Monday, January 20, 2014

Hasbro Confirms Simplified Transformations, Box Art for Transformers 4

Back in the summer, during Botcon, Hasbro mentioned they are were going to make a push to simplify transformation sequences. Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner discussed the new goal with the New York Times (via TFW2005) along with the first official look at the new line wide packaging for Transformers that isn't just for TF4 but all lines.

The left image is "Smash and Change" Optimus Prime which clearly is for younger kids since there really isn't any transformation involved but this isn't the same as the Leader (or Voyager) class figure leaked last week. The highlights from the article are below.
Enthralled by the special effects in three big-budget “Transformers” movies that enabled the robots to convert in a matter of seconds, Mr. Goldner decided the toys needed to return to their roots. So he challenged his design team to reconceive them. Now, on the 30th anniversary of the brand, Hasbro is revealing a new look for the toys, including simple maneuvers that will complete a transformation with the push of a button or flick of the wrist.

“Our retail partners, they are getting very excited,” said Joshua Lamb, the senior design director for the toy line. “This rethinking of the brand is setting the stage long-term.”

The toys are expected to land on retail shelves in May, a few weeks before the release of the movie. Hasbro says it will build on the promotion for the movie with a marketing campaign of its own that will include ads on television and in theaters as well as on digital platforms, like mobile and social media.

Mr. Lamb conceded that the brand had gotten a little off track over the years. “As new designers and engineers continued to work on this brand, it got more complicated,” he said. Hasbro will continue to make complex Transformers for adult fans who have collected the toys since their inception 30 years ago. But the new design is intended to re-engage parents and children, who found the transformations too challenging.

The move to reduce the complexity of the toys extends to the branding, too. The property often has multiple toy lines on sale, reflecting various TV, movie and classic versions of the characters, leading to confusion in the toy aisle. Now, all Transformers toys will come under a single, bold logo.

The design of the packaging has been reduced to emphasize the toy and its action feature, leaving “as much space as possible to celebrate the characters,” said Jonathan Newkirk, the creative brand manager for Transformers.

“These are not necessarily the cheap tricks of marketing,” Mr. Newkirk said. “This is something that goes deeper than just the branding. We are trying to give the identity a voice in a very uncluttered way.”
In general I really can't argue with the go simple decision as some of the toys have truly become a pain in the rear to transform (3rd party also suffer from this). Still I wonder if the trade-off is worth it as the complexity often came with a lot of articulation, detail and often excellent robot and alt modes. In the past, say with Generation 1 and Beast Wars, the simplistic sequences often resulted in subpar details, poor articulation and most of the toys have either a great looking robot mode or a great looking alt mode but rarely both. Hopefully when more of the line is shown off at London Toy Fair starting Tuesday (don't know if open to the public) it may let us know if Hasbro has cracked the problem of balancing transformation with look and play value.

As for the packaging, the G1 line back in the 80s did it better with more colorful and varied look that also achieve the same goals without such a boring design. I don't have a problem with a unifying look but seems like they could have done better with the box design or even copied what they did 30 years ago (appropriate for an anniversary year) and avoid such blandness in look. Maybe it will grow on me, time will tell starting around mid-May. Assuming they can get it in stores as trying to find new releases continues to remains far more difficult than it should be.

25 comments:

  1. I hope official deluxe, voyager and leader class toy packages won't look that lame.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really hate the packages and toy overall. Totally not worth buying if its going to look like that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. As a huge collector of Transformer toys, for nearly 30 years, I hate it and won't buy them again if they are all white with plain red writing. Stupidest idea they've ever had toywise and their Transformations DO NOT need to be simpler, more detail would be better if anything. Not happy, game over :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. its already game over for me i'm not going to see the movie I have a feeling I know whats going to happen they will focused on Mark Walburgh, hes going to be the great hero, while his daughter is going to be moving in slow motion, and her boyfriend will be just goofy.

      Delete
    2. Same. I've been collecting them since the 80's. Not impressed with the toys at all and not going to give my money for crap.

      Doesn't waver me from seeing the movie though. I'll see it in theaters and buy it on Blu-Ray. I can still do that part of my collection.

      Delete
  4. Tfcollect:shellformers with a gimick. Horrible. I wish they wouldve just stuck with the ROTF designs and kept it moving forward. Was the best line of them all. I collected DOTM but was very reluctant, they were bad. I can't allow myself to make an exception this time around. Just lost a 30yr collector.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For the first and second Transformers movies both Hasbro and Michael Bay did a wonderful job. Toys were excellent. Movies with top-notch CGI and action packed, long complex action scenes.
      Transformers3 was really lazy with re-used CGI and short boring action scenes and the toys were just cheap plastic too. Nothing new. Nothing good.
      Now Transformers4 toys look crap again... let's hope the movie at least is worth it and Michael Bay put the needed effort... and ILM is going to deliver proper outstanding CGI once again.

