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Old 2015-08-09, 08:22 PM   #1
Firestrider57
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Default The Life of Transformers: Bay's Defense

I was born in 1972. This means I was around when wave 1 of Generation 1 hit. Because of that, I was able to watch pretty much every episode of G1 seasons 1-2, Armada, Energon, Cybertron, Animated , Prime. Ok,so I am a little more informed than the nominal TF newbie. That having said, I also went into the "movieverse" with great trepidation. I watched all of the movies (1986-AoE). My observation: The movies carry with it the driving force that made G1 famous. Some said that Bay would kill TF, but I say that Bay is the reason why TF has remained as popular as it is. One of the reasons why I say this is the figures that the series vs. the movies. The movies produce realistic looking figures that are extremely fun and fluid in transformation. They are not blocky and they are exciting. The series have seen two bombs in the last three series ( Animated and Robots in Disguise ( I think). I hate these figures, especially the newest series where Bumblebee is the main character. The animation is garbage and the quality of the figures is, too. Grimlock is smaller than Bumblebee and Optimus looks like Captain Lego. Sorry guys, but the movies rule in better figures, and they will be the rulers for years to come. The only exception to this are the Generations figures.
 
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Old 2015-08-09, 10:02 PM   #2
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I say we should piss on all of this plastic etc shit and go back to playing with rocks and sticks, personally.

But if you don't want to, that's fine, too.
 

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Old 2015-08-09, 11:24 PM   #3
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I would strongly disagree that Animated was a bomb. Personally, it was about my favorite time in Transformers. The show was very good, and I really, really liked what they did with the toys. Some may not care for the artistic style, but the toys were very well designed for the most part and did some amazing things (Blurr's lankiness, Lockdown's height, etc.). And it certainly doesn't hurt that the toys were very reasonably priced (even without magic $5 coupons). Lots of fans were clamoring for the planned fourth season to happen, and they did some very fresh things that made the show very engaging.
It's all a matter of opinion, of course, but I really don't think Animated can be seen as a bomb or failure of any kind.
 
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Old 2015-08-09, 11:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Firestrider57 View Post
Grimlock is smaller than Bumblebee
Assuming kids that care about scale or any interest in RID 201X it's just a question of picking size points -- 3 Step Grimlock / Warrior Strongarm / Legion Fixit, or Warrior Grimlock and Legion figures. They're on par with the TF4 line insofar as there are lots of bright colours and many look like discount store toys, although the plastic on both lines is better quality than it appears.

http://www.takefiveaday.com/2014/07/...-that-a-cliff/

The shrinking window of opportunity before action figures give way to video games and rising production costs have more to do with the overall decline in toy sales than the relative quality of explosion-happy films or Pokémon-styled animation.
 
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Old 2015-08-10, 06:59 PM   #5
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Hmm...there's been a few 'tent pole' lines since the G1 era. Beast Wars rescued the brand from outright cancellation, Armada saw perhaps the biggest surge in interest from children since the G1 era (helped, it has to be said by large, colourful designs and simple gimmicks) and the Unicron Trilogy generally seems to have sold very well.

The Movies, of course, have been a huge hit and driven toy sales for Transformers for the last eight years. Animated didn't fare so well, and may seen to be a case of 'right idea, wrong time', but still managed to last three years at retail (the same amount of time as Beast Wars and Generation 2), so sales can't have been that terrible, but measured against the all encompassing Movie toys, it can be seen as less of a success than perhaps it should have been.

One of the problems I see with Transformers is that we've had 8 years of movie toys (that's longer than G1 ran in the US!) that are just delivering more of the same. There's a real lack of innovation in the line and there's nothing to convince consumers that the new Bumblebee toy has anything different to offer that the last 30 odd movie versions of Bumblebee have brought to market. Coupled with this unfortunate decision to make 3 versions of the same toy in a variety of complexities (1 step, Quick Change Punchy fist fighters, Regular Deluxe etc) in near-identical packaging and you risk saturating the market with a bewlidering and confusing array of product. AOE toys have really struggled to shift - and its not surprising, with only the Dinobots to bring something 'new' to the table, the line hasn't exactly set the world on fire. And its worth noting that DOTM started this slow decline - figures produced for the line that appeared in the movie (Soundwave, Que, Leadfoot) scheduled for later waves found release only as 'Asia exclusives' becasue the line was front-loaded with new versions of characters that kids already owned in form or another (a big misstep if you ask me - surely to Primus you'd make sure all your on screen cast are front and centre on the shelves before you get to pointless shit like Nitro Bumblebee?) I think the next movie will see a much reduced product line - if at all. But probably more Optimus and Bumblebee toys.

