|THE WIZARD OF OZ:
Date: 31st March, 2012
It's been quite a while, but the playfield artwork for The Wizard of Oz has finally been released by Jersey Jack Pinball. The approval process delayed the release until now, but Warner Bros and JJP have now agreed on the final look and here it is.
There was concern the delayed approval could lead to delays the production of the playfields and thus the rest of the game, and Jack Guarnieri has confirmed that this did indeed set back production by several weeks.
He said, "The approval process has taken several weeks and the result was well worth it. We do not believe in cutting and pasting already existing artwork from a licensor and slapping it on our pinball machines. Greg has tirelessly worked to create this with passion and if I hired any old artist we could have had playfield artwork completed last July. Greg is, in my opinion, the best pinball artist of today because of the time he takes, his talent and his passion for pinball and we are truly proud of his work."
Speaking about the project, Greg Freres said, "Welcome to the long-awaited WB-approved playfield art for the Wizard of Oz. I've read so many posts over the past couple months and understood the pain y'all were going through. I was inspired by many of your posts when you first saw the castle playfield so thanks for helping me get through the last stages of the design process. I am still not used to having so many people be so aware of a project...it's been a bit unnerving to say the least."
"When we first started the project there were two major elements that I used as the springboard - the fact that we were going to use "hand-drawn" artwork and the idea that the playfield was somehow divided between the Good Witch/Bad Witch sides of the storyline. And when Joe's design started coming to life and there really was a nice division between the two sides this was a great starting point to think about how the art would also be divided."
"I'll have more to say in the near future about all the background that went into the steps I took to get this where it is today but one of the things when dealing with a license is working within the constraints and limitations they provide. With that said, I can honestly say this is a combination of hand-drawn and photo related elements to remain true to the licensor's requests. My goal was to create as much visual unity or continuity between the design elements so the end result was one flowing piece of art."
"The great thing about this playfield is the organic layout that Joe has created with the myriad of shots. Since my last commercial game, Revenge from Mars, I had become accustomed to working with the "fan" style layout which can be somewhat easier for an artist to work with. I think my work on WNBJM was a good warm up for this layout because, it too was more organic in its design approach."
"One of the visual anchors for this layout, the spiraling Yellow Brick Road, was one of the first elements I created to get the design process started. Interestingly enough, the placement of the Wicked Witch at the bottom came along later in the development but it made sense immediately because of the Ruby Slipper Flippers. She's gotta' get those shoes!"
"Now that the suspense is over, I hope you enjoy the look and feel of this piece. Don't forget you are only looking at one piece of the puzzle - there are a lot more visuals that make a playfield a cohesive unit and I too can't wait to see all of Matt's dimensional elements push this over the top. Once the game is together we are sure the entire package will become an entertaining trip down the Yellow Brick Road."
There had been a suggestion there was disagreement between Warner Bros and JJP over the depiction of the munchkins. Here's what they agreed upon.
The newly-released playfield artwork has been applied to the previous playfield pictures by Peter Schotvanger to produce these two composite images.
In other The Wizard of Oz news, JJP confirmed that a test machine will be put on location sometime next month. There's no detail on when in May the machine will appear or how complete it will be, but it is going to be placed in a public location, so expect to see the first pictures of it right here at Pinball News.
© Pinball News 2012