New Lineup For PROMETHEUS Series 3
Teaser Image Inside...
Despite the rumors, NECA's third assortment of Prometheus action figures have not been canceled... the lineup has just been altered. In a nutshell, sales for the Prometheus series, while good, have not been strong enough yet to justify the cost of the all-new tooling required to produced the original Series 3 lineup of Infected Fifield and Elizabeth Shaw. Instead of pulling the plug on the line, NECA is attempting to garner more support and sales to hopefully produce Shaw and/or Fifield by releasing a Series 3 that takes advantage of existing tooling. Case in point: the teaser image above showing off what is strongly believed to be a Holographic Engineer. More details on this assortment to be announced, but Promotheus Series 3 is slated for release sometime this summer.
To insure your action figure collection, get in touch with Collectibles Insurance, the official insurance company of the Figures.com network. Say "Figures.com" to get 5% off your first term premiums.
To buy action figures, take a look at BigBadToyStore.com, PlasmaInfusion.com, Toynk.com, BriansToys.com, ToyWiz.com, and MonkeyDepot.com.
Re: New Lineup For PROMETHEUS Series 3
Oh the brilliance of NECA's "foresight" strikes again. This is very similar to the problems fans had with their Borderlands and Bioshock Infinite lines. Series 1 of any figure line should be the main protagonist and main antagonist. It just makes sense. Treat every wave like its the last. If I where a fan, what would I want most for my display/playability if I can only have two figures for all eternity? The hero and the villain. Who would those be in Prometheus? Shaw and an Engineer. If nothing else, I can display some iconic dramatic action moments from the film with them. As a fan, I can scoop these up without reservations of whats next because I get a complete package right off the bat. If this is it, I'm good, no harm no foul, I'm still a happy fan and will speak well of NECA. It makes sense to collectors and it makes sense financially. Random aliens from the Mos Eisley Cantina may in fact be the most visually arresting in Star Wars, but fans will always want Luke and Vader first. Those two will always sell.
And that's NECA's problem and why I don't get into their lines anymore: they tend to start with random figures and I don't know when or where they will end. I'm not going to buy figure 1 of any line if I'm worried I'm going to end up with bit players and no main characters because the line got canceled while fans held onto their money waiting for the main character and villain.
A fan of property x will gladly and without reservation, scoop up the main pro and antagonist. Take Square Enix's Cowboy Bebop line. First offering: Vicious and Spike. I grabbed them up without hesitation. Regardless of where the line goes, if anywhere, I have a nice hero villain thing happening on my shelf.
With Prometheus wave 1, Shaw and an Engineer should have been a no brainer. Make the Flight Suit or standard Engineer a con exclusive that year (since NECA releases exclusives through Amazon, you're still not robbing the fans of a highly sought figure, its pretty attainable). Wave 2: David and protoform xenomorph (which they did). And if the line ended there, fans would have all of the most iconic, beloved, visually dynamic AND bankable characters. If those lines made enough to fund a round three, by all means do it.
Regardless, had they just released a Shaw/Engineer wave 1, fans would have been fulfilled. Add wave 2: gravy. Fans are happy. Your company gets good ink, online and in word of mouth. Everybody likes and trusts you as a company, this pads future sales by building trust.
But that's not what they do. They release a half major character and a semi WTF moment character and then go, oh, well, fans didn't buy them in droves, must not be enough interest, cancel the line. No, you don't say? Bioshock Infinite: why is the opening offering Elizabeth and a Boy of Silence? I had to look up what a Boy of Silence was even called just now because that's how completely and utterly unimportant to the game they are. You run into them for 2 seconds about five times in the last bit of the game. They're hardly iconic. They're barely there, I, as a fan, have very little emotional connection to them. That's like releasing Leia and a Death Star Detention Block guard in your first wave of Star Wars figures. Not even a Stormtrooper, just a detention block guard. Why wasn't it Booker and Elizabeth? They're all over everything for the game. Its the first thing people think of when they think of the game. Booker and Elizabeth, paired with whatever larger format figures they release (Patriot and hopefully Handyman) and your fans get the main protagonists and the most memorable antagonists.
I didn't buy either of them. Because I assume the line will be canceled after such an ill thought out first wave. Why? Because history repeats itself. And with NECA, this has already happened more times than I've bothered to count at this point. I can't trust them to finish what they start. I understand money is tight, production costs are on the rise, and releasing two figures at a time is already a huge and dangerous gamble. All the more reason to tap into the strongest fan/character connections. That's the foundation of the property. That's the foundation of collecting. That's the foundation of your business.
