People responsible for Western games merchandise, we need to talk.
Lately a lot of my friends and artists I follow have been catching up on the Dragon Age series. I noticed when they hit Dragon Age 2 a big uptick in Fenris adoration came about. I was quite the fan of him when I played originally and find he still is a favorite of mine. But there’s not really any merchandise to buy of him, oddly enough. So they get by with fanart and fan-made goods.
Then imagine my surprise when I see the same artists reeling at the little vinyl Dragon Age 2 figures being sold at the most recent San Diego Comic-Con. Turns out you somehow made Fenris ugly and this is definitely not the kind of goods they want on their desk. I certainly don’t, which sucks because in general I do want a desk-Fenris. Not this McDonald’s Happy Meal gremlin, though.
(It’s not even the problem being “Oh no he’s ugly” it’s “Oh no literally the only figure I can legitimately buy of him is terrifying to behold.”)
Look, I know you guys are all chasing that Funko Pop! dragon of cheaply made vinyl blobs to line the walls of Newbury Comics but that’s just not gonna cut it for the players who I see most often championing your games.
And it’s with situations like this that I see a completely different approach to merchandising for women in the West versus Japan’s extensive goods market aimed at women. There’s a really big disconnect between what the fans I know want to buy and what is provided.
I realize sheer side of geographical area and retail shelf space are a completely different beast in the United States versus Japan, but in a world where you can distribute most everything online and where plenty of spots are somehow made for niche resin superhero statues: why is it still a limiting factor?
Japanese companies like Good Smile have now gotten to a point where they’re teaming up with other figure company Max Factory and opening a separate brand, Orange Rouge, to handle creating Figma, Nendoroid, scale statues, and other collectibles of male characters for women fans. And Western companies like Marvel team up with Good Smile to make a bunch of cute little Avengers Nendoroids, among other things. They can even make Solid Snake look adorable.
What’s confusing is why more Western game companies don’t collaborate more often with Japanese companies like Good Smile to produce higher quality figures. It’s not unheard of, even for BioWare themselves. They teamed up with Square-Enix’s Play Arts KAI for some Mass Effect action figures. And they paired up with Kotobukiya for the Shepard and Liara sexy bishoujo statues, but only women figures nothing of the men characters of similar quality for women fans to buy. It’s a bummer.
I guess there’s that Garrus bust? I don’t know of anyone who would want a bust…
Give me a statue of Fenris like this, on a throne of broken crates like at his trashy house and with a bottle of wine. As he do.