As for Generations? Well, as much as we like to kid ourselves otherwise, its a filler line in the vein of the original Universe line aimed at adult collectors. Its a mass market release and Hasbro throwing us a bone, as something they chucked out in 2006 during the downtime between the Unicron trilogy and the first LAM has taken on a life of its own, becoming lucrative enough for Hasbro to continue pumping out new versions of 30 year old toys that you already own/ had as a child/ or are more familiar with from childhood. Interestingly, I do think Combiner Wars could have been a really big deal for Hasbro, but it doesn't feel like there's been much done to push the concept and appeal to children (bunch of small robots make massive robots - what's not to like?), and its just been kind of lost on the shelves, buried in amongst the swamp of unwanted AOE and RID toys. That said, they''ve not exactly been pocket money toys, so I'll shut up now.

RID I haven't seen or have any interest in. It looks fun enough and the character designs are pretty good looking, but the toys look even more cheap and terrible than some of the current Generations toys, but at least seem to have clocked on to be interactive with Smart phone games (whether the game is any good is anyone's guess) - but this is innovation driven by competitors, not through any sudden lightbulb moment on Hasbro's part.

Personally, I find the period between 1996 - 2003 when the brand was on the down low and not afraid to try new ideas and concepts the most exciting. These days, its hard to get blown away by the latest retread of either a movie toy or an old design. Sure, those things have merit and I do find some of them appealing, but its just not doing much to engender much excitement or imagination.
 

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Old 2015-08-10, 08:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Denyer View Post
http://www.takefiveaday.com/2014/07/...-that-a-cliff/

The shrinking window of opportunity before action figures give way to video games and rising production costs have more to do with the overall decline in toy sales than the relative quality of explosion-happy films or Pokémon-styled animation.
Hmm, I agree. We've heard the "video games will kill X" bogeyman for a few decades now, and kids just keep right on playing with both. If the mass-produced plastic toy business is in decline, I don't think it's because of competition from other things vying for attention.
 
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Old 2015-08-10, 09:44 PM   #7
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I will have to disagree with the OP's point that movie toys make the best figures. While there have been some hits (ROTF Leader Prime and Human Alliance Jazz were especially excellent), the main problem comes down to character designs.

Now, I like weird character designs as much as the next guy - I also grew up with G1 and owned an Ironhide with his head in his chest, a hunchback Wheelie with monkey arms and the mono-footed Warpath. One of my favourite Transformer designs of all time is ROTF Scavenger, with his unicycle foot. That was seriously inspired.

But, generally speaking, the movie characters go from regular vehicles into cool, kibble-free robots. While you can fudge the physics in CGI, you can't do so with a toy. This basically means that, in order to look like their on-screen counterparts, most movie toys are kibble-tastic and have giant backpacks. Case in point: AOE Leader Prime, basically a shellformer. Human Alliance Sideswipe wore his entire car mode as a backpack. The Skids and Mudflap ice cream truck was a fiddly mess of plates and panels. For every winner like leader Starscream, there were at least four absolute stinkers. My skin crawls just thinking of that Fearswoop figure or the abominations that were Trans-Scanning Prime and Bumblebee. The Fallen, Ravage and Laserbeak barely had alt-modes.

Whilst we can all agree that the movie toys were a financial success, their overall quality is, I think, debatable. Whilst there were some gems to be found (I have an irrational love for Fast Action Battler Frenzy), I think in general some of the designs were less than impressive.

Oh, and unforgivably, we had the three-bot combining Arcee that didn't actually combine, after they ditched the third one and released a repaint in its stead. That combining feature may have redeemed those figures, but as it stands, those bike bots must surely rank as some of the worst TF figures ever made.
 
