For many video game fans, cosplay (aka costume play) is not just, well, play. It's a serious hobby that requires some very serious skills to do and do well. From the artistic application of makeup to the design, sewing and crafting skills required to build complicated outfits, armor and other costume accessories — cosplay is an art-form all its own.
And now one game costumer — with an incredible knack for bringing video game characters to life — has landed a job at Irrational Games (the company behind the hit "BioShock" series).
Irrational Games co-founder Ken Levine announced that he and his cohorts were so impressed with cosplayer Anna Moleva's accurate recreation of Elizabeth — one of the stars of their forthcoming game "BioShock Infinite" — that they have hired her to be "the official face of Elizabeth."
"We were so amazed by her dedication and her resemblance to Elizabeth that we decided to ask her if she’d like to be involved in helping bring Elizabeth to life in our box, our key art and our upcoming television ad," Levine wrote on the company's blog.
Here, take a look at how Irrational is using Moleva to help transform Elizabeth's character art:
Moleva, who lives in Moscow, Russia, has cosplayed other video game characters too. From capturing the look of Wonder Woman in "Injustice: Gods Among Us" to recreating Empress Jessamine in "Dishonored," you can find more of her stunning costuming right here, and a gallery of her interpretation of Elizabeth here.
Moleva says she got her start in cosplay about six years ago depicting Yoruichi, from the anime series "Bleach." But she says in the Irrational blog post that once she created Elika from the 2008 "Prince of Persia" game, it was all video game cosplay after that.
Coming up with the right look for Elizabeth came with its own unique challenge, she says, especially since the game developers kept changing the character's look:
"The thing is that I first saw Liz as she appeared initially: a different hairdo, a different costume. Then game developers changed the way she looked. I put away the fabrics I had selected and was like, “Okay, no problem.” I started planning another costume, when they changed her appearance again! I remember pacing around my apartment, furious: "Dear developers! How can one cosplay a character whose appearance is constantly changing?!"
Earlier this year, Levine announced that they had decided to delay the launch of "BioShock Infinite" — the third game in the series and one that takes place in a city suspended in the sky — to give the team time to make it "more extraordinary." The highly anticipated first-person shooter is now due to to hit store shelves on February 26.
While you're waiting for it to arrive, be sure to check out InGame editor Todd Kenreck's videos below for a look at some of the hard work (and the love) gamers put into their costumes.
Winda Benedettiwrites about video games for NBC News. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti and you canfollow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.