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Discussing Mortal Kombat in Movies, Television, New Media and Merchandising.
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Mick-LuciferPosted: 06/10/2011 01:50 AMStatus ::
Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

It was way back in January that news of a new wave of Mortal Kombat action figures first broke [full story]. With the reshuffling of the MK license under Warner Brothers, Jazwares returned to the picture to pick up where they left off in 2007 with the conclusion of their range that included characters from Mortal Kombat: Deception and Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks.

Jazwares makes their triumphant return with an initial wave of four action figures inspired by the new video game -- Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Raiden and Johnny Cage [pictured below]. Featuring fifteen points of articulation and accessories directly inspired by the games, they are the6" leading wave that is accompanied by 3.75" versions of the Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 male palette swaps, and the Lin Kuei cyber-assassins.

With the series' summer release right around the corner, Mortal Kombat Online talked to Director of Product Development and Brand Manager of Mortal Kombat, Joe Amaro, to learn more about what goes in to the making of the series, and what is still to come.

[MKO]: How did Jazwares come to be the makers of the official Mortal Kombat action figures?
[Joe Amaro]: We have always been fans of Mortal Kombat from the very beginning. The process is like dating, we meet, we talk and then if we like each other we start our relationship.

What goes in to the selection process for characters that are made?
Warner Brothers is involved in every step! As fans we choose the characters we would like to see first, and then we discuss it with everyone involved. Sometimes apporval determines who will ship next.

Does the game's 3D engine help at all in the design process?
Sometimes it does, but we mainly use the game as reference.

What does it take to go from design concepts to a final sculpt?
The process starts with a concept, then a sculpt is made from that. We make a tooling model to make a metal mould called a "tool." Plastic is then injected into the tool to make the final figures. Warner Brothers and the game creators are involved in every step. We do not proceed to the next step until we get approval from WB.

How hard is it to work under the intense scrutiny of a loyal fanbase? Are criticisms ever useful to the process?
We are fans also, so it's difficult to balance the creative fan side and business money side. We try our best to please the fans, and their input is very valuable to us. It always has been, just ask our Sonic fans! We always are open to constructive criticism, [for example] sometimes our Sonic fans point out our mistakes, and we try to correct them.

Scale, anatomy and detail has been a focus for the fanbase. Is there a general design philosophy that Jazwares adheres to?
All that is determined by the game creators at WB. We sculpt the figure using the reference they provide. We sculpt the figure and we show it to them. They give us comments back on what to fix and what they like. We try not to add any of our own artistic interpretations.

Johnny Cage - FrontJohnny Cage - BackJohnny Cage - Pose

Extra hands for Johnny Cage are a somewhat unique feature. What inspired this choice?
He really doesn't have any weapons so we wanted to include something with him that made sense, rather than just adding a base.

How do you decide what comes packed with each character?
We try to include what make sense. Sometime it comes direclty from WB.

There seems to be an ever growing demand for points of articulation in action figures. How do you balance that function with design?
We try to include as much articulation without destroying the sculpt. All the MK figures will have ball joints all over! In the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles, and we added an ab crunch.

There's a feeling that current MK figure designs favour a younger market. Is there any consideration for producing more sculpted, less articulate editions for an older fanbase?
No, we are not targeting a younger market. We know the primary market are the fans. We are trying to produce highly detailed figures with as much articulation as we can muster! I am not into static figures, we leave that up to the statue guys.

Toy Fair 2011 - Lin Kuei Cyber PackToy Fair 2011 - Sub-Zero and RepaintsToy Fair 2011 - Scorpion and Repaints

Jazwares is producing a range of 'retro' designs from MK's early past. Which era do you think makes the best action figure, then or now?
Yes we are! I think they both make great figures!
They both have tons of great designs.

With the characters having been redesigned so many times over the years, are there any characters or designs in particular you wish you could've made?
Yes! We just have to be careful that the characters we choose have a distinct look. We are starting with the very first MK games. Later will plan to go through all the games all the way to Armageddon.

