ROund 1--Seibertron.com’s HASBRO Round 1 Q/A:
1.) Will there be toys based on characters presented in any of the IDW comic book series? We know the new character DRIFT is supposed to get the toy treatment, but what about favorites like Sentinel Prime (Megatron: Origins), Nova Prime (-tion series and Spotlights), Thunderwing (Stormbringer). An answer in response to the general question, not the specific characters would be much appreciated (unless you want to mention specific characters...)!
2.) Will we see the Alternators line return soon? BinalTech has returned to Takara Tomy, and Takara Tomy is also adding the new Alternity line. The Alternators line was supposed to make a comeback after the first movie, but we are getting close to the second and no mention of any Alternators revival.
When we can we love to fold into the product line any new or popular
character from any outside source Comic or Video game. We have done
things like the Fallen in the past, and we look for more down the road.
3.) Are you considering releasing any other re-issues of Generation 1 toys like 25th Anniversary Optimus Prime at this time? He’ll be pretty lonely on his own shelf.
There are no current plans for Alternators in 2009. There are just so
many exciting things happening in 2009 that we had to make choices. The
team likes the Alternators concept, but unfortunately it's just not the
right time for a re-launch.
4.) There are a lot of issues with HASBRO brand product quality control lately. We know you care about the brand and toy because of your desire to protect collectors from lesser quality Knock Offs, but can you tell us what you have been doing to address issues with HASBRO Quality Control problems such as loose pieces that fall off out of the package, poor paint application quality, missing paint applications, and as the case may be with Universe Prowl- tacky, sticky paint.
We have a few G1 molds that we would like to see come out in Fall 2009,
but not yet ready to announce as they will likely be retailer exclusives.
5.) Transformers fans love the fact that you are now putting us on a more equal footing with GI JOE and STAR WARS collectors by doing this Q/A, responding to the fandom more, and offering more nods to popular fan characters. Any plans for the ‘fan favorite’ idea to be put to use with Transformers? A poll could be taken in the same manner as has been done for GI JOE and STAR WARS. That way, you could see if there was a large demand for characters without us flooding HASBRO’s regular e-mail address, or filling forums with, "Will Hasbro ever make 'X' threads?"
You are correct in stating that a quality product is at the forefront
of our minds. First point, as conversion of Transformers has become more
complicated, it is critical for peices to pop off more easily. This is
meant to stop breakage and stress points. It some of the pieces didn't pop
off, they might end up snapping off or at the very least stressing the
plastic. However, we have heard some complaints about Animated products
and are currently investigating. If you have specific issues please
contact our consumer affairs department.
The fan choice would be a lot of fun to do! Transformers are a little
harder to pull off than Joe or Star Wars because of the complex tooling
(costs a lot more due to size and complexity). But that doesn't mean we
won't do it - it just won't be in 2009...unless of course you vote for the
Bay-former since we already have Michael Bay's head sculpted - HA! (those
of you that saw the Easter Eggs on the movie DVD will know what I'm
TFW2005: Will we see a US release of Alternators or Alternity in 2009?
Hasbro: Likely not. There are so many other things happening in 2009 with Animated, the 25th Anniversary, and TF:ROTF that there really isn't room to do so. But we keep them on our radar.
TFW2005: Will there ever be GI Joe styled 3.75 inch figures for human characters (any generation)?
Hasbro: There are currently no plans for a 3.75" scale human figure in any Transformers line, but we do have an awesome concept for Fall 2009 in support of the movie that I think you will find very cool! Stay tuned
TFW2005: Will Animated and Universe toys be sold alongside the new movie toys next year or will they be put on hold to make room for the first few waves of the movie toys on stores shelves?
Hasbro: Universe will be put on hold when the movie toys come out (although we will likely have a few new toys out in Universe as retailer exclusives). But Animated will continue with certain key assortments alongside of the new Movie toys. But we don't think of Universe being done, just on hiatus.
TFW2005: Will we ever see Voyager/Ultra/Leader class molds of more popular/leader-based characters in the Universe/Classics 2.0 line?
Hasbro: Since we did Optimus and Megatron in Voyager when we launched Classics, we didn't want to go back and do new versions at a slightly larger scale so soon after. So we have been focusing on bringing out characters in the higher priced assortments that have great alt modes and have pretty good fan recognition. After we get through the movie product we will likely re-evaluate Universe to see which characters we want to focus on. There are still so many great characters that haven't been done at all in Classics/Universe that we have been wanting to get those out first.
TFW2005: Will there be an Omega Supreme toy for Animated?
Hasbro: Not in the near future. In order to do Omega Supreme justice, it would need to be Leader or Supreme Class. And we typically only launch those as new molds in the fall. With the Movie coming out this summer, the higher priced toys will be in the Movie line. But we do love the way he turned out and would love to see him in the line.
