If there’s one thing we geeks love to do, it’s wax theoretical on all the things that could have been or should yet be involving our favorite characters or properties. Whether an unseen final season or a never-produced line of action figures, we want them. Now. Make it so!
Jared Whittaker will back me up on this… Skyrim is amazing. It should be, its predecessor was pretty damned great in and of itself. The level of immersion the Elder Scrolls franchise offers, from selecting your race to developing your skills to customizing your arms and armor to determining your very fate – well, it boggles the mind. As a collector, one of the few things that could make the franchise better would be a line of action figures. But with so much customization inherent in the game, how could you ever please everyone? The simple answer here is that you can’t; but that doesn’t mean you can’t come damned close.
Blizzard’s similarly customizable gaming experience – World of Warcraft – offers the devout fans a third party through which they can acquire a custom statue based off of their in-game avatar. Beyond that, a line of heavily detailed action figures/statues was released to mass market. This approach serves its purpose, but I think Bethesda can go one better.
- Open a submission window prior to the release of the (inevitable) Skyrim expansion packs and limit the numbers of submissions you’ll accept. 50? 100? 500? This is where guys who get paid more than me (i.e. anything) come into play to determine the most financially profitable “print run.” Each of the first X number of submissions will be able to purchase a custom action figure based on their character – gender, race, armor, weapons… the works
- Sculpt specific body parts individually, including separate pieces for head, hair, hands, feet, legs, etc.
- Charge a premium price ($100+) for the custom figures, and include early access codes for the expansion packs to add to the value for the gamer
- Utilizing the molds for the individually sculpted custom figures, create new combinations to be released at retail
- Package each of the retail release figures with a special spell or item as well as a code to unlock that weapon/armor/spell in the game as a mini-DLC pack
The plan here is relatively simple. Working backwards; the mini-DLC packs serve as an incentive for gamers who might otherwise not collect action figures to indulge here, helping to drive sales of the figures. Utilizing interchangeable body parts to allow customers to customize their own figures (to an extent) further adds to the appeal, and from there, the potential profitability of the line. The mass market line employing the tooling used for the initial run of custom figures would help defray the high cost of producing one-of-a-kind figures; the cost would be passed along to the consumer in the form of the premium pricing, but the inclusion of early access download keys would hopefully help justify the inflated price tag.
Looking at the concept from a consumer’s-eye view, the line would offer new in-game content, a great deal of built-in customization, and a chance to take the Elder Scrolls adventure into a whole new dimension. The mini-DLC’s could offer up their new weapons and magic spells through small, self-contained quests or single characters to fight or befriend. The ability to swap body parts between figures could allow not only for a heightened experience in troop building, but could also provide those unwilling/unable to spend the premium money for a custom figure to come a little closer to recreating their own avatar. Sure, the Ma’iq the Liar figure’s head might not be a perfect match for your Khajiit sellsword, but when you swap it onto the Dremora’s Daedric armored body and top it off with Astrid’s Shrouded Hood, the end result should be close enough to do the trick. And maybe none of these figures will come with the Glass Greatsword you enchanted yourself to do shock damage and soul trap, but after you download and start using the Axe of Quakes the Dremora comes with, you’ll never let your avatar – the 2D or the 3D version – wield anything else.
Are there details I can’t hammer out? Yes. Numbers would have to be crunched to determine the viability of this plan, and the specifics of how best to implement it. Still, think of the possibilities to create characters from ANY of the Elder Scrolls games, and I think it becomes self-evident that these figures would sell like sweet rolls! What say you, Emperor Septim?