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Old 2015-08-16, 10:17 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Skyquake87 View Post
The Movies, of course, have been a huge hit and driven toy sales for Transformers for the last eight years. Animated didn't fare so well, and may seen to be a case of 'right idea, wrong time', but still managed to last three years at retail (
Its a shame there was no animated series to accompany the live action films, considering all the other toys released in the movie line that never appeared on screen. I'd have enjoyed some backstory on Jetfire and the ancient seekers, episodes that fleshes out Jolt, Ratchet, Stratosphere etc.

As long as Bay could have given the producers a list of characters e.g. "Feel free to use & expand these characters, as I won't be using them in the next film"
 
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Old 2015-08-27, 09:03 PM   #9
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Animated didn't fare so well, and may seen to be a case of 'right idea, wrong time', but still managed to last three years at retail (the same amount of time as Beast Wars and Generation 2), so sales can't have been that terrible, but measured against the all encompassing Movie toys, it can be seen as less of a success than perhaps it should have been.
I think you can say that of just about everything since the first movie, though, apart from maaaaybe ROTF which sold like crazy but was an insanely greedy line.

I'd agree on the timing of Animated; to put out a series so utterly unlike the film when the film had basically made the brand genuinely shit-hot again was bizarre. I suspect the plan was to firmly divide the brand into "older fans" and "kids" but it backfired when kids were crazy about the movie stuff and Animated was ran by a gang of G1 nerds.

Quote:
And its worth noting that DOTM started this slow decline - figures produced for the line that appeared in the movie (Soundwave, Que, Leadfoot) scheduled for later waves found release only as 'Asia exclusives' becasue the line was front-loaded with new versions of characters that kids already owned in form or another (a big misstep if you ask me - surely to Primus you'd make sure all your on screen cast are front and centre on the shelves before you get to pointless shit like Nitro Bumblebee?)
Personally I think this was simply arrogance on Hasbro's part - they thought they'd have as long as the Movie/ROTF lines to feed product out and planned to spread out the screen cast and thus padded out earlier waves (personally also think Jolt, Skids and Mudflap were frontlined so as to sell before anyone realised they weren't in DOTM). When the line sold badly that was that (there were a lot of possible toys for DOTM that never got made - I personally think they were planning to do the Wreckers in both weaponised and standard modes, there's the whole Dino thing, etc.).

Quote:
I think the next movie will see a much reduced product line - if at all. But probably more Optimus and Bumblebee toys.
Personally I was expecting that for AoE; instead we got the most batshit insane Transformers line ever. The three different 'Deluxe' toys in similar packaging, the giant non-transforming figures, all just throwing everything at the line and seeing what stuck, crazy.

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As for Generations?
Generations/CW are looking more and more like placeholder lines to keep some 'marquee' characters on shelves divorced from current media (the IDW comics with the penetration of League One football clubs don't count), done as cheaply as possible and probably more aimed at fans than any retail line before. CW especially is bizarre as Hasbro seem to have almost instantly lost interest and faith in the concept.

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Hmm, I agree. We've heard the "video games will kill X" bogeyman for a few decades now, and kids just keep right on playing with both. If the mass-produced plastic toy business is in decline, I don't think it's because of competition from other things vying for attention.
Eh, not sure I agree. Cheap/free mobile games and the proliferation of smartphones and tablets to play them on are more of a threat than physical video games with their £200 systems and £40 titles ever were.

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For every winner like leader Starscream, there were at least four absolute stinkers.
To be fair I think you can say that about pretty much any TF line, especially one that's basically been running for so many years. One of the things I do like about the Movie lines is that there are often second chances for characters - either in later lines (like ROTF Prime compared to the first leader) or at multiple size brackets (Legends Arcee and Wheelie worked much better than their Deluxes, Jazz as a HA etc.). Whereas in the olden days you were stuck with Nightbeat and Sunstreaker being shit.

Quote:
Oh, and unforgivably, we had the three-bot combining Arcee that didn't actually combine, after they ditched the third one and released a repaint in its stead. That combining feature may have redeemed those figures, but as it stands, those bike bots must surely rank as some of the worst TF figures ever made.
Yeh, that whole thing was a mess. Arcee was bad, Chromia like you say genuinely diabolical (I personally will never, ever be happy with the idea of a Transformers figure which can't stand up in robot mode, even if it requires a not-show-accurate transformation like BM Jetstorm/Thrust; it's just one of those things that all action figures should do) and the Elita-1 thing was very badly handled. Compromising the figures for an insane combined mode which didn't make the film and then got fudged out of the toys was stupid.
 