Q&A for October 13th -
ActionFigs.com: Although we realize that Hasbro and the Transformers Collectors Club might like to keep the BotCon exclusives as unique as possible, the demand for the remaining three 'Seeker' Decepticons (Thrust, Dirge, and Thundercracker) is enormous. An upcoming Starscream figure looks to be a repaint of the Classics figure from two years ago in a more cartoon-accurate paint scheme. Since these other three Seekers had minor color differences in their various incarnations, could it be possible that they could see a wider release in altered versions that could not easily be mistaken for the BotCon versions (especially since Thrust and Dirge also required new wings which are, so far, unique to these releases)? And while we're on the subject of repainted Seekers, can we expect a Sunstorm in the future as well?
Hasbro: Thank you for understanding what the big issue is with the exclusive sets - we need to ensure that we don't de-value those sets. I think that it is possible for Hasbro to release new versions of those characters as long as there are enough differences from the original Classics versions. However, we have been trying to get a wide variety of the Seekers out before going back to do 2nd versions. So we don't have any immediate plans for those 3 characters, but they are not totally "off limits". And to your Sunstorm question - Acid Storm was originally going to be Sunstorm, but we changed our mind. So now you know Sunstorm is on the short list of Seekers!
ActionFigs.com: Will the Universe and Animated lines continue alongside new Revenge of the Fallen movie product for 2009? If not, are there plans for them to return towards the end the ROTF movie line's run?
Hasbro: We anticipate the Animated TV Series being on air throughout 2009, so we will plan on having some Animated toys along side of the ROTF product. The line clearly won't be as big as it is right now, but we will keep some key assortments going. As for Universe, it will continue via some retailer exclusives, etc. but it likely won't be as large of a line as it will be before the Movie. But we are very happy with the Universe line and expect it to become a bigger part of our line again at some point after the movie product has run its course.
ActionFigs.com: On the filecard for the Classics Grimlock, his function is listed as Dinobot Commander. Since his card specifically mentions his role in charge of a group called 'Dinobots', could the Universe Classics line get some of these 'Dinobots' for him to command? Off the tops of our heads, we can come up with very good suggestions for names (all of which start with an 'S' for some reason) and alt-modes for 4 of these hypothetical 'Dinobots.'
Hasbro: We love the Dinobots too! And we really liked how the Grimlock figure turned out. However, due to the movie we have really been focusing on vehicle modes for the most part in Universe instead of beast modes since those are the most recognizable to the largest audience. There are some new beasts planned for the 25th Anniversary Universe line to celebrate the Beast Wars era, so we hope that will open the doors for us to do more of the Dinobots in the future. But there are no short-term plans for any of the other 4 original Dinobot characters right now.
ActionFigs.com: In the Classics and Universe Classics line, we've gotten updated versions of Astrotrain and Octane (under the replacement name, Tankor). Any chance of seeing the third Decepticon Triple-Changer, Blitzwing, as a Classics-style figure soon? The set seems a little incomplete at the moment.
Hasbro: We've really tried to provide a wide variety of characters in the Universe/Classics line, especially recently with the 25th Anniversary line because we really wanted to try to celebrate ALL aspects of the brand. So the fact that we have done 2 triple-changers already is a big feat! Because we have already done 2, we were focusing on some other things. But that doesn't mean we won't do Blitzwing, just that the timing hasn't been right. Also, he is a key character in Animated and we try to not have the same characters out in both lines if the toy would be similar.
ActionFigs.com: A line of discussion that has come up many, many times among fans over the past quarter-decade of Transformers has been that of a combiner figure made up of the Dinobots. That has always felt like a fairly natural extension of some already popular Transformers concepts, yet nothing has really ever come of it in the line's 25 years beyond the rather underwhelming Energon Grimlock/Swoop set. We have combiners based on construction vehicles, airplanes, cars, military vehicles, trains, predator animals, sea life, Maximals, Predacons, even pretender monsters; yet not the beloved Dinobots. Why is that? And what are the possibilities of seeing a Dinobots combiner in the future?
Hasbro: Well, we can't really answer for anything other than what we have done for the past 8 or 9 years. Most of the reasons why we have chose the combiners we did was our past history. There never was a Dinobot combiner, so we didn't think of re-inventing it. That being said, there is no reason not to do a Dinobot combiner. I think in order for that to happen though it will need to be an important part of a TV series.
TFviews.com: Although this has been bandied about for a while, we’re hoping to finally get a definitive answer for TF: Animated on this. With TF, it’s generally assumed that the toys are designed first, and that those designs are then adopted for the other media (Cartoon, Comics, etc.; the movie not withstanding). With TF: Animated though, it seems that this might not be the case. How were the designs for Animated handled, were the toy designs worked out in tandem with the cartoon designers, did the cartoon artists take their lead from the toy designs, or was it some other process?
