Making Games Come To Life – An Interview With Project Triforce’s Drew Seldin
Gamer Living’s Will Anderson caught Project Triforce co-founder Drew Seldin on the road to grab his gear for New York Comic Con. He had a chance to discuss some of the products that Triforce will have on display, and the work that goes in to making some of the most iconic pieces of video game art come to life as full scale replicas.
WILL: Hi Drew, this is William Anderson from Gamer Living. How’re you doing?
DREW: Good, dude, how’re you doing?
WILL: Hey, not too bad. Sorry to be calling you later than expected – [I] had some technology issues.
DREW: No worries, Will. I’m actually a little behind schedule myself. I’m driving a 24-foot truck right now; I’m on my way to pick up our booze for our booth at New York Comicon. I don’t know how old you are, and I might date myself, but I feel like Snowman in Smokey and the Bandit right now, so…
WILL: [laughs] Oh man that is awesome. Do you want to try doing this a little bit later then?
DREW: Oh no, no I’m good. As long as you can hear me clearly, I’m just kind of cruisin’ along and wouldn’t mind the company, so…
WILL: alright sounds great! Drew, just for the record, can you state your name and what you do for [Project] Triforce?
DREW: Absolutely! My name is Drew Seldin, and I’m the co-owner of Triforce.
WILL: Alright, so, Triforce – you guys specialize in the ultra-limited edition game art, do you not?
DREW: Uh yeah! I’ve never heard it phrased that way, but I like that! I’m gonna use that!
WILL: [laughs] So, how long have you guys been around and what brought about the idea of doing these… well, actually, why don’t you tell us a little about the product that you do?
DREW: Well sure, I mean I can answer both questions for you. So, Triforce was formed officially April of 2008 and it came from an idea of a void in the marketplace. There are some amazing companies who do amazing replicas, whether it’s movie-related, or comic-related, but nobody was giving the love to videogames that my partner and I were looking for. I mean, really, this company came from the idea that we wanted all high-end products and it was like “Hey, let’s make them ourselves!” Some of the greatest artists in the world are currently in the videogame industry. The stuff they come up with – the creativity in the universes, characters, weapons – I mean these things are unbelievable and really nobody was focusing on them like we thought that they should, and really that’s how Triforce was born.
WILL: So, with being a relatively new company and everything, how hard was it to break in with the creators of these videogames and say, “We want to create these works of art based on your product”?
DREW: Well, you know what, our first license was with Epic and Gears of War. And it came from an introduction from somebody, and it really was just us piggybacking on their passion, and really the idea of ”We love what you’re doing so much, we want to make them!” And you know, it’s an infectious idea. I mean if you create something and someone tells you, “Dude, I love this so much I want to create a company around making your ideas a reality.” You know they were incredibly receptive and they are an extraordinary group of people over there, whether you’re talking about Cliff or Rod or Chris Turner, all these guys built this idea; they built this universe of Gears of War, and again our love for that was what we were trying to create for that. And they were incredibly supportive and incredibly helpful, and just a thrill to work with!
WILL: So…once you land that initial licensing and everything, what kind of a process goes on between your guys, and say, the team over from Epic, to kind of sit down and get everything hashed out, get a design and get it into production?
DREW: The easy thing for us with Gears… It was pretty easy where to start. It was like, “Where do we start?” and obviously you want to start with the iconic weapon – the thing that everyone thinks of the minute they hear of the game. And that was the whole answer. And again, they were again more than willing to provide us the dimensions and the weight. And we pride ourselves with keeping everything 1:1 Scale accurate in the game. So some of our stuff looks enormous, but we don’t live in those universes. So yeah, they are enormous to me; I’m a 5’8” regular human being. Marcus, and Cole, and Dom, and these guys are not that size. So it’s getting that “Hey listen, so how big should this be?” for those guys in that world, and again, they provided us with art assets and were incredibly supportive throughout the whole process.
WILL: Excellent, and once you guys get these things built and whatnot – I was actually at Toronto Fan Expo checking out your guys’ booth, and some of these things are absolutely remarkable. One of the things that really caught my eye was the Batman with the magnetic Batarang, which was very cool, but now I see that you guys just released the Nightwing Arsenal full-scale replica which kinda has those batons that Nightwing uses. What kind of creative process went through creating that little piece of work there?
