Gearheads Interview Mindzeye Studios (SDCC Edition)
Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 12:52:04 PM EST
As the Gearheads already know, Pete Jirles (President of Mindzeye Studios) and his crew, have created several awesome Gears of War-related statues with more to come. Mindzeye Studios will be attending this year’s San Diego Comic-Con which is set to begin on Wednesday, July 22nd. Pete will undoubtedly have the current statues offerings on display as well as several surprise pieces. Until Razor Hanzo and I meet up with him next week, he has graciously taken the time to answer a few questions to keep our community up to date.
The actual interview and specifics about the special Comic-Con statues pricing details are available after the jump.
•Pete, let me start off by thanking you for helping us “give” back to the Gears community with that generous 30% discount back in February. We’ve always stood by the Gears community as a whole and try to provide support for the up and coming companies such as Mindzeye Studios.
The 30% discount was very popular. I hope everyone that wanted to take advantage of that offer managed to place an order – it was a great deal. You guys have been fantastic about getting the word out to the Gears community about the products that we have to offer. We always enjoy working with you guys on projects to offer special promotions to the Gears community. I can definitely see that happening again in the future.
•The three statues that have been slated for this year’s Comic-Con look absolutely outstanding. The color scheme of red for the ‘Rage’ variant Boomer and the blue for the ‘Final Hope’ variants for Marcus and Dominic, respectively, really stand out. Can you give us some more insight on these pieces along with the special pricing for them?
We wanted to offer variants of the current line. The use of color was always something we were going to get into sooner or later and we thought SDCC’09 would be a fantastic opportunity to do it. Even we were a little surprised by how much the blue and red colors make the details pop. This is one statue line that is really unique because we tried to tie in the COG color blue and the Locust color red to the SDCC options. We’re always looking for ways to tie our products into the game. We also like to give a nice price break for attendees of the show. Attendees typically ask us why the limited edition versions are priced lower – that’s because we really are trying to provide a great, exclusive product at a fantastic price. You don’t see that in the market very much today, but it’s something we like to do for fans at the show.
•Are you at liberty to divulge what Mindzeye has in store for the collectors besides Augustus “Cole Train” Cole w/ Sonic Resonator? Perhaps a COG soldier w/ Longshot in the works?(hint hint)
I like how you guys always try to get the inside scoop. I can’t say too much about upcoming projects, but I can tell you that we would love to do a Berserker and possibly Skorge, but figuring out the logistics and working with Epic to finalize any new project means that these are all hopeful projects with a “wait and see” timeline. If it were up to me, we would have produced several more concepts that we know fans would love, but the reality of the situation is that each decision carries a lot of weight on the business side of things and has to be carefully considered. But now that we’re talking about new characters, a COG solder with a Longshot does sound interesting…
•NECA has described what their relationship with Epic Games has been like in several industry interviews. Can you go into what kind of process your studio goes through with Chris Perna (Senior Art Director at Epic) and the company as a whole?
We don’t have the amount of experience dealing with licensors that NECA does, but we can say that Epic, more specifically Chris, has been very good at working with us during the creative process. Basically they want to maintain the integrity of their characters, whether that means body language or facial features, and we can respect that. We look to them to keep us on track during the concept phase of things and they’re very good at providing concise feedback that we appreciate very much. There’s nothing worse than fast tracking a project, just to have to wait on feedback form a third party, but Epic has been great at working with us throughout every phase.
•Since we are in such a dire economic time like we are currently experiencing, collectors have to adapt their spending habits so hobbies such as this are less of a priority. This must prove to be very challenging? How have the Bronze and Platinum Gears line been selling so far?
We have noticed a slight slowdown since the recession. From what we hear from other companies (those that are still in business), everyone is feeling a slowing in one way or another. The key for us is our repeat customers and diehard fans. From the feedback we’ve been receiving, our fans appreciate the care and attention that we take with both customer service and how approachable we are. That’s been something that has been pulling us through this difficult economic time. But we founded this company on doing things right and listening to our customers, so that’s always where our focus has been – and where it will always be.
•I, myself, have all three statues in the Platinum finish and friends that know nothing about the Gears universe come over and marvel at the level of detail and artistry in the statues. Since you are a sculptor yourself, can you describe the challenges of representing an intellectual property (IP) that has such crossover appeal to pop culture?
As soon as we saw the trailer for the first Gears of War game, we were blown away. After doing a bit more research that revealed the fantastic characters within the game, we knew that these statues could crossover from fans of the game to other markets – if they were done right. People love the look and feel of the end result and that’s what we were shooting for. Anytime you have an IP as rich and detailed as GOW, you’re going to have crossover appeal and that’s why we went for this license over several others.
•For our readers who will be attending Comic-Con, where can we find you guys?
We will be at booth #721. We would love to meet any/all of your readers. Along with the SDCC variants, we’ll also have other price discounts and show specials, so stop by! You never know what kind of promotion or added incentive might be given to anyone revealing that they’re a Gearhead.
A big thank you goes out to Pete for indulging our readers once again. The Gearheads community wishes everyone at Mindzeye Studios continued success as their company strives to meet the collectible needs of fans and collectors. The statues are limited to 100 pieces each and are priced at an affordable $125 (Marcus Fenix/Dominic Santiago) and $150 (Boomer). Please visit the Mindzeye Studios for more details. Razor and I can't wait to see these babies in-person!