The greatest Hasbro non-answer of all time!

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anarky
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The greatest Hasbro non-answer of all time!

Postby anarky » Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:58 pm

I was going to post this under the Transformers thread for Rollo, but there's a good chance some of the rest of you haven't seen it.

First, a bit of background: In #17 of the classic Transformers comic (1985 or maybe 1986), we meet the Decepticon dictator who has ruled Cybertron since Megatron left (or, as it's later retconned, since Scorponok left a little while after Megatron). He's named Lord Straxxus. He dies in his second issue, but is awesome. But he's never a figure. Until 2010, when they release a figure that's clearly Straxxus, but is called "Darkmount," after Straxxus' castle in the comic.

No one's been able to figure out why. Actionfigs.com asked about it a few weeks ago in the Q&A, and here's the exchange:
ActionFigs.com: We've seen an upcoming Transformers Generations figure who is called Darkmount. He's clearly based on the Decepticon dictator from the Marvel Comics series, Lord Straxus, but the figure takes his name from Straxus's castle. Apparently, the figure is not being called simply 'Straxus' due to - as best as we can figure out - a somewhat obscure character from a Doctor Who radio drama that shares the name. However, in the past, you've often added words to copyright-issue names like 'Autobot Jazz' or GI Joe's 'Sgt. Rock n Roll.' Why did you opt to call this character 'Darkmount,' rather than using a modifier such as 'Lord Straxus' (which actually appears in his comic appearance) or even 'Decepticon Straxus'?
Hasbro: You are correct that Darkmount will soon be released at retail and by the time this answer hits the boards, he will probably already be available! To clear the air on his name, you are correct that Darkmount is in fact Straxus. While we had plans to use Straxus we were not able to clear it through our legal trademark process. So, we decided to stay as true to the character as possible and made him "Darkmount" after his castle. We knew that the die-hard fans of Transformers would get this nod!
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Re: The greatest Hasbro non-answer of all time!

Postby Rollo Tomassi » Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:34 pm

Nice. They just repeated what ActionFigs had deduced and inferred for themselves. Working for Hasbro's PR team must be cake, or extremely difficult constantly talking and saying nothing. it's one of those two extremes.

Of course, once I take a figure out of a package and throw the packaging away, I can name him whatever I want. See JazzMeister.

I'm buying that new ROTF Black Helicoptor figure and naming him Anthony Fitzgerald Pamberstam. Do something about it, Hasbro.
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Re: The greatest Hasbro non-answer of all time!

Postby Senor JabbaJohnL » Fri Dec 10, 2010 3:37 pm

For the record, the people who do the SW Q&A and the people who do the Transformers Q&A are not the same. It's not Hasbro's general PR department; at least for SW, it's people from the team itself. People always expect them to give the next year's entire line-up in every response, but then they complain at conventions that they've already seen everything. Hence the "non-answers."

In this case, though, it's certainly a bizarrely-worded answer, but I wouldn't say it's a non-answer. Though I know nothing about TF, they did say that they couldn't clear the name through the trademark process, and I doubt that they can go into full details for legal reasons.

Their actual, to-the-point answer would have been "legal issues," but I don't think that would have been preferable.
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anarky
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Re: The greatest Hasbro non-answer of all time!

Postby anarky » Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:31 am

The Hasbro SW team actually, for the most part, gives good answers. The Joe and Transformers teams, not so much. It's like they want the good PR of interacting with fans, but first they put up so many rules as to completely eliminate almost any sort of question (nothing about unmade figures, nothing about hypotheticals, no requests), then don't answer the ones they get very well.

To put this into perspective, say that they make the first Dash Rendar character ever. (I know this takes some suspension of disbelief, but bear with me.) It's an awesome figure, worthy of the years of waiting. But they call him "Outrider." No one can figure out why. The best anyone can figure out is a building in the background of an issue of a comic book based on The Sopranos, which appears in one panel and is called "Dash the Render." So actionfigs.com asks, "This figure is obviously Dash Rendar. But you called him 'Outrider,' based on his ship. We can't figure out why, and the closest thing we can come up with is an obscure building in a Sopranos comic book. Why didn't you call him 'Smuggler Dash Rendar' or something like that?"

And then Hasbro comes back with, "You're right, we did call him Outrider! Good catch!"
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Re: The greatest Hasbro non-answer of all time!

Postby vynsane » Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:19 pm

anarky wrote:And then Hasbro comes back with, "You're right, we did call him Outrider! Good catch!"


well, it's more like "we wanted to create a figure based on dash rendar but legal issues made us have to call him something else. we knew you'd get it, though, so we're not going to tell you why we didn't call him 'smuggler dash rendar'. also, he's probably out there right now - BUY, BUY, BUY!!!"'
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