John Wick (Stern 2024) Wishlist vs. Reality

By Todd Russell May5,2024

This article will be updated and is being published intentionally incomplete, because it involves future events and circumstances that are unknown as of this writing.. Bookmark and check back as we learn more about this new Stern pin.

UPDATE 5/14/2024 @ 5:30am PST: Updated “reality” answers below. Future updates will have dates/times added in the “reality” section and probably once myself and friends have played the game and reported back actual findings. John Wick is starting to appear in/around/near the Stern factory in Chicago and north into Wisconsin. I’m like 99% certain JW will be at the NW Pinball & Arcade show June 7-9th in Tacoma, WA, which is when I’ll be able to (hopefully) play it there for the first time. I don’t know if it will arrive in any location before then around here, although I did check with our local vendor, Candyman, and he said he ordered one.

Gameplay from Jack Danger and the John Wick Stern team (5/10/2024):

On Tuesday 5/7/2024 Stern Pinball will reveal their second cornerstone pinball machine of 2024 — John Wick (JW) — following Jaws revealed on 1/4/2024. Decided it would be fun to put up some wishlist speculation on what JW will be like, or rather, should be like to be a winner.

Not going to waste time linking the “teaser trailer” as there’s not much there to see. Basically, it’s a video extension of what’s pictured above. No flash of a playfield, it’s really just a tease of … nothing.

Readers should keep in mind that we at PGM, including the author of this piece, do not have any affiliation with Stern Pinball, any contacts at Stern feeding any information, and these wishlist items vs. reality should be considered as pure speculation. Guesses. Things this author think would make JW shine.

The plan is to come back to this article on/after the 5/7 reveal and, likely again, once being able to play the actual machine. Am hopeful that John Wick will be playable at the Northwest Pinball & Arcade Show next month (see: Attending Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show June 7-9, 2024? We are!). In 2023 there were several Foo Fighters there, so maybe JW will be there. If so, will definitely play it and have plenty to say then.

John Wick is not a theme this author is very interested in. The first one was a decent movie to me, but am not a fan. Of the nearly 1,000 movies I’ve watched and reviewed, John Wick is not among them as of this writing.

I don’t dislike the movie or the lead actor, Keanu Reeves, but the movie was somewhat forgettable to me. That’s not a popular opinion, as it has spawned multiple sequels and a lot of people are interested in this franchise/IP. And liking or disliking a theme — or, rather being ambivalent to it — doesn’t mean JW won’t be a fun pinball machine to flip. It simply has nowhere near the draw to me as Jaws, Jurassic Park or Godzilla, purely on theme alone. It could turn out to be more fun to flip than one or more of these other Sterns, but never know until it’s played.

Now, let’s get to things about JW that would make it a winner.

John Wick Wishlist

  • includes a bunch of movie/IP assets like Jaws – if Stern learned anything from Jurassic Park not having enough movie/IP assets, hopefully John Wick will have plenty, including Keanu Reeves callouts, not some wannabe clone Reeves or, worse, AI voice of Reeves.

    Reality: YES, but no Keanu Reeves callouts they are being done by Ian McShane (“Winston”)
  • get the car – 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 — in the game somehow … preferably a mech/toy, not just some static sculpt. This is as iconic to the JW franchise as Bond’s car in 007. Can’t forget to include the car … somehow, someway, and it better not be cheesy.

    Reality: Sort of. A car is there, but it’s not the 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429. Guess this was a licensing thing, although you would think Ford would want the Mustang featured in this game. Also, and need to play both versions to compare, but something is going on with the movement of the car between the premium and pro version. The premium bash car swings out and blocks an entrance, where it seems the pro version does not.
  • Include alternate video mode like they did with Shark Hunter complete with its own leaderboard – and if it would be separate game that can be played outside the pinball like Shark Hunter, even better.

    Reality: Not yet. Have not seen any video modes featured to date.
  • modern higher scoring like Jaws not lower scoring like TMNT

    Reality: Scoring is not higher like Jaws (see: Ranking Stern Spike 2 Games by Scoring Tier +Took 900+ days to score over a billion) and is more what I’m labeling intermediate. Scoring a billion on John Wick appears it will take quite some time to achieve with launch code, maybe once the final code is implemented scoring will increase.
  • plunger skill shots that take skill, with progressive difficulty vs impossible or stupidly easy or (gasp) no plunger at all and a button. It’s possible that it will include a gun style action button plunger and these aren’t always bad, but if they do this, then please have an analog button or trigger so that based on how strong squeezed or pushed, plunge power will be altered. Always the same plunge power makes skill shots from the plunge itself meaningless.

    Reality: From the two hour gameplay video, it seems there are plunger skill shots, but no idea if they are progressively difficult. Need to play and report back findings.
  • launch with more complete code … at the minimum like they did with Jaws but preferably even further along.

    Reality: No, they are launching, or so it seems, in a similar state as other pins: with lots of features “coming soon.” One of the features I’m most interested in is the Insider Connected send contracts out to play the game. This feature is something different for IC and it could either be kind of annoying and spammy or really draw players back to the game. Have to see this in action and reality and report back.
  • Multiple paths to wizard mode with some kind of leveling or tracking system across multiple IC sessions a la Venom (RPG levels) and Jaws (shark teeth and shark jaws earned).

    Reality: Sort of. There is an assassin ranking mode with different titles. Does not appear to be anything collected and spendable for a separate video mode like Jaws, however. Need to play and report back.
  • Wish lists from you/others?

Add your own wishlist items to the comments area below. Am sure you have something you’d like to see in John Wick to make it a winner instead of a lowly spinner.UPDATE 5/14/2024 @ 5:30am PST: Updated answers above. Future updates will have dates/times added in the “reality” section and probably once myself and friends have played the game and reported back actual findings. John Wick is starting to appear in/around/near the Stern factory in Chicago and north into Wisconsin. I’m like 99% certain JW will be at the NW Pinball & Arcade show June 7-9th in Tacoma, WA, which is when I’ll be able to (hopefully) play it there for the first time. I don’t know if it will arrive in any location before then around here, although I did check with our local vendor, Candyman, and he said he ordered one.

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