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News Blips: Vote for Mass Effect 3′s female Shepard, Epic soldiers on from Bulletstorm, upgradeable items in Skyward Sword, and more

Seriously, getting that "Miss Mass Effect" sash straightened over that bulky armor sure looks unwieldy.

News Blips:

BioWare wants your vote for female Shepard's appearance in Mass Effect 3. Putting its apparent theory that the male mind is as pliable as a bowl of marshmallows to the test,  BioWare slapped a series of female Shepard concept images on its Facebook page with slight variations in hairstyle, color, and facial structure. You can "Like" the corresponding image that you…er, like as your vote. The victor's visage will show up in ME3 and upon the box art of the collector's edition. So far, bachelorette #5 — the blonde, grim-looking Samus Aran double on the right — has the crowd's favor, but seeing as voting just commenced yesterday, anything can happen. Mass Effect 3 has a planned warp window of March 6, 2012 to the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.

Although Bulletstorm "didn't make money" for Epic, it hasn't disheartened the publisher's ambitions of providing top-notch content. While the lewd 2010 shooter racked up adoration points among fans of the genre, it didn't meet similar success in the market, selling under 300,000 units within its first month of release according to one analyst. But Epic President Mike Capps told Kotaku that the studio has no regrets in hindsight. Instead of having developer People Can Fly "churn out Gears of War content," Capps explained, it focused on abiding by Epic's mantra of all-in effort for its titles regardless of how much dough they earn. "The studio has shipped AAA content," he said. "The next thing we do with People Can Fly will be great." Whatever PCF's next endeavor may be, I hope it retains "dicktits" as part of the ad campaign.

Nintendo Director of Product Marketing Bill Trinen reveals how players can upgrade their gear with harvestable resources in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Speaking to GameSpot, Trinen used Link's trusty shield as an example. As a fundamental element of any pointy-eared hero, the shield can be improved by scrounging materials off fallen enemies and the world. Other critical items — such as Link's flying device — are upgradeable as well. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword comes out later this year for the Wii.

Microsoft offers 400 Microsoft Points to those who indulge Games for Windows in its final hour. As a celebration for GFW's merging with Xbox.com, Microsoft launched the "One Million Microsoft Points Giveaway." Want some Points? Simply ensure you're one of the first 2,500 customers purchasing something in the GFW Marketplace between now and August 1. Head to the official site for more info, and if you wind up buying something, make sure it's a "point and laugh at the nearest Microsoft executive" emote for your avatar.


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