Some information from my chat with Andrew that people might be interested in:
- Full launch of the machine (playable) is hoped for and expected at the Texas Pinball festival in March.
- Per Aurich & Andrew's missives on Pinside, they're still open to ideas about differentiating factors for the LE, and there may well be a choice of colour for rails / legs / trim etc. Receptive to requests and feedback.
- Their fibre optic lighting is still being experimented with (hence delays on Full Throttle LE). He didn't say so, but I expect LEs won't be among the first to be built for this reason and later asset approvals.
- Didn't really talk too much about details re: Alien, as so much is still subject to approval by the studio. Alien and Aliens are his favourite films, though, and a "dream" franchise for him. Could have had Alien 3 rights too, but didn't want to convolute theme too much, and he doesn't personally like it - even prefers Resurrection. Therefore stuck with Alien and Aliens.
- Bram Stoker's Dracula was originally meant to be Alien.
- Andrew's background in the industry was pinball (and amusements I think) in Ireland (first the Republic, then Northern Ireland) from the 90s onwards. Then more recently in England he's organised the UK Pinball Party show which will enter its 6th year this year.
- Had looked into establishing the company 9 years ago, but time wasn't right.
- The company is privately financed, by him and other private investors. No bank or venture capital backing.
- Has no association with Wales or South Wales. Was simply the right place to establish the facility given cheapness of factory and warehousing space, large catchment area for labour (Cardiff & Bristol close by) and good transport links.
- Facility is 42,000ft2 (~4000m2). Same size as JJP's factory.
- Capacity is (perhaps significantly) in excess of 3500 machines per annum (order book and staff depending), and they will be taking on more assembly line staff. Didn't ask whether they had the option of taking on or building more space at their existing location.
- Machines only take 6-8 hours to fully assemble, compared to what he said was an industry average of 12-14 hours.
- Work on Full Throttle is finished (presumably except for code). Still very actively working on Alien. Hope to ship before middle of year.
- Should have 4 games in full production by the end of the year. Chance of 5 unless I misunderstood.
- Barry Oursler (who didn't work on Full Throttle or Alien) has finished his design work on games 3 & 4 already, and wants to move on to game 5 now. He apparently works incredibly quickly according to Andrew - going from start to finish in 3-4 months.
- Games 3 & 4 are both licensed (didn't ask about 5). Intimated that at least one is a movie IP.
- Intention is to put out 3 titles a year, to take advantage of the swappable mechanic of their cabinet. Vast majority of underlying components are modular, so design to production should be pretty swift. Could have as many as 8 titles out by end of 2017.
- Seems pretty bullish generally about their prospects, Alien, and thinks Barry Oursler is great & considers him a legend**
Pleasant guy to talk to. Would have asked far more, but I'd caught him in the lunch hour lull, so didn't want to take up more of his time once that was ending. Will add other bits if I remember them. Look forward to having a look round the factory at some point as it's only a 90 minute drive from me.
Regarding Alien and my opinion, as others have said one can't say too much about the playfield art without it being populated and lit. It has potential definitely, but it's not brilliant. I am hoping for a few more flourishes and something a little more special on the LE.
Will also cross post this to the Heighway thread as it's less busy and this is mainly non Alien specific. Perhaps people already know most or all of this, but I knew little of it.
**That will probably divide opinion here. Personally I love Popeye, though, so I'm stoked at least! Possibly finishing the design of a 3rd game for them before the first goes into production does seem quite ... prolific, though?