Date: 18th November, 2014
Having stressed how the version of their The Hobbit game shown so far was merely a prototype and how significant changes would take place before the widebody machine goes into production, Jersey Jack Pinball today revealed many of those changes.
The Hobbit is currently being shown at the IAAPA amusement industry trade show in Orlando, Florida, and while several of those changes are on display at the Jersey Jack Pinball booth, the new artwork package for the playfield is not one of them. But you can see it here, along with all the other new features.
The new design is far more dynamic and dramatic, with the full force of Smaug's ire a central feature, setting the tone for much richer reds and golds to be used throughout.
The colder blues and purples are still in evidence, but are kept in check by the ever encroaching gold elements. From looking somewhat sparse, the playfield now appears to be far more densely populated.
Before we move on from the artwork, the bottom apron's imagery has also undergone extensive reworking. Gone is the simple bare map, as three of the trilogy's main characters take up position on either side of the central logotype.
One of the most-repeated criticisms of the prototype shown at Pinball Expo and the Dutch Pinball Open was the relatively drab look of the game's largest character - Smaug. We were promised a reworked version and here he is, clad in gold.
LEDs inside the coin pile and behind the Smaug model allow him to light up and to bathe the area in more golden light, while Smaug's eyes will also light up.
Remnants of the Dwarf palace inside the Lonely Mountain have been placed around Smaug, with more gold coins scattered around, and on another plastic piece at the back of the playfield.
Further significant changes have taken place at the top left corner of the playfield where a placeholder book model previously sat atop a bank of three standup targets in the prototype.
The book model along with two of the three standup targets have gone to create a new shot into the pop bumpers. But the book lives on in LCD form at the back corner of the playfield.
The new 'Bag End' shot into the pop bumpers is clearly still being developed, as the playfield in this example had been plugged to fill in the cutout for the standup targets, while the new artwork shows an altogether different layout with a kickout saucer.
Meanwhile, the book has transformed into an LCD panel which sits over the pop bumpers, causing some rearrangement of the barrel pop bumper toppers.
Another change is the removal of the chunky upkickers and their replacement by less-obtrusive wireforms.
The two central ramps are now engraved and backlit by multi-colour LEDs to help indicate their current functions.
Further changes include smaller axes on the slingshots, new backglass artwork, redesigned decals on the the shooter guide, drop targets, ramps and spinners, and a new action button mounted on the lock bar containing another multi-colour LED.
The Hobbit is due to start production before the end of the year, and we'll be back with all the latest The Hobbit news over the coming weeks right here at Pinball News.
© Pinball News 2014