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Old 2015-09-04, 08:42 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Clay View Post
Hmm, I agree. We've heard the "video games will kill X" bogeyman for a few decades now, and kids just keep right on playing with both. If the mass-produced plastic toy business is in decline, I don't think it's because of competition from other things vying for attention.
Well, the trouble isn't necessarily what kids will play with - it's what parents are willing to buy them. And new videogames are expensive.
 
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Old 2015-09-09, 05:26 PM   #11
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Well, the trouble isn't necessarily what kids will play with - it's what parents are willing to buy them. And new videogames are expensive.
I think you're wrong, because toy prices keep going up while game prices keep going down. It used to be there was a pretty clear gap between the price of a Transformer and the price of a video game. But a few things have happened to really throw off that balance. First off, the toys have been hit really hard by inflation in the last five years, with their retail prices increasing significantly (sometimes by nearly 100%!) Meanwhile the price of new video games hasn't changed much since the 80s -- they were $50-$60 in Canada then and they're the same now (which means that they actually cost a lot less when you factor in inflation). On top of that most big-box stores have huge bins of two or three year old games that you can buy for $10 or $20...while a "pocket money" Legends Transformer now costs $13.

It used to be that kids had the choice between spending their allowance on a Minibot every few weeks or saving it up for three, four months to buy a single NES game. And not many kids had the patience for that so toys were the clear winner. Now, not so much.

And once we stop thinking about "video games" in the old paradigm of consoles and cartridges/discs, the picture gets even more bleak. Because now there's also this to consider:

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Eh, not sure I agree. Cheap/free mobile games and the proliferation of smartphones and tablets to play them on are more of a threat than physical video games with their £200 systems and £40 titles ever were.
Tablet and phone games are huge with the traditional action figure demographic. I've even seen kids that couldn't be much more than two or three playing shitty mobile games on their mom's phones while their parents do the grocery shopping. And not only does that provide them with hours of entertainment for much less than the cost of even a small toy, it also keeps them distracted during shopping trips, short-circuiting all of the "Can we go to the toy department, Mom? Oh, oh, they've got Grimlock! Can I have one, pleeeease?" that went on when we were kids.

None of that means that kids will ever stop playing with toys, but I think it's a reality that they'll continue to spend less time with them and more time with other stuff, even at a very young age.
 
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Old 2015-09-09, 06:21 PM   #12
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Not sure about outside of the UK but here at least there's a massive culture for cheap used games - both dedicated second-hand stores and exchanges and chairty shops where even stuff for recent-ish systems can be found. Upgrade culture is a thing now and often games now are so involved that once they're completed people trade them away. Whereas there's no real bricks 'n' mortar equivalent for action figures (and most action figures get more expensive second-hand anyway these days), so that's another area where video games win over physical toys. A kid on tight pocket money over here could get a second-hand PS3 and then find game titles (that's a nationwide chain) regularly for less than the UK RRP (about £16) of a CW limb.

In the UK at least physical toys are ridiculously expensive for the amount of play value most offer compared to a videogame, especially when for something like Transformers you factor in how poor (or at least poorly chosen) a lot of recent main-line product is. Part of me from a purely financial point of view is seriously toying with getting my daughter a tablet instead of spending a wodge of cash on something from Frozen which might only actually hold her attention for the first half hour it's out of the box.
 
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Old 2015-09-09, 07:59 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
None of that means that kids will ever stop playing with toys, but I think it's a reality that they'll continue to spend less time with them and more time with other stuff, even at a very young age.
And I wouldn't blame them, if the toy aisles I see regularly are any indication of the state of toydom in Finland...well, you'd almost think the Transformers was flat-out dead right now - not dying, dead. I've seen only one store carry Transformers at all and even then it's just a bunch of those three step changers and some shelfwarming AoE deluxes, while the rest of that shelf is utterly dominated by TMNT. The other two stores I've been to, the other being an actual toy store, have no Transformers at all.

And when you DO see Transformers, the pricetags are a complete joke. I honestly think the distributor here probably hates the franchise as much as our TV networks hate Star Trek - but I would like to believe they're just sick of all the Bumblebees that aren't selling.
 
