G.I. JOE – OPERATION BLACKOUT [Special Feature, Part 1]: Not So Classified.

KJ Johnson
@nivekj1

G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout was just released this week by GameMill Entertainment and developers IguanaBee and Fair Play Labs, and players across consoles have been able to sample the goods. Based on the red-hot G.I. Joe Classified Series, what’s notable about Operation Blackout is how closely tied it is to the aesthetic and overall design of the toys, down to exacting detail.

As such, we at GHG are taking a closer look at some of the characters in the console game that have variants yet to be released in sweet plastic form by Hasbro. Could these be a preview of what’s to come? And why release a game that reveals potentially a year’s worth of debuts on their hottest line?

ALTERNATE VARIANTS

The Classified line is already infamous for the amount of variants and repaints they’ve released so far in a relatively short time. Figs like the Deluxe Snake Eyes or Profit Director Destro have been well-received, some like Cobra Island Roadblock remain on the pegs (I still love that figure though), and Cobra Commander himself has drawn criticism for having three variants already. Three! Even Storm Shadow’s introduction to Classified has been as the Arctic Mission variant, though that design pays tribute to the fan-favorite Ninja Storm era.

In Operation Blackout, we can see even more alternates that may be making an appearance in stores and on shelves down the line:

DUKE

The field commander’s alternate skin pays tribute to the 1988 Tiger Force line, as well as a color scheme inspired by the Night Force subteam from ’88. Part of the appeal of the Joes finally being in 6-inch scale is the sheer amount of detail packed into each figure, as well as paying tribute to a toyline dating all the way back to 1964.

And judging by how some fans were turned off by the somewhat-gaudy shinguards and kneepads of the original Classified Duke, perhaps this character would benefit most from a game-inspired re-design, if it isn’t waiting in the wings already.

SCARLETT

Scarlett has a classic yet simple uniform from the 80’s, and her modernization in Classified contains homages to that look, perhaps not as many as some would prefer. Early, discarded artwork of an Arctic Mission Scarlett made waves in the fan community, so the interest is definitely there.

The next step is for Hasbro to give her more official variants, like the ones seen below. Part of the 1982 “Original 13,” Scarlett has had dozens of variants over the years, so it’s only a matter of time until we see her first variant for Classified.

ROADBLOCK

Known as the only figure from Cobra Island that fans can actually get their hands on, Roadblock is the only Joe besides Snake Eyes to receive a variant. But what else lies in store for the Heavy Machine Gunner with a heart of gold? Perhaps this screenshot can give us clues, like a future Arctic Mission Roadblock, or even one humorously based on his vacation attire in “Red Rocket’s Glare.”

The 80’s figurines had a zany sense of style to them, so it’s refreshing to see the game continue that tradition and perhaps later variants will too. It’d be worth it to have a chef’s hat in 1/12 scale!

SNAKE EYES

The Classified Series made its debut with the Double-O (#00) Pulse-exclusive Snake Eyes Deluxe, complete with a chromed out visor, gray military fatigues and an Arashikage-inspired weapons rack. And the mainline version of the iconic character, though simpler, was just as difficult to obtain. So it’d be great to have even more Snake Eyes out there on the shelves.

Here are some potential new looks, like an army green camo outfit, or one of his craziest “disguises” from the classic Sunbow cartoon. Imagine this side by side with Profit Director Destro. Don’t leave money on the table, Hasbro!

COBRA COMMANDER

Yessssss, the villainous leader of the enemy commands yet another alternate, at least in game form anyway. The Snake Supreme variant once destined for San Diego Comic-Con has become an instant classic with collectors. Between this and the Sunbow-inspired “Regal” variant, what other threads could CoCo pull off?

Well, there’s his updated look from the IDW comics. Or what could be an Arctic Mission jacketed look. But I would pay cold hard cash for a 6-inch Retro Cobra Commander. (That is, if anyone was still brave enough to handle physical cash nowadays. Sanitizer, anyone?)

BARONESS

As elusive as she is beautiful, the Baroness proved an extremely hard-to-find figure in the Target-exclusive Cobra Island sub-line. So a variant may prove to be the only way for fans and collectors to get a Baroness figure without sky-high upcharges on the secondary market.

We may get a stand-alone version without the Cobra C.O.I.L. Bike, but what else is in store(s)? Perhaps it could be another Arctic variant with a Cossack hat. Or maybe even a Crimson Strike Team Baroness (please let that happen).

-KJ Johnson

Join us for more as we take a look at some of the characters making their debut next year as well as a few that may be joining them in Classified form!

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