Kintaro was created for a previous line, but never released [full story]. Why was that, and could we see Kintaro released at some point in the new series?
I know, I sculpted him. Right after Goro the line died.
Midway decided that they were no longer going to license any product. Yes, Kintaro will return, but probably not my sculpt.

Any clues what might be in store for future releases?
We have plans for tons of figures! You can also let us know who you want to see [via Facebook]. Again, we value fan input so the more you give the better the line will be!

Jazwares have confirmed that Sonya Blade will appear in the next wave. There is also a Toys 'R' Us exclusive coming to San Diego Comic-Con International, in July. SDCC is also where the final episode of Mortal Kombat: Legacy will finally air, starring Cyrax and Sektor [full story].

Scorpion - BackScorpion - FrontScorpion - Pose
Sub-Zero - FrontSub-Zero - PoseSub-Zero - Back
Raiden - FrontRaiden - PoseRaiden - Back

You can find more Jazwares at Jazwares.com, or on Twitter, @Jazwares. Mortal Kombat Online would like to thank Joe Amaro and Jazwares for their time and look forward to more from them in the future! You can also find MKO in the realm of social networking @MK_Online, or via Facebook. Don't miss last week's Q&A with MK National Champion, Justin Wong [click for more]!

ProfesserAhnkaPosted: 06/10/2011 02:08 AMStatus ::


Rank ::
Visits::6177
Nationality::United States
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

Those heads are horrible. I think I might put heads from other figures on the bodies or just sculpt some new ones. Can't come out as worse as these.

Leader Of Rain's Minions & Tanya's Titans. Thx Minion!  photo ProfesserAhnkaSig_zpsoi5spq99.gif
quevePosted: 06/10/2011 02:10 AMStatus ::


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Visits::4110
Nationality::Bolivia
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

Awesome interview!

Thanks so much MKO for bringing this up for the fans. This was a really fun read. I do find a couple of things that were said quite ironic though (considering how ugly and disappointing these all look).

Anyway, I was seriously wondering why this news wasn't updated in the website when it was revealed around May 15. What's up with that?

I'll just copy/paste my thoughts that I wrote on the last thread:

Before looking at the pictures

Spider804 Wrote:
So there is gonna be female figures? And of Sonya?

...I think Queve's gonna have a heart attack in 5...4...3...


SONYA BLADE!!!!! OH YES!!!!!!


heart attack on the way.... .....wait, for series/wave 2?.....


No heart attack.

Well, it is better than nothing, but, 3 things worth to mention:

1) Sonya was always on the first wave/series.

2) Lets hope that the line sells well so it survives beyond series/wave 1.

and

3) About damn time they brought back and chose at least 1 FEMALE CHARACTER to represent the MK line. About damn time. Long overdue (looking at you annoying MKD and MKSM line filled with boring Scorpions and Sub-Zeros).

EDIT: After looking at the pictures

OH MY......I just looked at the pictures and my goodness those are awful!!!!

First of all: Scorpion and Sub-Zero (specially him) look so-so/poor. But FUCK I'm sick of seeing them as figures because they always look the same. So boring. We already have 2 different statues version of them. Why not use their spot with some of the other interesting characters?

Yeah, I know they are the freaking main mascots, but, we already have the statues AND tons of similar MKD and MKSM models.

Ugh.

And what a disappointment! Raiden looks like a human giraffe and Johnny Cage looks like a monkey on drugs.

YUCK!



MKSM Johnny was flawless. He looked perfect.

ErmacOwnedYouPosted: 06/10/2011 02:12 AMStatus ::


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Visits::1174
Nationality::United States
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

looking good altho i think raidens head could be bigger

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Mick-LuciferPosted: 06/10/2011 02:15 AMStatus ::


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Visits::20006
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

queve Wrote:
However, I was seriously wondering why this news wasn't updated in the website when it was revealed around May 15. What's up with that?

