According to recent reports, Stern Pinball currently has Avengers Infinity Quest and RUSH pinball machines in production. The company recently finished up a run of Godzillas. A May production run of the King of All Monsters should still happen but word is that orders for the game far exceed Stern's scheduled production so some people who have placed orders will be waiting for a long time for one. A shortage of specific parts is rumored to have pushed back Stern's scheduled April run of Jurassic Park pins until mid-summer. It's unclear at this point whether Stern will fill in the Jurassic production slot with more of the two games that it has on the line at the moment or something else.
I've been told for months that the Deadpool Pro that I ordered last March is scheduled for July 2022 production. I believe that is still accurate. However, there seems to be a gap in knowledge about Stern Pinball's scheduled June production. This lack of information about June has lead some to believe that maybe Stern will be sneaky and slip a Kapow or Vault game in during June. I personally don't think that Stern was playing a game of semantics when they said that they will not produce a new cornerstone game until August 2022 and that they will keep grinding down their order backlog in June. We'll see.
The question remains...what will Stern's August cornerstone game be? I have been hearing for a while that a Marvel, comic-themed pin with Zombie Yeti art and a Brian Eddy design was next on deck. Many believe that game is based on Venom. I've been wondering though if that game really will be next now that Stern is only making two cornerstone games in 2022. Nothing against RUSH and Venom, but those titles don't have the mass appeal that a lot of other recent Stern themes have had. I wonder if Stern will move up a bigger name theme into its next cornerstone spot? Maybe something like Jaws?
There's been a lot of smoke out there about a Jaws pin lately. Where there's smoke, there's often fire. If Jaws is next, who is the designer? I've heard some people say George Gomez. I personally think that the designer is more likely to be Keith Elwin.
Whoever the designer is, Jaws is not likely to have Zombie Yeti art. The art package will probably be the work of someone else. The last Universal Studios property that Stern designed a pinball machine for was The Munsters. That art was done by Christopher Franchi. That, and the fact that he's actually designed a Jaws translite in the past (it's awesome), would have made him a leading candidate for the art on a Stern Jaws pin...BUT rumor has it that Stern and Franchi are no longer working together.
Even though I love his work, I wouldn't think that the art for a Jaws pin would be done by Randy Martinez either. He's been doing mostly Star Wars work for Stern. Other recent artists who have worked with Stern include, Johnny Crap (Jurassic Park), Kevin O'Connor (Black Knight Sword of Rage) and Bob Stevlic (Stranger Things). My guess is that the art is done by one of them, but it could be someone completely new who has done work with Universal in the past.
With all of this talk of pinball machine production, you're definitely going to want to check out the fantastic recent video tour of Stern Pinball's factory, courtesy of the awesome folks at RB Flip below. In it, one can clearly see Godzillas on the line. Stern truly is an amazing production juggernaut.
This is all just scuttlebutt that I've picked up from speaking with people and reading a lot. Please let me know if any of this is off. What do you think Stern Pinball's next new game will be? Have you heard any rumors? If so, I'd love to hear them in the comments section. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org as well.
Screenshots of Avengers Infinity Quest and Godzilla in production, courtesy of a great recent factory tour by RB Flip France
Christopher Franchi's cool Jaws translite