Hasbro: For TF Animated specifically, the Toy Designs are worked out simultaneously with the Animation Designs. In some cases, Derrick had a base idea for a character. In other cases I would have the base idea. And in some other cases, his and my ideas were very different. But no matter what the scenario. Derrick and i would always email sketches back and forth until we were both happy with the design. The most common reasons for change from myself were product transformation based. It’s a major part of my job to visualize transformation schemes that can be achieved in both Animation and Product.
TFviews.com: With the current TF:Universe packaging, we appreciate the return to character box art, but why is it that nearly all of the art for the characters share the same face? Some fans have said they felt the look was static, lifeless, even creepy; and they don’t really match the faces of the figures within. So what’s the story with this boxart?
Hasbro: We actually noticed the same thing when the art first started coming in. Unfortunately due to timing we didn’t have time to go back and re-do them. I think you’ll see that as the line progresses that you will start to see more differences and more of the personalities coming out of the artwork.
TFviews.com: With the TF Crossovers line, we know that those brands’ teams (Star Wars and Marvel) design their Transformers themselves with input from the TF team. How much input does the TF team give those other brands teams in general, and what kinds of input is given there?
Hasbro: Mostly best practices, and ways to make the most out of each form. Those items need to do what is best for that Brand and we help out as needed.
TFviews.com: Was the recent Universe Galvatron originally designed to be an Ultra vehicle, and was scaled down? There seems to be a strong belief by fans on this one that the complex nature of the figure’s design and transformation, not to mention the stature of the character himself, suggest that this mold was originally destined for a larger scale and then dialed back. Any truth to that?
Hasbro: Galvatron was initially thought of as being an Ultra or Voyager scale. I wanted him big, he IS Galvatron after all. But we already had larger tank-like vehicles in the Universe line, such as Onslaught and Dropshot/Scattershot. So he was actually moved to Deluxe while he was still in the sketching stage. So he was actually designed and engineered to be a deluxe from pretty much the start, though having him larger would have been my preference.
TFviews.com: Are there any surprising examples where ambitious design elements came close but didn’t clear budget? There’s always the loss of translucent parts, but there’s also stuff like Cybertron Optimus Prime’s spare tire weapons, and many have speculated that the Vector Prime figure’s chest was supposed to contain an electronic light gimmick to shine through the Cyber Keys (any truth to that one?).
Hasbro: Well any designer has to balance cost concerns when designing products. There are always alterations between the original vision and the final product but rarely are we off by such a wide margin that we loose significant features. As for Vector Prime, I honestly cannot recall if there was a light feature or not.
Unicron.com ask: Can you tell us about your plans to produce female character toys for Transformers, especially including SARI but we’re also interested to hear about your plans for Arcee and Genaral Strika (as well as human figures such as professor Isaac Sundac, Capt. Fanzone and super-human villans like the Angry Archer.
Hasbro: Arcee is a fan favorite character and will become more fleshed out in the upcoming season of TF Animated. We have a toy planned for her as well. No Plans for Strika right now. As for the humans, as much as we would all want an Angry Archer figure, there are no plans to produce the humans.
Unicron.com asked: I’d like to know more about what else is planned to commemorate Transformers 25th Anniversary. Will there be more "completely show-accurate" versions of characters from past lines like cartoon accurate Universe Deluxe Starscream figure or other “Masterpiece” figures?
Hasbro: We are looking at releasing another Masterpiece figure in the US in Fall 2009, but are not ready to make an announcement yet. Also we are glad you liked the new version of Starscream. I think that we are looking at each character individually and deciding how we want to handle it. But there might be a few more suprises for you in 2009.
Unicron.com asked: Can you tell us about the Transformers Animated Constructicons making their way to toy form: size, price point, potential release date, will they interact/unite in anyway?
Hasbro: Contrary to Popular belief. We have no concrete plans for Animated Constructicon Product. Any drawings that support evidence otherwise are merely situational design explorations in the event that we one day decide to do them.
Unicron.com asked: I would like to ask how many more figures are planned for Transformers Animated as a way to see if Animated is officially an “ongoing” series? In other words, does Hasbro have plans to evolve it into something else; in the way that Armada became Energon which became Cybertron which was phased out in favor of Classics…? We hope not, we love Aniimated and would like to see it stick around for awhile!
Hasbro: We look at Transformers Animated as its own thing, so if the story evolves it will likely still be called Transformers Animated, and maybe have a sub-name. Hasbro plans to continue with the Animated toys throughout 2009 as we anticipate the series continuing on Cartoon Network throughout the year.
Unicron.com asked: Is Transformers going to offer "Comic Book Packs" similar to Star Wars and G.I. Joe, where a classic figure is packaged with a reprint of a pertinent comic?
Hasbro: We have begun to do this with some exclusives. There are one or two coming out this fall, but will likely be at a higher price point than the SW and Joe packs since our figures are so much bigger. I know one is a Voyager and Deluxe packed with a comic.