Beginning on Thursday, EA and Bioware will promote their video-game space odyssey Mass Effect 3 by sending copies of the game into near space via weather balloons in New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Berlin, London and Paris. Fans will be able to collect the game well ahead of the release date if they can snag the copies that float back to Earth—assuming they have the necessary hardcore science to guestimate its landing position based on atmospheric conditions (or, I suppose, pure luck). Game industry comic Penny Arcade suggests this marketing decision was made because it was far less lethal than sending the fans themselves into near-space. Another interesting decision this time around was to include the female version of Commander Shepard in the marketing. Though you’ve always been able to choose a feminine avatar for Shepard, she was never featured in any of the cinematic trailers. Check the trailer below to see the FemShep, as she is known, that fans selected over Facebook. After the jump, see the latest cinematic feature with the male version of Shepard, as well as the requisite live-action trailer.