. Should we find out that we published something that was inaccurate, we fix it and post a correction. That's the way it should be. If we tried to get away with the same things that Fox is trying, our commenting public would skewer us. It's as simple as that. If Fox really wants EA to go on the air, it should be for an apology. Will that happen? We don't think so, but it should.

EA calls for Fox News to correct Mass Effect story


If you've been paying attention to any of the internets lately, you've probably heard about the recent (belated) controversy surrounding the sex scene in BioWare's Mass Effect. It was first lambasted by a little known writer for its "virtual orgasmic rape" among other things that aren't actually in the game. Said columnist later apologized for his errors (and he made more than a few) but the train kept a-rollin' and the next to attack was none other than Fox News. Fox aired a segment about the game, also making false claims about its actual contents, even running a headline that claimed "New videogame shows full digital nudity and sex." As the hordes of gamers who've actually watched the scene (NSFW) can tell you, Mass Effect does no such thing. Far be it from journalists (or psychologists) to actually play the game they're defaming.

All of this has now led to EA -- BioWare's new parent company -- sending Fox a letter regarding the false claims about their new property. The letter comes from EA's VP of communications Jeff Brown and asks that Fox correct the claims made in its report. Brown takes particular exception to the claims that the game shows full nudity and sex, noting that the game shows no "explicit or frontal nudity" and that what is on display is no worse than what's seen on Fox's own programs like The OC. He further take exception to Fox's assertion that Mass Effect is "marketed to kids and teenagers," by noting that the game is rated M and that ESRB ratings "work as well or better" than ratings placed on television content.

Brown then takes the four person "panel" that discussed the game during the segment, saying "They have had zero experience with Mass Effect and are largely ignorant about videogames, the people who play them, and the ESRB system that governs their ratings and sales." He concludes the letter civilly, "This isn't a legal threat; it's an appeal to your sense of fairness. We're asking FNC to correct the record on Mass Effect."

So basically, Brown has said what we were all thinking. The difference is that this message comes from EA, one of the most powerful and most recognized faces of the video game industry. Here's hoping someone at Fox takes notice.

[Via Joystiq]

BioShock scores 12 AIAS award nominations


With BioShock nothing but a sweet, sweet memory to most gamers, it's easy to forget that the industry is still piling awards on top of it. Well, nominations in this case. Nominations from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences to be specific. The AIAS has nominated BioShock for twelve Interactive Achievement Awards this year, more than any other game this year or apparently any other year. So, if you haven't played it, you really should, lest your friends start calling you out for the philistine you are. As for other 360 exclusives, Mass Effect garnered 4 nods, including console game of the year and role playing game of the year. Halo 3 nabbed two nominations, one for outstanding achievement in online play and one for action game of the year.

The IAA's will be broadcast by both GameSpot and ComCast on their video-on-demand services and will again be hosted by Jay Mohr.

[Via Joystiq]

360 sales reach 17.7 million, Halo 3 surges to 8.1

Late last night, the Xbox 360 marketing team released new sales numbers and factoids prior to the official NPD being released and things are peaches and cream. Peaches and cream with extra sugar.

Microsoft revealed that to date, the Xbox 360 has sold a solid 17.7 million consoles worldwide and it's rumored that December's numbers will eclipse November's sales reaching the 1 million unit mark. But that isn't all. Microsoft also gloated that Mass Effect has now sold 1.6 million copies since its November 20th release and Master Chief's Halo 3 has moved an astonishing 8.1 million copies since September. 8.1 million copies! That means nearly half of ALL Xbox 360 owners have purchased Halo 3. Simply amazing. Now we'll go back to patiently waiting for December's NPD to release. Until then, we'll be eating some peaches and cream in the break room. Holler if you need us.

Takahashi apologizes for his Mass Effect bashing

Last week Dean Takahashi of The Mercury News gave Mass Effect a written review lashing, going as far as to call it "Mass Defect". Takahashi was steadfast in claiming that his Mass Effect experience was lackluster, the game's mechanics were weak and that there really wasn't all that much to enjoy. Overhyped to no end, get the picture? But after a quick replay over the holiday break (and with the help of a few tips), Takahashi retracted his review apologizing to BioWare saying that they made "a better game than I thought" and that it isn't "as flawed as I thought". Interesting stuff.

So why a change of heart so quickly after the replay? Well, Mr. Takahashi admitted that he only put in eight hours for his review and seemingly forgot to upgrade his character along the way. But after giving the upgrading system a chance he soon experienced RPG bliss and everything came full circle. It was like a re-birth of Mass Effect.

Lesson learned kids. Always navigate a games' menus and be sure to upgrade your character whenever possible. Also, it's okay to admit you're wrong. We all make mistakes. Now group hug.

Mass Effect (not BioShock) earns NY Times' GOTY

In video game award news that doesn't involve BioShock taking home every trophy, the NY Times revealed that BioWare's RPG-o-fun Mass Effect earned its Game of the Year vote. Let us repeat that. Mass Effect received GOTY honors from the NY Times and not BioShock. Sounds good, doesn't it? We only tease BioShock, because it has been winning big lately and we wouldn't want to force Mr. Levine to learn carpentry for the sole reason of needing to build a bigger trophy case. Congrats Mass Effect and everyone else (Halo 3 and yes, BioShock) who received shiny awards from the NY Times.

[Via Joystiq]

Mass Effect book sequel announced


Publisher Del-Rey Books has announced that a sequel to the novel Mass Effect: Revelation is in the works. Entitled Mass Effect: Ascension, the novel is set to span the time between the first game and the second (Mass Effect is a trilogy remember). Drew Karpyshyn, writer of both the first Mass Effect novel and game, is also authoring Ascension. At the moment, that's about all we know. No release date or price have been set. If we had to hazard a guess, we'd say it's probably a safe bet that the book will be roughly $10 and release in time for the Mass Effect 2 marketing blitzkrieg.

[Via Joystiq. Thanks to everyone that sent this in]

Pachter: Mass Effect could hit PS3

Appearing on the latest episode of Bonus Round, games industry analyst Michael Pachter stated that BioWare would likely be porting Mass Effect to PS3 now that the company is under the dominion of Electronic Arts. Pachter's comments came in response to whether or not many recent changes of ownership for 360 friendly developers -- like the independence of Bungie, the Activision's acquisition of Bizarre Creations, etc -- would result in said developers moving to cross-platform development. Pachter stated that EA would definitely be leveraging BioWare on multiple platforms, saying that Mass Effect 2 is a PS3 shoo-in, further elaborating, "I wouldn't be shocked if Mass Effect 1 came to PS3." According to Pachter, cross-platform development will be a must for former 360 developers from an economic standpoint. Of course, this is obvious when considering future releases, but with Mass Effect already released -- and published by Microsoft, no less -- we're anxious to see if Pachter is right.

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