Re: New Lineup For PROMETHEUS Series 3
Some valid points, and I totally agree with you with Bioshock Infinite Series 1. Lets not forget these were released well before the game even came out. For me it's kind of hard to get excited about two characters I have absolutely no clue who they are because I haven't even played the game yet. Booker as a first release? I have heard that his character wasn't even finalized when NECA had to start working on these figures. So you do have that to consider: what characters DID NECA have access to when they started working on the line over a year ago? Probably not much. (I saw the Boys of Silence prototype on my visit to NECA's studio back in June, 2011!)
Now Promotheus, you do have a valid point as well, but I for one was actually impressed by the fact that NECA released the Engineers first. I thought it was a bold move getting the "villains" out before a bunch of ho-hum humans. Yes, while Shaw is a main character, I find the Engineers infinitely more appealing visually. It's like ALIEN: Folks are gonna want that Alien before any human characters. I for one didn't see Shaw becoming this "must-have" figure (and I still think it's just a vocal few that REALLY want her. Female figures are notorious for not selling well). Now should she have come before David? I think so. Then of course the Prometheus die-hard would be complaining about not getting him.
Borderlands - that's a whole other can of worms. The massive delay in getting that first assortment out the door - based on Borderlands 1 - created alot of the mess. By the time those came out, Borderlands 2 was already almost out. So you had this great teaser wave of Claptrap and a Psycho (which, lets face it, is iconic and one of the major "faces" of B-lands). We get a cool tease of some B-Lands 2 player characters, then... the ball drops. Retailers only want Claptrap. Bad release timing is what messed this all up. Good news is I hear we're to receive some kind of big announcement regarding the line. From NECA's facebook:
It's all a guessing game really. I'm not here defending NECA in all their actions with these lines, there's a few where I agree the release lineups are a little baffling - Bioshock Infinite being one.
Hey Borderlands fans... we're preparing something really cool for you. Stay tuned! Gearbox Software Official
Re: New Lineup For PROMETHEUS Series 3
As always Jeff, your industry insight is first rate. Thanks for the extra knowledge!
Apparently dealing with the game developers is a pain. If the production companies don't want to commit or whatever their hang up is, they're only hurting themselves. Obviously Epic and Microsoft understand how it needs to go down since the Gears line is stellar (minus not being able to hold Lancers right) and the McFarlane Halo line is pretty amazing since it caters to casual and die hard fans. NECA either needs to set up some ground rules with the gaming groups or just pass on the project. Its only going to cost them money and posterity. Bioshock should have been easy. Sure there's always the 50/50 'what if my game tanks?' worry on the developer side. But this was at least a half way there sure thing, at least for product appeal. Irrational should have committed and pushed for the obvious Patriot and Handyman, as the two most iconic villains in the game, and then after Booker was finalized, try to get NECA behind a Booker/Elizabeth two pack. And if designs aren't ready, just wait. Fans will always wait at least a little for great collectibles. So long as its within the first 6 months to a year after the game's release. Big enough properties can come out even later in toy form and do well.
That being said, I've passed on a lot of NECA projects because I don't want to commit to a line that isn't going to commit back, but I jumped all over that Patriot when it went up for pre-order on BBTS. That's a figure that can stand alone, no problem. I do not, in any way, want to see NECA fail. I especially don't want to see toy lines of my favorite games fail. Its just becoming a frequent issue. I'd rather no toys than the tease of toys I can never have. Its easy to lose trust in companies when that happens enough times.
Re: New Lineup For PROMETHEUS Series 3
Both excellent points from the two of you. I too have become slightly frustrated with NECA as of late. The thing is they've improved so much over the past couple years and are arguably one of the best Western toy companies out there right now, but certain hiccups keep them from being flawless. While they excel at listening to fan and collector feedback I've heard that they are terrible in retailer customer service and distribution, which is a story for another time.
While their properties are solid and the products themselves of high quality, their lineup choices are at times baffling and they feel so inclined to cancel a line at the drop of a hat. I miss the days of Cult Classics and three series of Hellraiser figures. I know they've changed as a company and no longer solely cater to the obscure, niche market. But it seems they've lost that creative, innovative drive that initially put them on the map. They don't take chances anymore, they play it safe because Toys R Us tells them to. On the flip side this means they're more likely to stay afloat as a company and make more collectibles in the long run, but when you're running on the 10th series of Predator repaints, there seems to be a problem with your offerings and mindset (don't get me wrong, I love the Predators but the lack of variety is a significant point).
I've followed and supported NECA for years but there are certain problems I've noticed manifest themselves in recently. And they are easy issues to fix. I'd rather the problems be shoddy paint or weak joints than the cancellation of a line. Mediocre figures are better than no figures. With lineup choices I believe the blame falls on NECA. Don't try and blame poor sales or consumer behavior on characters and figures no one wants. I'm sure that the retailers and copyright holders of said franchises and series would agree that releasing the main characters is better than releasing Random Citizen #4. Release the heavy hitters first to gather support and net a profit, but save some juice for later. Planning and foresight, that's all it takes.