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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:31 pm 
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Just found something in my stocking two days early!!!


1 <submitted by Overlord> What is the decision-making process behind making certain Transformers characters correlate with particular "nationalities?" For example, how is the decision made to have characters speak with a British accent (a la G1 Sky Lynx) or a Scottish accent (ROTF Jetfire) or a Russian accent (Animated Jetfire and Jetstorm)?

Hasbro:The simple answer is that voice differences help the viewer distinguish who is talking in wide shots. Plus, putting emotion into, and developing characters for, 20 foot robots from a different planet is not a easy thing to do. Thus, unique voices help bridge the visual gap and assist the viewer in making a connection with each character.

2 <submitted by Time Traveller> In previous Q&A sections, it was explained that various differences between transformers toys in different global marketplaces are to sell "what makes sense" to that market or demographic. What sorts of differences between the target markets in the western world and Japan exist that cause Transformers released in Japan to vary so wildly from their "export" counterparts? For example, it is well understood that some series target younger, general public buyers like Classics, while Henkei targets Japanese adult collectors. But what market differences exist that series geared to adult collectors in both markets (Alternators & BinalTech) to be so divergent in features and decoration? Or, conversely, what demographic differences determine the variance in paint applications on otherwise alike Revenge of the Fallen toys?

Hasbro: While we cannot speak on behalf of Takara Tomy and their business strategy, we can try to provide you with some insight from Hasbro's point of view. As a whole, Hasbro oversees every market in the world except for Japan. Needless to say, that is a lot of diverse markets that all have different needs. As we develop our toy line, we need to ensure that we produce great toys that are also at digestible price points globally so that we provide an opportunity to fans everywhere to experience the brand.

For example, we made the decision on Alternators and BinalTech to produce our toys in plastic vs. die-cast. This simple decision allowed us to sell these items at $20 vs. $40 or $50. While we know that there certainly would be fans that would have purchased the higher price point items, we knew that we would be able to get more fans into our brand at a lower price around the globe.


3 <submitted by Banzai-Tron> While I understand the need for the lack of verbal instructions on newer style instruction manuals (to better serve an international audience), I don't understand why additional art rendering is included in the newer style manuals. There are MANY more lines drawn in that don't correspond with anything on the actual toy (such as over exaggerated detailing), which serves to complicate identification of parts during the transformation process. While we understand detail is to help be specific, what was the decision making process that lead to the designs of the instructions being as they are now (once again, understanding that text free makes it easier for international release)? Recent examples would include ROTF Leader Jetfire (Whose instruction art is so detailed one cannot tell which part is to be moved) and ROTF Voyager Mixmaster (especially the instructions for cannon mode, as there is a hinge that likes to change directions in the instructions, that is not possible on the actual figure).

Hasbro: You certainly bring up a great question and challenge that we have been attempting to work through. As our brand and toys have become more detailed and ""movie accurate"", the level of difficulty in converting these figures has increased. The challenge has been how to make the instructions coincide with our product expression. Additionally, you also point out the difficulty that we face in producing text based instructions as our product is sold globally, thus complicating the best approach to instruction development.

The good news is that beginning in Fall 2010, we will be making changes to our instruction format that will hopefully help to alleviate some of these difficulties that you have been experiencing. We will continue to work on making our instructions better to hopefully make the converting process even more enjoyable.



What a great round for TFL!!! (Although my endless desire to finally end Trukk v/s Munkky still goes unanswered!)

There is no official word on whether or not Hasbro will be continuing this program into the new year, but be sure that you keep your eyes peeled, as I will let you know, as soon as we find out!

Great job, everyone who submitted questions!

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:34 pm 
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A great round indeed!
I'm quite curious to see what the changes to the instruction format will be, and if it really will make the instructions easier to decipher.
Ultra Magnus wrote:
(Although my endless desire to finally end Trukk v/s Munkky still goes unanswered!)

Too bad, UM. Maybe next time, eh? ;)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:46 pm 
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interesting. the instructions bit has seriously irked me in the past but it's good to see that they are adjusting it. Remains to be seen however if there'll be any improvement.

I did not know that hasbro controls the entire global TF market, excluding japan. Explains A LOT in terms of price points, marketing, quality, materials, etc. etc. etc.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:41 pm 
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*cough* trukk *cough*

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:01 am 
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Ultra Magnus wrote:

2 <submitted by Time Traveller> In previous Q&A sections, it was explained that various differences between transformers toys in different global marketplaces are to sell "what makes sense" to that market or demographic. What sorts of differences between the target markets in the western world and Japan exist that cause Transformers released in Japan to vary so wildly from their "export" counterparts? For example, it is well understood that some series target younger, general public buyers like Classics, while Henkei targets Japanese adult collectors. But what market differences exist that series geared to adult collectors in both markets (Alternators & BinalTech) to be so divergent in features and decoration? Or, conversely, what demographic differences determine the variance in paint applications on otherwise alike Revenge of the Fallen toys?

Hasbro: While we cannot speak on behalf of Takara Tomy and their business strategy, we can try to provide you with some insight from Hasbro's point of view. As a whole, Hasbro oversees every market in the world except for Japan. Needless to say, that is a lot of diverse markets that all have different needs. As we develop our toy line, we need to ensure that we produce great toys that are also at digestible price points globally so that we provide an opportunity to fans everywhere to experience the brand.

For example, we made the decision on Alternators and BinalTech to produce our toys in plastic vs. die-cast. This simple decision allowed us to sell these items at $20 vs. $40 or $50. While we know that there certainly would be fans that would have purchased the higher price point items, we knew that we would be able to get more fans into our brand at a lower price around the globe.




Meh. Something sounds hinky with this answer. In my grand unified TF-economics conspiracy theory, I think it actually boils down to something like this:
1) TakTom INSISTS Hasbro make changes to their superior product, in exchange for allowing Hasbro global distribution. This guarantees TakTom a relatively lucrative (and, more importantly, predictable) export revenue stream.
2) Hasbro willingly agrees, especially since that gives them a convenient excuse to lower the quality and price, thereby reducing their exposure (i.e less $$$ lost if they produce another dud like Real Gear Longview)
3) TakTom or Hasbro, or both, willingly allows the Chinese KO companies to rip off their product, for a kickback fee. (See reduced exposure above).
4) I forget what 4 is for.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:02 am 
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Big Daddy
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Well, BT, we all expect a little spin on the answers....

For instance, the answer about the different nationalities also has a lot to do with "x" amount of new characters, and the exact same amount of voice actors as the previous season.

Half the fun with Q&A's is not getting the full answer, but what answer we will get. ;)

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 1:52 pm 
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Jetfire's accent was Scottish? Sounded more English to me


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:07 pm 
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It was a kind of mix.

Like, Scottish, English, and New Englander.

Or something.

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