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McFarlane Talks Halo Action Figure Genesis

As part of an in-depth interview with Gamasutra, artist Todd McFarlane has been discussing the genesis of 2008's Halo action figure line, as well as the
As part of an in-depth interview with Gamasutra, artist Todd McFarlane has been discussing the genesis of 2008's Halo action figure line, as well as the state of the video game action figure market - and why major retailer GameStop should start stocking them again. In the interview, McFarlane, who also recently co-founded MMO firm 38 Studios with Curt Schilling and RA Salvatore, explained of how his McFarlane Toys firm ended up getting the Halo license: "We've been keeping our eye on Halo, wanting to get back in doing some video game figures again. You know, we had done Metal Gear Solid... we followed up on a couple of other games that didn't do quite as well as Metal Gear, but I also have a bunch of guys that work for me who are huge Halo fans... a bunch of guys who work at Bungie also collect our stuff, so they knew that we would deliver quality to them. And not necessarily just that we offered the most money, but just that we could come in there and actually make toys that looked like what was on the screen." Following this up, McFarlane talked some more about the toy line, which is due to debut in early 2008, in terms of Bungie's collaboration with his firm: "They've gone overboard. They've literally been more sensible on this line than any other license I've ever dealt with before. Besides delivering the assets, they've given us color codes, to how each one of the pieces works, and the designs, and all the scales and stuff, and the weapons, and then every time we do something they come back with instant notes, to say, "Hey, you know what, the rivets are supposed to be this way." And I don't think that they're pushing us wrong because it's their baby, and I actually want to deliver it. So when we started, we asked for and they gave us their data from the game, to use their wireframes from the game to start with. So instead of us looking at still pictures of captures of the screen, we actually said, "Can we have your wireframes?" and they said, "Yeah, sure." And they gave us their wireframes -- we had to cut them up so that we could put them into moving parts in 3D and had to make some minor adjustments, but we're going straight from Bungie's information as much as possible." Finally, McFarlane discussed the fact that major retailer GameStop are currently not carrying toys as part of their regular product lines, explaining: "I think what ended up happening, they found out the same thing with their toys that they found out with their games -- all toys are not created equal, just like the games. Just because somebody turns it into plastic does not necessarily mean it's going to sell at the same rate. So what happened was they were very generous with bringing in a lot of product, but all of a sudden if it's not selling... you have to be very cognizant of the reality that a toy that's four inches thick, when you look at it from the profile, is equivalent to about five sixty dollar games. That could be three hundred dollars instead of a fifteen dollar toy. And and some point you're going, "What are we giving this space for? That could be six hundred dollars we're giving away to that big fat toy! So they then pulled out, I believe, all their toys. I think they threw the baby out with the bathwater... [but] if I can't turn their heads with Halo, I don't have too many more that are going to!" The full interview with McFarlane is now available as a feature, including lots more on McFarlane's co-founding of 38 Studios to produce an MMO with Curt Schilling and R.A. Salvatore, and much more.

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