The reveal fell right in the period when we were having server uplink issues which were causing massive slowdown issues with the site, and grinding news coverage to a pretty significant halt.

With the interview coming, it seemed better to let conversation continue on the forums and wait until we had this ready to go. We're hoping it won't be the last time we talk Jazwares on MKO.

Better The Devil you know...
MK Online Forums: Share your interests, broaden your horizons and support the kommunity with discussion forums for every topic. "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."
quevePosted: 06/10/2011 02:15 AMStatus ::


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Nationality::Bolivia
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

All these look sooooo terrible in quality I'm actually not as excited as I was when I first heard the news of MK action figures ages ago.

I mean, the MKSM line was very well done. The models looked pretty and cool.

The MKD line was ugly. And this one is even worse.

Sub-Zero looks like a chinese girl! I wouldn't be surprised if you can take off his ninja costume and discover it is actually Frost in disguise.

Raiden is probably a giraffe with a thunder god complex (or a fan?)

And Johnny looks like he could be the stunt-man of one of his movies....a monkey on a cheap Johnny cage suit.

So ugly.

Spider804 Wrote:
I will say, if Johnny looks like a monkey on crack, it's no wonder Sonya's repulsed by him.


And if these figures don't look any better in the next wave, I wouldn't be surprised if they made Sonya look like a toad.

The more I look at them the less I like them.

What a shame.

Why couldn't NECA take over and make some glorious and beautiful statues of MK like the series deserves?

KoldKombat Wrote:
Hopefully one day Mortal Kombat will FINALLY get the action figure line it deserves and its potential will no longer be wasted. But with this track record, I do not have much hope.


Infinite Concepts would like to have a word with you:










Those pictures showing off those highly detailed and awesome MK Action Figures (Infinite Concepts) clearly prove that Action Figures don't "necessarily" have to look freaking ugly, poor, and bad as the new ones that will be released.

Hell, even the MKSM action figures were of great beauty and quality despite being made as toys. Just look a the wonderful quality of the characters!

And the most troubling thing is that they too were made by Jazwares, the company which made such awesome Johnny Cage but is now ruining him by making him look like a monkey on drugs:










Just look at those. Same company but soooo much better in quality, style, and design.

I'm so confused as to who would ever allow the new figures to go on the market. They are horrible. Horrendous.

They resemble more the first MKD line of toys (which were also ugly and weak), but, wave 2 (those Shaolin Monk toys) do look better. The MKD line was a billion times better than this new one though. Those looked passable. These just look like a joke.

Hopefully wave 2 of this line will improve.

EDIT: And because they are worth to see:


















samuhaiPosted: 06/10/2011 02:20 AMStatus ::


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Visits::3080
Nationality::Australia
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

They look like gorillas or apes -_- ridiculous faces, seemingly disproportionate arms, and hulking torsos. Yuck.

I'm all for articulation, but not if it looks stupid... which frankly these do.

The interview is amusing given the complete lack of quality involved. I love when people interpreting other peoples visions or franchises always make sure they say "oh we're fans so we make it as good as we can!" like that excuses their apparent failings....

Photobucket
WhereThereIsSmokePosted: 06/10/2011 02:32 AMStatus ::


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Visits::1546
Nationality::South Africa
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

Johnny Cage looks every bit the movie star to me.

Unfortunatley that movie star is John Turturo.

If you use the term "spam" I have no time for your argument.
quevePosted: 06/10/2011 02:33 AMStatus ::


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Visits::4110
Nationality::Bolivia
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

Mick-Lucifer Wrote:
queve Wrote:
However, I was seriously wondering why this news wasn't updated in the website when it was revealed around May 15. What's up with that?


The reveal fell right in the period when we were having server uplink issues which were causing massive slowdown issues with the site, and grinding news coverage to a pretty significant halt.



With the interview coming, it seemed better to let conversation continue on the forums and wait until we had this ready to go. We're hoping it won't be the last time we talk Jazwares on MKO.


