By Michael Nam
Funko, the company behind the big-headed collectible characters known as Pop!s, is branching out, and CEO Brian Mariotti told Cheddar the company has a "new, unique way of taking on pop culture."
In the works are a new Funkoverse board game and mobile puzzle game called Funko Pop! Blitz that will let pop culture fans mash up their favorite characters.
"We're taking the world of pop, and that aesthetic of how a Golden Girls could theoretically match up against Darth Vader, or Harry Potter against Rick and Morty, and building a whole gaming universe around that," Mariotti said of the board game. "People love our format of pop ー it's men and women, boys and girls ー and that cute, whimsical design has led to an amazing strategy game that we're just super excited about."
The tabletop game features smaller figurines shaped like the company's collectibles. Two to four players compete against each other with characters like Batman or Blanche from the Golden Girls television show. Mariotti emphasized the company's cute design aesthetic in its approach to both the board game as well as the digital mobile space.
The app Funko Pop! Blitz specifically will feature characters licensed from NBCUniversal films like Back to the Future and Jurassic Park. "It's a match game, and we're going to be blending a bunch of different, wonderful licenses within this game that maybe aren't used to living together in the same world."
Funko Pop!s, originally called Funko Force 2.0, has been a fixture at San Diego Comic-Con since 2010 and celebrated the convention's 50th anniversary this year by dusting off a nearly forgotten symbol of the pop culture gathering: a toucan mascot.
"We brought the San Diego Toucan back as a Pop!" Mariotti said from the floor of Comic-Con.
The collectible manufacturer came into existence in 1998. Mariotti purchased the company in 2005 and set it on the road to becoming a pop culture licensing juggernaut.
"Sometimes you need a little bit of whimsy and fun, and maybe things from your childhood, to kind of peek inside your soul," Mariotti said of what drives people to Funko. "Interpersonal connection through pop culture is what we do best."