DREW: Well, first, let me thank you for that compliment. It’s always great to hear that people like what we’re doing, so thank you for that. The Batarang came from the idea of – there’ve been a lot of Batarangs made over the years, so obviously we wanted to set ourselves apart. The idea that we put this huge design to the base, and we took sets from the Batcave, and we took his gauntlet. And the idea was “Ok, so what does Batman do when he gets back to the Batcave?” He obviously doesn’t throw his stuff on the ground and leave it for Alfred to pick up. He’s put it somewhere, and that was the idea of the Batarang: “let’s put it in a display” it’s not that it in the display, but that was where the inspiration came from, like “I want a rack for my equipment, and here you go”. As for Nightwing and why we went there, you know all of these universes have their own heroes […] and they have what I call secondary characters or, you know, co-stars, but really – think about Dick Grayson. Dick Grayson has been around an incredibly long time, the Robin character has been around an incredibly long time. The fact that they matured him and developed him into his own hero, it’s an interesting idea. It’s a character who again never got any major love, but he had a huge fanbase. It was a “hey, let’s do something that hasn’t’ been done before, and let’s pick a character who’s incredibly popular but might not be getting the love that he deserves, and that’s part of where it came out of. And from there, it was relatively easy. It was like, “Ok, well obviously we have to include his wrist sticks, we have to include his armour, and we have to include his wrist guards. It would be cool if he kept his old Robin badge, and with some help from an agency in Toronto we also have a letter which was written by Paul at Rocksteady from Dick’s parents to him – Dick’s mom actually to him, on the back of the Flying Graysons’ poster before his first major performance. And it’s kind of like his locker, and that’s where he keeps the things that are only special to him.
WILL: Very cool. So now just taking a look through your product catalogue and everything, and the pricing is – there’s kind of a little bit of variety in there, kind of you know between $150-ish to $1000 – well, $900 for the gold Hammerburst Two. So what’s your target market for these? Are you looking for the ‘absolutely-gotta-have-everything-to-do-with-that-IP’ collector, or somebody more casual, or someone who just wants to have a good conversation piece?
DREW: You know what, it’s actually all of these. We don’t really have a specific target customer per se. Obviously the stuff is high end and you know we understand that, and it’s not for everybody in that sense. We have had customers come in, “oh my god I love this character, I’ve gotta have this!” or “Oh my god I love this game, I’ve gotta have this!” or “Oh my god, that’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen, I gotta have this!” I mean we’ve had people who bought a Mass Effect gun or Gears gun, having no idea what IP it is, but they just thought it would be a really cool conversation piece for their den or their living room. So We’re looking for fans, we’re looking for people who appreciate art, or looking for people who are looking for that kind of unique/interesting piece that’ll really going to round out the man cave or a gaming room or an office – that type of thing.
WILL: I know you guys are really going to be pushing the Nightwing arsenal for Batman: the Arkham series. But just wondering, out of everything you guys have done so far, what’s your favourite piece so far?
DREW: Well, I mean it’s hard not to love your first piece, so it’s hard not to love the Lancer, but itès also, it’s hard not to love Batman stuff, the idea that…well, to pick a favourite, like I said, I guess the smartest answer would be […] the first piece is the one that’s really special, it’s kinda how you launched your company, and it’s how you got your start, so I guess I would have to say the lancer.
WILL: awesome. And one last question: when are we going to see that awesome Hawken assembly that I saw at Fan Expo? When are we going to see that hit the market?
DREW: I’m sorry, which one?
WILL: The Hawken mech that you guys were displaying at Fan Expo?
DREW: [laughs] well… [laughs]…
WILL: …Because I just might empty my wallet for that one.
DREW: [laughs] Well, we actually had a recent round of corrections and fixes to it, so we’re going to have an updated version on display in New York. And if the new changes get approved, we’re then going to have to do some Engineering and add the LED lights. And from there, we’ll get it out. So hopefully, pre-orders up around Christmas or something like that.
WILL: Fantastic! So uh, you’re going to be at New York Comic Con? Where are you going to be located at?
DREW: I believe our booth number is 684. But you can check it out on our website; it’s listed on our Facebook page, on our twitter feed, or projecttriforce.com, you can find it if you just go there. But definitely come by! We’re showing off a new piece from Injustice, which is a Green Arrow piece which is really cool; we’re going to be showing off some Tetris pieces that we did; and we have some Arkham Origins pieces that we’re showing off, plus you can get a look at the Arkham Origins collector’s Edition statue if you’re going to be around!
WILL: Well sounds Fantastic! Thanks a lot for sitting down with us, Drew. Good luck getting your booth and equipment together, I know you have a lot of work coming up for this coming weekend, so I’ll let you get back to it!
DREW: I appreciate the comments and I appreciate the call, and we hope to see everybody in New York!
WILL: Sounds great! Well, have yourself a good one!
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