The "toys-to-life" category has seen some ups-and-downs over the past few years, but the reality is that it's still an evolving thing - and probably always will be. Until now, it's been dominated by a mix of console video games paired with real-life figures, with Skylanders, LEGO Dimensions and the late Disney Infinity being the biggest players in the realm. This year, there's starting to be a shift toward mobile, with titles like TOMY's Lightseekers ramping up, but then out-of-nowhere comes Hasbro with a totally different spin on things. The Play-Doh Touch Shape to Life Studio bridges traditional, hands-on imaginative and creative play with the digital world, allowing kids to craft real Play-Doh creations, and then scan them into the accompanying app. The folks at Hasbro (via Family Video Network) recently sent us one for review here in the Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father HQ, and you can see our hands-on video below...
Autobot or Decepticon? For years my wife and I have had both sitting in our driveway - each of our cars displaying separate factions of Cybertronian allegiance. Which faction would you choose? That's what Hasbro wants to know, as that've just announced “REVEAL YOUR SHIELD,” a TRANSFORMERS celebration that will offer fans five days of TRANSFORMERS content and product reveals, beginning on April 24th with the release of Hasbro’s first wave of toys and consumer products inspired by the TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT film. Throughout the week fans will be encouraged to “reveal their shield,” using social media, TRANSFORMERS.COM or the official TRANSFORMERS mobile app to declare their allegiance to the Autobots or Decepticons.
After some early details leaked a few days ago, those attending EA has officially dropped the curtain on Star Wars Battlefront II, making the reveal at Star Wars Celebration Orlando. Personally, I just started playing the first Battlefront last month (late to the Xbox One party), but after seeing what's coming down the road, I can't wait to get my hands on Battlefront II. Not only does the game pack a ton of action from "all eras of Star Wars," but there's a new story to be told, with a new type of trooper at the center of it - the Inferno Squadron Pilot. Hasbro will release a Star Wars The Black Series Inferno Squadron Pilot as a Gamestop Exclusive along with the release of the game for Xbox One and Playstation 4. See details on everything below!
Being a massive fan of Star Wars, it's been a real privilege to have deepened my personal connection to it over the years, something that has been an unexpected benefit of running this website. I've been able to work on some projects spun from various licenses; had my own home movies used in Target's promotional commercials leading up to the release of The Force Awakens; and I was able to take part in the Global Media Event for that very film - the first-ever Star Wars film to be released under Disney's ownership of Lucasfilm. That said, there is one big connection that I do not have, and one that I've been asked about more times than I can remember - and it's gone back to the early 1990s. No, I am not related to Star Wars author Timothy Zahn, creator of Grand Admiral Thrawn. In fact, we'd never actually met until he made an appearance at Count-I-Con in Lake County, Illinois last year. To make it completely official, he signed a copy of his Heir to the Empire 20th Anniversary Edition hardcover to our entire family with "no relation" tacked on the end. So why bring this up now? At Star Wars Celebration Orlando, there was a whole lot of Grand Admiral Thrawn action happening, and you're going to be seeing a lot more of the blue-faced Imperial in the months ahead.
Since the official announcement earlier this week, interest has been building in what I believe is a truly monumental event for Star Wars fandom - the launch of Star Wars Forces of Destiny. In fact, with so much information rolling out, I've added to my popular Star Wars Checklists, with the complete Star Wars Forces of Destiny Toy Checklist, which will be updated as new information arrives. This afternoon, fans at Star Wars Celebration Orlando were treated to a HEROINES OF STAR WARS + FORCES OF DESTINY Panel, moderated by Amy Ratcliffe (host of “Lattes with Leia” podcast). What followed was a conversation about strong female characters central to the Star Wars universe and how they have inspired generations of fans; panelists included: Dave Filioni (executive producer Star Wars Rebels), Ashley Eckstein (“Ahsoka Tano”), Tiya Sircar (“Sabine Wren”) and surprise guest Daisy Ridley (“Rey”). The three actresses were surprised on stage with the reveal of their new Adventure Figures by Hasbro from the just-announced Star Wars Forces of Destiny. As part of the reveal, fans were treated to a sneak peek at the first animated Forces of Destiny short, which will launch on Disney YouTube in July 2017. If you missed the panel, you can catch it on the archived live stream at the 53:35 mark, or in the player below.
Officially announced at the 2017 Star Wars Celebration Orlando, Star Wars Forces of Destiny is a new, multi-faceted movement featuring an original series of animated shorts (each 2-3 minutes in length) that will explore exciting, all-new adventures of key characters in the Star Wars Saga, including Rey, Jyn Erso, Sabine Wren, Princess Leia, Ahsoka Tano and others. The stories will also be supported by a line of toys from Hasbro, including new ‘Adventure Figures’ – a fusion between traditional dolls and action figures, creating a whole new way to play Star Wars. Additionally, there will be other extensions of the line including bedding, apparel, books and more. Having two daughters, our family is very excited for the Forces of Destiny, and early reaction shows that many of you are too! With that in mind, The Rock Father is pleased to present the Star Wars Forces of Destiny Checklist. Here you'll find a list of current, upcoming and rumored toys from Hasbro, plus information on series episodes and other products as I have it. Products from Star Wars Forces of Destiny will be available for sale beginning August 1, 2017. Additional characters will hit stores this Fall, with more scheduled for 2018.