Sunday, June 27, 2010

Botcon 2010 Panel News

Botcon 2010, the official Transformers convention, was held this weekend at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Hasbro, Activision, IDW, Peter Cullen and more held panels that provided updates on the toys, new cartoon, and more. One of these years I will get to attend but thankfully the other Transformers websites did and reported back. This post is for the panel news and the other for the toy galleries.

Transformers Hall of Fame - Trophy | Display | Dinobot Case
This year's Botcon is also the first year for the Transformers Hall of Fame the inaugural class including is Bob Budiansky (more or less father of much of the Generation One mythology and character personalities), Peter Cullen (needs no introduction), Hideaki Yoke (engineered the transformation concept in toys, TF designer), Kojin Ohno (designer of many Transformers), Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Megatron, Starcream and Beast Wars' Dinobot (chosen by the fans). If you are not sure why Dinobot won, you should watch the last two seasons of Beast Wars.

Botcon 2011 Location
Botcon 2011 will be held at the California Pasadena Convention Center on June 2nd to 5th, perfect for taking advantage of any promotional efforts from Paramount and Hasbro for the release of Transformers 3 later that month.

Transformers Toy Panel
Attended by a few Hasbro employees, this covered Hasbro's toy release plans for the remainder of the year, including a list of all the toys and classes they plan to release (at the link). No new Robot Heroes are planned. Hasbro aware of quality control issues and working with manufacturers to fix it (not sure what this was exactly in reference too).

Hasbro Designer Panel
While the toy panel was about current plans, this panel was about possible future plans and ideas that Hasbro is kicking around. This includes G1 Legends figures with Optimus, Starscream, Megatron (with gun mode) that could be held by Masterpiece Starscream, WFC Cliffjumper (BB repaint), Deluxe Thunderwing (inspired by his Pretender shell), Generations Tracks (Wheeljack repaint), Perceptor & Reflector, Fallback (Brawn repaint), and Jazz. Dinobots released as part of Powercore line lead by Grimstone (guess Grimlock isn't available anymore) with G1 colors. Showed concept art for the 13 Primes including Alpha Trion (prophet/historian), Leige Maximo (based on G2 comics), Vector Prime, Prima (Warrior of Light), Megatronus (name from W4C, the Fallen from the movies). Hinted that Kup might be a future figure, designers wouldn't mind revisting Beast Wars, no plans for W4C Trypticon and Omega Supreme, working on more female Transformers, and apparently there are story and toys plans around the 13.

War for Cybertron Panel
Panel with War for Cybertron's Game Director Matt Tieger and Senior Design Director Aaron Archer as they discuss the game and their approach to it. The game was 2 years in development with lot of thought put into multiplayer balance. Hasbro wanted Ultra Magnus for the game but High Moon could not fit him in. Some player choices, such as Warpath and Barricade, were made for game play reasons. For continuity purposed, Sentinel Zeta Prime is full name of Optimus' predecessor. More W4C books are planned. They would not confirm or deny if a DLC is in the works (bet one is). Some major characters, such as Grimlock, not used if couldn't do them "justice" or if mechanics too different from the norm such as the triple changers. High Moon is open to a sequel and wants to play with other characters and concepts. The Wii game was farmed out to a third party as not setup for Wii development. Aaron also mentioned that Beast Wars could become part of the W4C established continuity but no specifics provided. Click here for concept art for Ultra Magnus, Rodimus, Dragstrip and Motormaster.

Transformers Prime
Panel covers the upcoming cartoon that will be part of Hasbro's The Hub network. To start with biggest news for G1 fans, joining Peter Cullen will be Frank Welker as voice of Megatron (and probably Soundwave). Prime will be a full CGI show, 26 episodes to start, set in Movie continuity and plotted through four seasons. Core cast is Optimus, Bumblebee, Ratchet, Arcee (new version, not movie), Bulkhead (based on TF: Animated), Cliffjumper (not a BB repaint), Megatron, Starscream and Soundwave. Transformers are spread throughout the universe in hiding, "sleeper mode", or lost. Prime was chosen as it will look into what it means to hold the rank. The series has been in production for only 10 months and that CGI models are not complete yet. It was indicated that the series may not debut with the network on 10/10. Susan Blu (traditional voice of Arcee) will be voice director. There will be human cast but the focus will be on the bots.