Ah, I see. Well, it was pretty weird to have the news ignored for so long considering it was a big thing, but, I guess you guys had your reasons.

Sometimes its strange though because we expect MKO to update with MK news as soon as they arrive and there's been a couple of news material that have gone by unmentioned. Maybe I'm just missing the strategy or something.

Still, awesome update and thanks so much for the interview.

samuhai Wrote:
They look like gorillas or apes -_- ridiculous faces, seemingly disproportionate arms, and hulking torsos. Yuck.



I'm all for articulation, but not if it looks stupid... which frankly these do.



The interview is amusing given the complete lack of quality involved. I love when people interpreting other peoples visions or franchises always make sure they say "oh we're fans so we make it as good as we can!" like that excuses their apparent failings....


Agreed.

Darth_FatsoPosted: 06/10/2011 03:06 AMStatus ::


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Visits::456
Nationality::United States
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

I'll definitely get Scorpion and Sub-Zero which look OK but still a disappointment overall. Hopefully the final figures look a little better but I won't hold my breath. I'm hoping at the very least a new paintjob will help them a little. Raiden and Johnny are terrible though. I'm tempted to get them if only cause they are the only MK figures available atm but I'm not too sure. Either way I do hope we get Shao Kahn in wave 2. He's a figure that is long overdue.

Photobucket
quevePosted: 06/10/2011 04:22 AMStatus ::


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Nationality::Bolivia
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

Btw, Mick, nothing else was said regarding the Sonya figure?

Hopefully it will feature her glorious MK9 alternate.

MKshizzPosted: 06/10/2011 06:00 AMStatus ::


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Visits::8620
Nationality::United States
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

queve Wrote:
Btw, Mick, nothing else was said regarding the Sonya figure?



Hopefully it will feature her glorious MK9 alternate.


Is her alternate the one in your sig?

Thanks to MINION for the sig! My name is Ian, if you really care to know.
damienjakkPosted: 06/10/2011 06:39 AMStatus ::


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Visits::1696
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

Wow, they look worse than the Shaolin Monks figures. What complete shit.

NephritePosted: 06/10/2011 06:44 AMStatus ::


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Visits::3779
Nationality::Croatia
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

I don't care about the figures, but I just saw MKSM Sub-Zero figure in one of queve's posts, damn he looks awesome!


raidenthefridgePosted: 06/10/2011 09:22 AMStatus ::


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Visits::3798
Nationality::Northern Ireland
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

Oh look, Classic Cyber Smoke :O

Thanks to MINION for taking my Siginity!
Mick-LuciferPosted: 06/10/2011 10:53 AMStatus ::


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Visits::20006
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

queve Wrote:
Btw, Mick, nothing else was said regarding the Sonya figure?

No info regarding Sonya or the SDCC Toys 'R' Us exclusive yet. We'll hopefully have some special info in the coming weeks and/or months.

Not sure about alt costume sculpts this early in the piece, but you never know what some positive discussion might do. Keep it coming, folks. Make sure you check out the new user poll about Series 2!

Better The Devil you know...
MK Online Forums: Share your interests, broaden your horizons and support the kommunity with discussion forums for every topic. "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."
Slayer-CagePosted: 06/10/2011 10:57 AMStatus ::


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Visits::2830
Nationality::France
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

I wanna vomite... it's too ugly... i don't want them !!!

quevePosted: 06/10/2011 01:02 PMStatus ::


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Visits::4110
Nationality::Bolivia
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

Mick-Lucifer Wrote:
queve Wrote:
Btw, Mick, nothing else was said regarding the Sonya figure?


No info regarding Sonya or the SDCC Toys 'R' Us exclusive yet. We'll hopefully have some special info in the coming weeks and/or months.



Not sure about alt costume sculpts this early in the piece, but you never know what some positive discussion might do. Keep it coming, folks. Make sure you check out the new user poll about Series 2!