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Old 2015-09-11, 01:00 PM   #14
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I know I keep saying this, and apparently the current RID toys make a step in the right direction, but Hasbro could really make more of the fact kids today have all this technology to make the toys more interactive. Modern Robot Points letting you download episodes of the show from Itunes, character profiles that come up when you scan the sqaure barcode thingey (as it's technically called), bonus game stuff and so on.

It really does feel like a ball got dropped with Age of Extinction somewhere along the line. It was the most successful film of 2014 in a year with tough competition, even with the toy industry in decline it should have been easy money. Instead it seems like apathy and poor decisions killed it.
 
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Old 2015-09-11, 09:45 PM   #15
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Yeh, it's really, really difficult to see what the Hell they were thinking with the line. Hasbro got their fingers burnt with DotM and the response was just bizarre.

Way I see it there were two much better options: -

1) **** the fans. Go for a kid-orientated line of simplified figures in a single clearly-marked series. Maybe feed out some more complex figures actually as Generations rather than a subseries of AoE without near-identical packaging.

2) **** the kids. Go back to what worked in 2007 (seven years earlier, i.e. the gap between Diaclone repackaging and Action Masters) with a simple line of decent but not overly complex series of figures that complement each other for the most part; maybe revive Legends as a simple pocket-money option.

It's hard to tell from an older fan's perspective but the various Fast Action Battlers/One Step Changers little kid options really never seem to have caught on. Kids don't like things aimed at little kids, they want the cool ones that look complicated (and I think a lot of live action franchise toys only seem so complex to older fans because we've had twenty-odd years of "fold out back of car to form legs, move doors at ninety degrees to make arms").

Whereas AoE did everything and nothing - a baffling array of product, poorly marked out, overpriced and all quickly turning into shelf warmers, meaning most kids had no chance of collecting it.
 
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Old 2015-09-12, 08:35 PM   #16
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This is probably the best thread to mention this completely uninteresting thing that tickled me earlier:

Transformers got to be a question on Celebrity Pointless (their CBBC special, thrill as the name of a Michael Bay Transformers film got mentioned in front of Andy Crane, Gaz Top, the bloke from Get Your Own Back ect!).

Unsurprisingly "The model who played Carl in the 2011 film Transformers: Dark of the Moon R H L" was the lowest scoring entry in their celebrities with three names round. The typo making it onscreen would have completely destroyed my faith in Pointless if I didn't love it so. In fact, I think this finally validates the Bay films, and especially Carl, in my eyes.

Seeing Geoffrey from Rainbow induced some sadness though, he's very obvious a Very Old Man now.
 
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Old 2015-09-21, 05:45 PM   #17
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Pointless always reinforces how out - of - touch my idea of what constitutes common knowledge is. Love it, mind- especially when the Chuckle Brothers turned up last week!
 

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Old 2015-09-21, 08:02 PM   #18
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Not sure about outside of the UK but here at least there's a massive culture for cheap used games - both dedicated second-hand stores and exchanges and chairty shops where even stuff for recent-ish systems can be found.
Used game culture isn't as strong here as it used to be, and I think it's mainly because they're pricing themselves out of the equation. Since manufacturers tend to put out "classic" or "game of the year" editions of popular games for $10 or $20 only a year or two after initial release, it's not uncommon to walk into a game store and see a used, first-run copy for sale beside a brand-new second edition that costs the same or less.

The big push by MS and Sony to move more and more game sales to a digital platform is choking it off too, and so is the fact that a ton of games come with day-one DLC that you can download for free with a new purchase, but need to pay for if you buy the game second-hand.

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Way I see it there were two much better options: -

1) **** the fans. Go for a kid-orientated line of simplified figures in a single clearly-marked series. Maybe feed out some more complex figures actually as Generations rather than a subseries of AoE without near-identical packaging.

2) **** the kids. Go back to what worked in 2007 (seven years earlier, i.e. the gap between Diaclone repackaging and Action Masters) with a simple line of decent but not overly complex series of figures that complement each other for the most part; maybe revive Legends as a simple pocket-money option.
Either of these would be a better way to approach it than what they actually did. But I'm not sure either one would be a huge success either. The adult fandom as a whole seems a bit cold to the movies after the initial excitement has worn off, and for the current generation of kids there's liable to be a "that's what my big brother liked, not me" factor in play by now. The movies look like they're set to be perpetual box-office hits, but how many hit movies have there been over the last ten years whose toylines absolutely bombed? I'd say there were more bombs than successes, and AoE was definitely leaning towards the former category.