IDW Panel
This panel covers IDW's Transformer plans for the next few months. TF Ongoing will add the Combaticons and "an international incident", Ironhide will conclude with "biggest showdown in any Transformers comic, Sector 7 will trace the history of the agency from Megatron's arctic discovery to the beginning of the 1st movie, and TF: Prime will have a graphic novel in time for the premiere on the Hub. IDW also said they have no plans for a Transformers: Animated comic and a new series is in the works but not able to reveal specifics yet.

Transformers Toy Panel
Attended by a few Hasbro employees, this covered Hasbro's toy release plans for the remainder of the year, including a list of all the toys and classes they plan to release (at the link). No new Robot Heroes are planned. Hasbro aware of quality control issues and working with manufacturers to fix it (not sure what this was exactly in reference too).

Peter Cullen Panel
The voice of Optimus Prime has his own panel that was essentially a Q&A between him and the fans. Apparently Cullen did some of his voices including Prime, Ironhide and Eeyore so a shame there isn't video of the panel. Information wise, nothing really revealed. Overall, Cullen enjoys doing the voice of Optimus, glad to be working with Welker again and tends to move on from a character once it ceases to exist (death, end of show, etc).

Bob Budiansky Panel
The writer of for Transformers in the 80s discussed how he became involved with the toy line and stories from that time. Buster Witwicky (name in the comics) was originally called Spike Witwicky. The Ark was called "Aunty" a crashed into Mount Saint Elents instead of St. Hillary, Starscream was going to be "Olchtar", Hasbro initially rejected the name "Megatron" as "to scary", Ratchet was going to be a she until Hasbro nixed it saying there were no female Transformers. Also Ravage was first called Jaguar, then Stalker. Jetfire was first called Firebolt, Blowout became Cliffjumper, and Guzzle named Trailbreaker. Bob created most of the G1 tech spec descriptions, slogans and rating. Bob started on the Marvel Transformers books at special project editor but by issue 5 was the writer. By 1988 he was burned out at having to add up to 40 new characters into the story, displacing the older characters on a regular basis. This led to Simon Furman taking over writing duties after a February 1989 lunch meeting. Witwicky was the creation of Jim Shooter (major comic’s editor, writer, creator in the 70s and 80s) from someone he knew.

TakaraTomy Panel
This panel involved Hideaki Yoke, about the Japanese side of Transformers. Sunstreaker was the first transformer they designed; Yoke-san is the go between Takara and Hasbro when the line was brought stateside. He has the unique distinction of being one of the few people that have touched every Transformers product ever made. He mostly manages the brand but the last design work he did was for Animated Swoop. Other reveals include green Devastator as Hasbro's idea, the movie design was from Hasbro but the creative/inventive side came from Takara and Astrotrain was almost never released. When asked about reissuing Shockwave, he said "original shockwave? don't you want a future one?" (Not sure why can't do both.)

Transformers Collector's Club Roundtable
Discussed the creation of the Botcon exclusive toys, the motivation, problems and work that went into them. Also announced that near year's club exclusive toys will be RID Sideburn using Classics Hot Rod mold, G2 Ramjet (using Classics Ramjet mold) and Animated Transtech Cheetor (Animated Blurr mold with new head sculpt).

Panel Photo Gallery - Images taken while various panels were going on.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome... guy in the cowboy hat and long blond hair is Scott McNeil! Nice guy, I met and chatted with him a long time ago. He usually does the anime convention circuit since he's the voice for a lotta anime characters.

    Nice to know that Bot-con 2011 is back in Pasadena! I'll definitely bring back Bumblebee in a repaired and upgraded form. Not too different from 2009.


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