INTERVIEW WITH GUANG YANG
CEO OF SOTA TOYS
Guang Yang, Chief Executive of Sota Toys, spent some time with us to discuss their creative process and their plans for the 20th Anniversary of Street Fighter, including new figures and new character possibilities.
SFD: Hello Guang. It is a pleasure to be speaking with you. Congratulations on the success of your Previews toy line!
SOTA: Hi, itís a pleasure being here talking with you and thank you.
SFD: First off, what is SOTA's company objective?
SOTA: The companyís objective is same as always Ė make amazing figures for amazing fans!
SFD: How do you go about choosing which characters to create next?
SOTA: First, we will all set around the table and come up with a list of characters we think should be in our next line, and then we announce it to our customers and the public to hear their responses. After that, we will evaluate the responses to finalize a line-up that will satisfy the public, our customers, and ourselves.
SFD: How many people are involved with the creative process? Designer, sculptor, etc
SOTA: Since we are running a tight crew here, all of us are involved in the creative process.
SFD: Can you describe a bit about the process?
SOTA: For almost every project we will start with the conceptualization phase, thatís where we take the mental image and make it visual. This phase is very important to us because after 7 or 8 cups of coffee, everything in your head will seem like the next most awesome toy to make. By putting them down on paper, we can really filter out the good ideas from all the seemingly good ideas. Also, the final concept sketches will help our sculptor(s) understand more of what needs to be done. After conceptualization, we go onto the sculpture phase. This phase is pretty straight forward; just require a lot of back-n-forth communication between us and our sculptors to finally get a prototype made to our satisfaction.
SFD: How many different series do you have?
SOTA: For just the Street Fighter license, we had Round 1-4 series and the Previews series for articulated action figures. The next articulated action figure line will be the Revolution series 1 (SF Revo-1). For Statues, we have Ryu with Blanka on the way and Ibuki, Sagat following shortly after. In 2008, we are beginning to conceptualize more characters for this statue line; so far, the names on the list are Ken, Fei Long, Chun Li, Cammy, Vega, and Bison (not in any sequence or order).
SFD: Who were some of the characters you wanted to previously create, but had to put them off?
SOTA: I have to say Dee-Jay was the most significant one. Canning him was a very difficult call for me to make, but the responses from both the public and our customers were just too weak to justify making him. He was a candidate for the Revo-1, but was replaced by R. Mika. However, as long as we are still making Street Fighter figures, thereís always a chance for him to pop back in.
SFD: Do you have plans on other Capcom licenses? Bionic Commando or Devil May Cry perhaps?
SOTA: Not at this moment.
SFD: Can you tell us a bit about your Street Fighter 20th Anniversary plans?
SOTA: In deed, from what Iíve seen and heard, 2008 will be a BIG year for Capcom. We have been in conversations with both their marketing team and their creative team (Capcom USA) and Iím glad to say that they are bringing out their "A-game" for next year. There will be a lot more goodies coming out from us then anyone wouldíve expected.
SFD: Lastly, roughly where is your main studio? Do you have various studios around the world?
SOTA: We are located in Chatsworth, California. Since I took position in the company, we have been working to form a support creative team in China to help facilitate some of the pre-tooling adjustments.
SFD: Guang, thank you very much for spending this time with us. We look forward to seeing more of your amazing toys!
SOTA: And thank you for your efforts in the SF community.