Date: 16th January, 2014

Less than 24 hours since Jersey Jack Pinball announced an investment in the company by a private equity firm, they have released more details of their second game - The Hobbit.

The last update showed the cabinet and backbox artwork, but today we get to see a first look at an early whitewood for the game which is still around 11 months away from production. In addition, we can bring you some sample video animations for use on the backbox LCD monitor.

But we'll look at the playfield first, and this picture of the lower half of an early whitewood without any artwork, plastics, lighting, or most of the inserts, but with the four pop-up mechanisms and the post between the flippers.

The Hobbit early whitewood
The Hobbit early whitewood
(click to enlarge)

You can compare this with the full playfield drawing to see the changes by clicking here.

There are two inlanes and one outlane on each side, with the kickback on the left a solitary standup target in each outlane.

The left inlane and outlane
The left inlane, outlane, kickback and outlane standup target

Further up the playfield we find the left target bank, the upper left flipper, the spinner in the left orbit and the left kickout hole, although the two Smaug drop targets in front are missing.

The centre left of the whitewood
The centre left of the whitewood

Over on the right we find a mirror image of the left side, with an upper flipper, target bank and spinner in the orbit lane.

The right side of the whitewood
The right side of the whitewood

The launch lane sends the ball across the playfield up to the upper left flipper and into the left orbit lane.

Also introduced in today's update from Jersey Jack Pinball is a video showing some of the test animations, including progress displays.

One of the progress screens
One of the progress displays
(click to expand)

The progress display shows Gandalf top left, Bilbo top right, Thorin bottom left, while bottom right we have one of the key scenes from the first movie - An Unexpected Journey. A second screen keeps the same three main characters but uses scenes from The Desolation of Smaug.

A progress display from the second movie
A progress display from the second movie
(click to expand)

Finally we can see The Hobbit's version of the 'press start' animation first used in The Wizard of Oz.

The press start display
The press start display
(click to expand)

You can watch the whole video here.

Finally, here's the full announcement from Jersey Jack Pinball.

Greetings Pinball Fans,

Today we are excited to reveal the lower portion of an early Hobbit Pinball Whitewood. 

We wanted to show this photo to give some flavor to what the playfield space will look like. No real inserts, artwork or upper shot with ramps are shown yet. In the next couple of weeks, we will reveal most of that and show a flipping whitewood. In as much as this raises more questions and excitement, it goes along the line of showing some of our product development which has helped build JJP's loyal fan base.

"I'm getting very excited to see how The Hobbit is coming together" said Jack Guarnieri. "There are some very cool elements of the game including some things that have not been done before so this game will be another full featured action packed game from JJP. I'm looking forward to showing off a shooting playfield in the coming weeks!"

Unlike The Wizard of Oz where everyone knew the story line and characters, The Hobbit has had many closely guarded secrets including what Smaug looked like. Thankfully our Design Team has access to assets from the Trilogy and must work in secret. This obviously limits what we can show but we are making great progress on the game.

Game Designer, Joe Balcer says, "The Hobbit has so many unique characters, iconic objects, places, weapons, and story content that our team is sorting through everything to have the right mix as a finished product in a timely manner. Believe me, it is a huge challenge to top WOZ as a complete package, but the goal we have set for ourselves is to do just that! The Hobbit is coming along just as I imagined it would from the day we signed the contract. This is an incredible title that needs an awesome game to go with it, and our team will undeniably accomplish that. Smaug'll see!"      

According to Yahoo: Finance, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" has crossed $800 million at the worldwide box office, with markets still to open. The film, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), has thus far grossed an estimated $242.2 million domestically and $566 million internationally, for a worldwide estimated total of $808.2 million to date."

This video from Graphic Designer, JP De-Win is an early work-in-progress compilation and should give everyone an idea of what to expect to see on that big HD LCD in the backbox of The Hobbit. Music done by Nick Phoenix.

Pinball News will continue to bring you our unrivalled coverage of all the very latest news from Jersey Jack Pinball and The Hobbit - First and Free.

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