Joining the recently re-branded Mattel line of building toys are two Pokemon darlings, Pikachu and Charizard, set to hit shelves in North America this summer.
Since its creation in 1995, Pokemon has been a hot media franchise not only in the gaming industry but also in film, television, and, perhaps most notably, merchandising. With the latest update to one of the brand’s latest game titles, Pokemon GO, all eyes have been on the miniature monsters and what kind of merch might be unveiled next. Toy company giant Mattel and The Pokemon Company answered the lingering thought. As reported by Kotaku, a few beloved Nintendo characters will be featured in their own Pokemon line of Mega Bloks toys known as Mega Construx.
Recently, Mattel refocused its popular Mega Bloks toy line into two subsections aimed at different audiences. The first remains as Mega Bloks, whose construction figures are targeted at younger children in a way similar to LEGO’s “Duplo” line of building blocks. The second, however, gets a new name and a new age group: Mega Contrux made for preteens to adults, particularly those who enjoy buying collectable merchandise and growing their stockpile.
While Japanese toy maker Bandai rolled out a Pokemon Mega Bloks set last year, North America is just now catching up to release a line of Mega Construx toys. This Pokemon Construx set is slated to hit stores this summer, and will include figures of the lovable, electric rodent Pikachu; the flame-throwing Charizard; and a few other Kanto-regioned creatures, all ready for battle upon purchase.
Thus far, details have been fairly limited, with Pokemon fans only getting a glimpse at the Pikachu-Pokeball Mega Construx combination and at Charizard in all his blocky, bricked-out glory. However, Colin Palmer, vice president of marketing at The Pokemon Company International, did dive into a few specifics via press release:
“Mega Construx brings the engaging world of Pokemon to life in one of the most popular play expressions for kids today. We bring only the highest quality Pokemon experiences to our fans around the world and Mega Brands’ attention to detail and thoughtful creativity with Mega Construx is sure to delight kids as well as the most passionate Pokemon trainers.”
Additionally, Felipe Rojas, a designer with Mega Construx, mentioned that the upcoming Pokemon toy set has a “unique system” design that offers the toy company the opportunity to “develop an endless array of buildable, articulated figures that really look and feel like the Pokemon that fans know and love.”
Fans can check out the Pokemon Mega Construx during the 2017 Toy Far in New York, which runs from February 18 to February 21, 2017. Additional game merchandise purchases can be made as well, as the second wave of Overwatch Funko Pop figures are also included in the Toy Fair lineup this year.
Though the news that North American Pokemon enthusiasts will be able to pick up a Mega Construx set or two of their favorite monsters, it isn’t something entirely revolutionary. Game publishers and developers have long been collaborating with toy companies to create some incredible-looking collectible figures, especially in recent years. Mattel has been a impressive force on this front, releasing an Assassin’s Creed toy line, partnering with Activision for a set of Destiny Mega Bloks, and even once attempting to make a Halo Mega Bloks game. Even Funko has manufactured Pop vinyl figures for big-name titles like the upcoming action-RPG Mass Effect: Andromeda.
Despite not being the freshest idea in the merchandising world, it seems that many Pokemon fans will scoop up a set for themselves upon launch in North America this summer. And what a clever time to make the announcement, with 2016’s smash-hit mobile title Pokemon GO coming back into the gaming fold with its generation 2 update. Perhaps after Mattel and The Pokemon Company assess the success of the standard Pikachu and Charizard sets, Pokemon evolutions like Umbreon and Espeon may get the Mega Construx treatment as well.