Q&A With The Hasbro Design Team! Influences On RID Overload, Mass-Shifting, Sentinel Prime, & More!
RAC - Friday, November 20, 2015
After the pre-Toy Fair 2016 preview, the Hasbro design team for Transformers was kind enough as to answer some questions for us! RAC was there to ask questions of Jerry Jivoin, John Warden, Sean C. Isabella, and Ben Montano, and we've got all the answers here! Click through to see it all!
On hand were:
Jerry Jivoin, Marketing Director for Transformers
John Warden, Transformers Generations Design
Sean Carmine Isabella, Senior Designer, Transformers
Ben Montano, Franchise Director for Transformers.
When asked if the early intentions for the Transformers Armada Mini-Cons - being armor and weapons for the larger figures - were an influence on RID, the team said that they had indeed gone back and rewatched Armada as inspiration for their Mini-Cons. That said, they felt it was more important to figure out what current young fans want - "what's going to grow the next 30 years of fans?"
Monzo from the TFWiki asked "what kind of a name is 'Decepticon Back'?" The response: "a Cyclone name!" Cyclones are meant to be crazy and wily, and often introduced in pairs - Back's name may pair with the other Cyclone in his wave...
I asked if Overload was based on the Wrecker Impactor, who he bears a fair resemblence to, and the team said that if so it wasn't a conscious decision. Just like all of us there's a lot of TF lore in the memory banks, so the mohawky head design came from a desire to make a "cool Decepticon Tank."
The team was asked if the Titan Masters with established names like Nightbeat were meant to be the original characters and if so, were they in new smaller bodies, or were they just supposed to be that small compared to the Titans? The answer didn't reveal this directly, but the team did invoke mass-shifting to explain the scale of some of these characters. Titan Masters are meant to be augmentations, and some of them are meant to be "evocative" of being those characters. Answers will be forthcoming in IDW's Titans Return comics. Overall takeaway: mass-shifting is back!
Monzo asked if the Alligatorcon - the robot gator made out of Optimus Prime - would be represented in Titans Return using the Skullcruncher mold, and the team suggested that you could do it yourself by attaching Titan Master Apex to Skullcruncher! There's no specific redeco in the works, but the team's proud of the interchangeability of Titans Return.
Monzo also asked if we would see more fan polls to create new characters in the future. That's something the team wants to do again though there are no specific plans at present - first they want us to settle the question of the next Titan for them! They're excited by the increasing diversity of Transformers fandom and how it's expanding the universe. More and more, they're listening to fans young and old, and they want us all to feel like Transformers belongs to fans as much as it does Hasbro.
And I got to ask a question that has been bugging me for a while now: is Battle Core Optimus Prime based in any way on Nova Prime as seen in Transformers: Devastation,, or was that figure meant to be Nova Prime at some point in development? Battle Core Prime is meant to be an Optimus Prime imbued with great power (or, as I would put it, he's in essence a Unicron Trilogy-era late-line powerup recolor). Platinum either didn't pick up on that as something to use for Devastation, or chose to go a different direction with it, so the similarities between the two remain a fascinating coincidence.
Asked about the divergences between Takara and Hasbro's versions of certain products, the team said that it comes down to Takara doing what's right for their market. Hasbro and Takara still work very closely together on all their products.
Monzo asked what the inspiration for using Sentinel Prime was in Titans Return. Short answer: "Megatron: Origins, IDW's story." Longer answer: they felt Sentinel had an interesting backstory, but also potential for the future. Sentinel's destined to take an interesting new role in IDW's Titans Return comics. John Barber had said that he wished he was able to write more of Sentinel Prime's story and, well, now he can!
I asked if, given the increase in Generations products in recent years if the line had seen an increase in popularity. They said that as the years have gone on they've seen the popularity to support Generations is there, both in the US and around the world. Even kids are enjoying what was in many ways intended as a collector line. Hasbro is "continuing to build and build" Generations.
When I asked if the Transformers team would be working on Micronauts and if there's anything to say about it yet, they couldn't specifically say anything, but it was invoked as part of the Hasbro Studios universe in specific.
The team was also asked about the recent CityNeon deal and what effect it'd have on BotCon and the Collector's Club. They responded that the exhibitions and installations by CityNeon subsidiary Victory Hill were to be longterm installments more along the lines of the recent Transformers exhibit in the Children's Museum of Indianapolis: things intended for a more general audience. Hasbro remains committed to having a fan convention.
Lastly, Jerry Jivoin announced that he was moving on to new opportunities at Hasbro Italy after five years on Transformers. He wishes us, fans and fan press alike, good luck and thanked us all for the memories, and for being ambassadors of the brand. Good luck Jerry, and enjoy Italy!
And thanks again to Jerry, John, Sean, and Ben along with Justin Aclin at Hunter PR for taking time out to talk with us!