I think Hasbro needs to pare the next movie line down to maybe a few waves of Generations-style product and ONE kid friendly subline. I know that's completely counterintuitive to Hasbro since they're a toy company first and foremost, but the tens of millions they'll rake in from the movie itself should make them fell better about it.
 
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Old 2015-09-21, 08:24 PM   #19
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I know not a jot about the toy business but would it be worth hasbro linking their tv shows to the movies a bit more? I dont mean in a continuity basis but have the same characters and general world and style - so the movie appeals to general audiences and the tv show keeps the overall toy range (and the wealth of characters and their respective models) valid.

I think as well the movie verse should work on their models and the transformation sequences to at least be somewhat similar to the toys.
 
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Old 2015-09-21, 09:06 PM   #20
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I think Hasbro needs to pare the next movie line down to maybe a few waves of Generations-style product and ONE kid friendly subline. I know that's completely counterintuitive to Hasbro since they're a toy company first and foremost, but the tens of millions they'll rake in from the movie itself should make them fell better about it.
While their responses have not been smart I do think that Hasbro are in a bit of a bind here. Like you say, many film toylines have tanked - especially when the film isn't particularly aimed at a toy-buying demographic; it must be tempting at times to do the IDW thing and just leave Paramount to it. But at the same time Hasbro are a toy company and they'd be stupid not to have some tie-in product on the shelves.

I'm just surprised they put so much money into new moulds for each line. If I was them for AoE I'd have done new figures for new characters and then padded the line with retools and repaints; enough to snare the odd completist, make sure Bumblebee's on the shelves and leave it pretty much at that. While most of them were terrible the Legions class would do as a kid-friendly facet.

I do think Transformers is probably just reaching a saturation point for toys sold; there are so many Bumblebees and Primes out there that the last lot haven't been cleared before the new lot arrive. I don't think it's a need for fresh characters exactly as the public like these guys, just that Transformers are durable and few parents are going to be crazy about springing for a new Prime just because his truck mode's a bit different (it'd be interesting to know how many people who watched DOTM in the cinema in 2011 and then had no real contact with the brand before watching AoE were even particularly aware of the changes and just assumed Prime changed back into his '07 form after his Evasion Mode mood). Kids are pretty easy - they want everyone and everything but if they like Transformers they'll settle for a few Transformers the way we did when we were kids.

And it's the same for adult fans as well, especially considering the poor reception for a lot of the updated figures in the DOTM/AOE lines; various things have also frustrated anyone trying to collect the cast too, such as guys only coming out in Hong Kong and getting scalped to high hell (Leadfoot, Soundwave), guys getting toys that are desperate rejigs of others (Dino, Stinger) and guys who just plain didn't get toys in a size class that halfway matched anyone else.

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Originally Posted by Red Dave Prime View Post
I know not a jot about the toy business but would it be worth hasbro linking their tv shows to the movies a bit more? I dont mean in a continuity basis but have the same characters and general world and style - so the movie appeals to general audiences and the tv show keeps the overall toy range (and the wealth of characters and their respective models) valid.
I think that was definitely the idea behind Prime but what with other factors like the show being on their own channel and the weird mess the toyline ended up being the success or otherwise is difficult to quantify. Hasbro are definitely pushing for a sort-of overarching Ultimate Transformers universe with the books and shows; the 'problem' is that IDW and especially Paramount don't really care and are happy doing their own thing. The relationship with Paramount is a different one to the grateful junior partners Hasbro have had in the past like Mainframe, (pre-Disney) Marvel and so on - Paramount are big big business the same way Hasbro are, if not moreso.

Quote:
I think as well the movie verse should work on their models and the transformation sequences to at least be somewhat similar to the toys.
Nah... the transformations (while getting rarer with each film - in the first every single character had a detailed onscreen transformation... in the fourth most were either fudged or offscreen) are special effect money shots and require a certain level of complexity to transform a real working car into what suspends audience belief as a real robot. Even the best Transformers toys like Masterpiece are full of the sort of cheating that would be impossible in live action - things like car interiors being full of limbs, fake alt mode features, robot mode kibble etc.
 
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