Exclusive: Hasbro Star Wars Brand Manager Explains Angry Birds Crossover
Yesterday the curtain was drawn back on Angry Birds: Star Wars, a crazy licensing mash-up that put Star Wars skins on the familiar avian acrobats of Rovio’s mobile game crazyfest. In short, a new version of the Angry Birds mobile game will feature all kinds of Star Wars fan-love, and Hasbro will be adding another flavor in the mix with the planned release of several Angry Birds: Star Wars-branded versions of their board games and toys, like Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga Death Star, which sounds a lot like a word association session gone awry…but also looks kind of like a fun guilty pleasure.
I mean, let’s be honest here: kids are nuts about Angry Birds, as are casual nerds who like both physics and Star Wars, so really this is a no-brainer. However, some within the hardcore gaming community might be turning up their noses at this latest cross-licensing bonanza. But that doesn’t mean that a piggy-themed AT-AT Walker Jenga set won’t be tons of fun…
I mean, look at that! Don’t you feel all your cynicism and anger at the world melting away? Mine is, and I’ve only had the one cup of coffee, so it must actually be working its magic on me.
I reached out to Hasbro and asked about how Angry Birds: Star Wars might actually be just the bizarre idea to shake up the modern gamer this November. Here’s what Hasbro’s Jeff Labovitz, Global Brand Director for Star Wars, had to say:
Inside Gaming Daily: Why blend the worlds of Angry Birds and Star Wars? How do the two properties work together?
Jeff Labovitz: I like to say that Angry Birds and Star Wars are like peanut butter and chocolate – they go perfectly together. This mash-up of two of the most popular franchises today is an amazing example of 1 + 1 = 3. Both brands have such iconic and easily recognizable, fun characters and tremendous cross-generational appeal. It’s a natural fit and Hasbro is thrilled to have the chance to deliver this new mash-up in awesome toys and games.
IGD: Why should video gamers check these games out? What’s in it for the folks who are perfectly content to play Angry Birds on their phones?
JL: Just as Angry Birds Space introduced incredible new gameplay features, Angry Birds Star Wars will also be filled with cutting-edge gameplay. Similar to Lucasfilm and Hasbro, the Rovio design team is made up of massive Star Wars fans. So the app combines three powerful elements: the signature Angry Birds physics-based gameplay, plenty of new game features, and of course classic Star Wars scenes and characters. The face-to-face gaming versions of the app as well as the new Koosh Angry Birds Star Wars ball launchers are an awesome complement to the app. There is something very satisfying about building the structures and physically knocking them over by launching an Angry Bird Star Wars character off of an actual Lightsaber launcher.
IGD: What were some of the challenges in making the new games that Hasbro’s rolling out with to commemorate this new partnership?
JL: Before diving into this project I thought that efficient communication between three separate time zones could be the biggest challenge – Rovio is in Finland, Lucasfilm is in San Francisco and Hasbro is in Rhode Island. But both Rovio and Lucasfilm are fantastic and flexible partners. Instead, one of the biggest challenges during the development process was choosing which birds and pigs would make the cut and end up in toy form. Of course we knew we would tackle Luke, Chewbacca, Vader and other big names, but once we were deeper into the line everyone on the team wanted to make sure their favorite was represented. For instance, should Jek Porkins be in the line? Of course.
IGD: Any chance some of these real-world games will make their way back into app form (Death Star Jenga, etc.)?
JL: Yes, while nothing specific to share at this time, there is always the chance. The lines of communication between Rovio, Lucasfilm and Hasbro are wide open and anything is possible.
There you have it. If you want the full list and descriptions of the Angry Birds: Star Wars product line, take a look at this press release. Suffice it to say, there are a ton of products coming out this November, so don’t be surprised to see a bunch of these under the tree this holiday.
And honestly? If you’re the kind of buzzkill who can’t enjoy a Lightsaber-themed slingshot designed to hurl bird-versions of Luke Skywalker at a pig-infested Death Star Jenga tower, I just don’t want to be friends with you, man.