      Delete
  5. Breakdown: well this is the result of people complaining about how difficult the transformation of the previous figures...sad.this is what we have to deal with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nowadays too many people are really dumb. But the worst is multinationals managers listening to people nonsense hoping to increase profits by lowering quality then... That is just a really disgusting way to rip people off. Hasbro managers are a shame.

      Delete
  6. These are products for CHILDREN not adults who have been collecting them their entire life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How dare they make toys for children to play with.

      Delete
    2. Nonsense. The Transformers toys released in the '80s were for kids.. 8 - 12 years old was the main target at the time. BUT those were made of quality plastics and metal, along with complex mechanics and fine details.
      Nowadays Hasbro managers just want to spend a few bucks in China for very low quality products, ripping people off reselling crap.

      Delete
    3. I disagree. Nowadays we have so many different laws that our children are basically pussy's. Thus toy companies and the like have to adhere to those standards

      Delete
  7. Unfortunately being as it is a toy line children are who they are mainly trying to cater too. Not us adults who happen to be collectors

    ReplyDelete
  8. why hasbro?we love rotf leader optimus prime and leader dotm sentinel and ironhide

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm going to reserve judgement on the toys until I actually see them. As with the previous movie lines I suspect some of them will look good, some of them will look bad.

    ReplyDelete
  10. the leader class and stuff wont be that far off they are almost as simplified as this baby version...fkn idiot hasbro

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'll just stick with Takara, Masterpiece and Henkei.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Boohoo the toys look like crap. Life is over. My collection is forever ruined. Really guys? I understand people collect but c'mon it's children's toys. They even state they will make more complicated figures

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tfcollect:yes they are children toys, however that doesn't mean they should forget about collectors. Lets keep it real. When the children lose lose interest we gain interest. I have pieces worth hundreds. Unopened since the early 80s. We understand that hopefully they will make models geared towards adult collectors, we're commenting on what we are seeing right now. Shouldnt be any problem with that.

      Delete
    2. Martinus Prime1/21/2014 9:06 AM

      I get what everybody is saying, everybody has a point. And Hasbro should indeed not forget the collectors. I think they bring in just as much, maybe even more money than the parents buy for their kids.
      But why sould they look and be more articulate and be difficult to transform? You keep (a lot of them) new unopened in the box, you don't even open the box. I don't get that, I do get you want to keep the box as new as possible, but if I were a collector I always wanted to hold them in my hands once and display them on a shelf, like a lot of you also do.

      Delete
    3. Tfcollect:some of them I do open, trust me. But my most prized collections I do not. And I'm not the type of collector that only buy one of each. My son collects them as well so I purchase two at a time of each character. He open his. And he and I learn how to transform the most inticate ones together. Once you successfully transform them it becomes that much easier, and we find shortcuts to do them faster. I love the movie 1-2line. The hardest one of the DOTM line was Sentinel, but again my son and I learned a faster way together. Maybe my way of interacting with my son is how some of these parents need to interact with their children and stop complaining. My son has more fun transforming them then actually playing with them and feels a sense of accomplishment when he does it and then admire the detail of them. That in my opinion is probably what Hasbros intentions were but it backfired.

      Delete
  13. There's not a problem other than everyone needs to simmer down. No amount of complaining will get these figures changed. Up close and in hand they may look really good.

    I agree with Martinus. These things never last in a box for me either. I used to collect but had to get rid of some.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Until I started collecting, I never had the opportunity to transform a Transformer. The first one I transformed was MP Prowl. That wasn't too bad. The second one was Human Alliance Sideswipe. Holy Crap! I had to follow along with a video on youtube to figure the damn thing out. Luckily my Mirage, Red Alert,Skywarp,Bumblebee and Asterisk Sunstreaker came already transformed. I don't mind figuring them out and I'm sure I'll get better at it, with every transformation. While I'm not impressed with the new simplified Hasbro version, I know that they're geared more towards kids, which is perfectly fine.
    I honestly like the Takara, Masterpieces and Henkei better. I will say that I can't wait to see what the actual Drift collectible looks like. Drift has quickly become my second favorite character (one guess at whose still my first favorite). I'm still not impressed that Bay decided to use Sideswipe's alt mode for another character that isn't Sides or Sunny.That's just me tho.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Tfcollect:I enjoy the intricate transformation. It seems to have better detail and once you complete it it feel like an accomplishment. I know its geared for kids, however I don't feel as if they need so simple. Like making things easier is the key but it a detriment. That the problem with kids today they want simpler way of doing things. These transformers should be educational as well as fun.

    ReplyDelete

 
               
               Creative Commons License