Too bad.

It would have been nice to hear their plans and personal thoughts concerning the female characters.

Many many people were saying that females were a very unlikely possibility in Jazwares, so, I'm super pleased they've at least chosen Sonya as one (of hopefully many more to come) of the female representatives of the game.

I like how they talk about the characters they absolutely know they want for them and for the fans and that WB super approves, so, I can't understand why there isn't at least one female in the first wave......but considering how awful the first wave looks, I'm actually quite glad they are saving Sonya for the next.

I'm crossing my fingers so the next figures look a billion times better.

Also, alts shouldn't be a problem. Plenty of alts have become pretty iconic/popular looks for the characters.

Kill3rInstinctPosted: 06/10/2011 01:18 PMStatus ::


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Visits::555
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

Despite the bad quality of these toys, I didn't know many people still played with toys..

MRXDX2Posted: 06/10/2011 08:25 PMStatus ::


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Visits::164
Nationality::United States
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

Unlike you guys I'm exited about these I've pre ordered the 4 inch ninjas and cyber ninjas now I just need to pre order these now and I'm done.

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SynjoDeonecrosPosted: 06/10/2011 10:28 PMStatus ::


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Visits::1508
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

Feh, figures that Midway would cancel the line before Kintaro was released, but it's nice that they confirmed a new Kintaro figure coming. I hope they don't pull a bait and switch like they did with their Sonic figure announcements. Also would be interesting to see if they'll do a Motaro figure, as well.

"Is it so important that you win one last argument with him?" "No, it is not, but it is true that I will miss the arguments; they were, finally, all that we had."
Mick-LuciferPosted: 06/11/2011 12:15 AMStatus ::


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Visits::20006
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

SynjoDeonecros Wrote:
Feh, figures that Midway would cancel the line before Kintaro was released, but it's nice that they confirmed a new Kintaro figure coming. I hope they don't pull a bait and switch like they did with their Sonic figure announcements. Also would be interesting to see if they'll do a Motaro figure, as well.

"Confirm" might be a bit too strong a phrase, but it seems they certainly have some lofty goals.

Kintaro would be pretty cool to see! A more dramatic sculpt might be nice, but the MKII design is definitive. Hope they don't stray too far!

Better The Devil you know...
MK Online Forums: Share your interests, broaden your horizons and support the kommunity with discussion forums for every topic. "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."
SynjoDeonecrosPosted: 06/11/2011 08:12 AMStatus ::


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Visits::1508
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

Mick-Lucifer Wrote:
SynjoDeonecros Wrote:
Feh, figures that Midway would cancel the line before Kintaro was released, but it's nice that they confirmed a new Kintaro figure coming. I hope they don't pull a bait and switch like they did with their Sonic figure announcements. Also would be interesting to see if they'll do a Motaro figure, as well.


"Confirm" might be a bit too strong a phrase, but it seems they certainly have some lofty goals.



Kintaro would be pretty cool to see! A more dramatic sculpt might be nice, but the MKII design is definitive. Hope they don't stray too far!


It'll be based on the MK9 version of Kintaro, most likely, so they're going to stray. I just hope he doesn't look too bad.

"Is it so important that you win one last argument with him?" "No, it is not, but it is true that I will miss the arguments; they were, finally, all that we had."
scorpionmanxPosted: 06/11/2011 09:23 AMStatus ::


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Visits::863
Nationality::United States
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

The MK9 figures look like shit ecept scorpion hes ok lookn but i wanna get those UMK3 cyborgs and ninjas those are the things i wanna buy.

Vash_15Posted: 06/11/2011 12:20 PMStatus ::


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Visits::11780
Nationality::United States
RE: Mortal Spotlight: MKO Q&A with Jazwares Joe Amaro!

Why isn't Reptile on the poll?

Also, yeah. These look like shit, but so did Deceptions first wave. Hopefully it'll be a thing where it gets better over time.

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