All cosplay expenses paid for a year in exchange for modeling a custom-made costume is a helluva trade.

Crystal Graziano has been cosplaying since 2005. Gaming is a passion for her, but dressing up as characters from games and heading to conventions like San Diego Comic Con is now a professional gig. In an unorthodox public relations stunt, Red 5 announced today that it is officially sponsoring all of Graziano’s cosplay activities in 2012. That means paying for all materials, travel and photo shoots, expenses which, as anyone familiar with the cosplay world will tell you, can rack up very quickly. In exchange, Graziano agreed to portray the character of Mourningstar from the upcoming shooter MMO Firefall by wearing a costume designed by Hollywood visual effects master Steve Wang at major conventions. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, right?

“Because Firefall‘s sci-fi world and story are so rich and colorful, we see there being a lot of interest from artists and designers,” said Mark Kern, head of Red 5. “Developers should embrace these individuals because they add so much to the universe, both in-game and out. This program is our way of showing appreciation and support for what they contribute to the game and community.”

Graziano has gotten attention for her costumes before, but this honor is a huge step forward for her. The video provided by Red 5 of her touring the facility where Steve Wang is busy making her costume shows a genuine love and knowledge of the crafting involved. She certainly seems up to the task.

We don’t get to see a final version of the Mourningstar costume, but there is enough of a hint shown for me to guess that it’s going to be pretty badass. Graziano will have some heavy-duty firepower in that mech, is all I’m saying.

I can’t wait to see the final look at PAX or E3.

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