- Question asked about Mini-Cons, how they came about, why it was decided to bring them into the brand, where they came from story-wise, how they were seen at first, where it was hoped they'd eventually go, and which one of the Mini-Cons is Archer's favorite? Mini-Cons were Archer's first project in his 13 years with the brand. He got told by his boss through the new president who was then the Hasbro CEO that he wanted a collectible line out of Transformers. They wanted to get back to vehicles, Beast Machines was perceived as a little too cerebral and kind of funky designs. They wanted to get back to cats and trucks and jets and look like ones that people know.
- The idea was "How do we get a collectible line with cars and stuff?" Takara presented Micromasters again, and then they played around with that and figured out how to make them the trigger of the action. Once it was decided that they were gonna be the popcorn that would come with everything and trigger everything, the story started to unfold and it became kinda cool. It was a unique time in space where you got a lot of value out of an Armada purchase featurally with the extra character cards. It was fun early days. Archer named them "Mini-Cons", they developed the logo, the M logo, the "baseball field" logo. Takara was very interested in that, they loved the micro play pattern, so it was a good fit for the co-development of the show and products between Hasbro and Takara, it just fit for everybody's needs.
- Archer has a few favorite Mini-Cons. He did all the first wave sets, some are better than others, but he's fond of all of them since it was his learning curve. The decos on those "stink", the mold plan isn't very well laid out in most cases, and that's all him learning. He's happy they're as popular as they are, but he looks back and goes "Man, I wish I knew more then." But if he had to pick a favorite one, he likes the one that came with the Skywarp they redid, put new wings on the Mini-Con and looked a little different, he likes that guy (Thunderclash).
- Being honest with us, after working on probably 3000 individual robot toys, Archer can't keep their names straight, particularly when each package comes with two named characters. He apologizes for not remembering the brand as well as us fans, but he had to rewrite a lot of the information to get to the next thing.
- He also likes the planet Mini-Con that came with Unicron. Originally they were gonna call that Gobotron, and they cleared it since Hasbro at the time owned the name "Gobotron", but they thought that was a little too much on the head, so they didn't really want to make an inside joke on a character like Unicron, but he likes that Mini-Con (Dead End) also.
- Question: "Over the years, we've had a lot of different incarnations of the brand, some of them more universe driven where you have the characters established in a certain setting and then they go through what that setting establishes, whereas other incarnations of the brand have been more character driven and driven the stories about the relationships between the characters, and I'm wondering how that is approached from a corporate level in terms of strategy and in terms of building a direction forward for the brand."
- Hasbro would try to partner with the best people that they could partner with at the time, and that's often how the flow of development would happen. Cartoon Network has a particular flow that was very engaging in partnering with them. Hasbro Studios had a different goal in set that they were needing to do to launch a network. So, every show kinda takes on its own feel. If you look at the Unicron Trilogy, that's very toy focused, it's essentially a commercial for the features of the products, and when two toy companies make a show that's what they look like. When professional animator people make a show independent of toys, they make Prime. So, it's just a different point of view and it's really who the development team is that does it. He'd like to say it was more tactical, they went "this kind of writing" or "that kind of writing", it's a little more research than that. They want to get into young audiences: Rescue Bots. They want to get into a movie-like universe: Prime. It's not directed any much more than that until the scripts start coming in at different points.
- Question: "As for yourself as a storyteller, what do you feel are the strengths of the Transformers brand with regards to those different storytelling ideas?" -- Whether it's good or bad, Archer thinks there's a lot of pliability in the Transformers franchise, it's been so many things, but it has kept a center spine. There's a big different between RID and Prime, between Armada and Beast Wars, but it's all legitimately Transformers, and feels like Transformers.
Edited by Sabrblade, 01 February 2019 - 02:25 PM.