Grand Theft Autobot

I would have waited an eternity for this.

Sure, Megatron said that about murdering Optimus Prime, but the quote also applies to Trans-fans and a decent Transformers video game. But eternity, it seems, has arrived sooner than expected.

As if living in an age where a big-budget Transformers movie exists isn’t enough of a fanboy’s fantasy come true, this week marks the release of Activision’s Transformers : The Game. And according to Activision’s Executive Producer Daniel Suarez, the game (which hits for next-gen systems) is the definitive Cybertronian simulator.

Want to hit the road as Optimus ? Fly the unfriendly skies as Starscream ? It’s all possible. While the game is not « open » in the vein of Grand Theft Auto, it does feature destructible environments with two distinct storylines, Suarez says. « There are two distinct factions in Transformers, the Autobots and the Decepticons, and if you look at the fan base out there, they’re split down the middle. So we had to give players the option to play both sides! Now take the fact that you have Optimus Prime and Starscream running, driving and flying in city environments ». it’s the bull in the china shop concept. Big giant robots will cause intended and collateral damage, so we had to make everything from a 5-story building to a mailbox destructible. Plus, you’ll get to wreck up outer space on two bonus, unlockable « Cybertron » levels in a limited edition release of the game for Xbox 360.

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For Suarez, the most important part of creating a Transformers game was making sure the robots well, transform. For me personally, [my favorite aspect of the game] involved seeing gameplay that really made use of how the robots changed form, where both vehicle and robot modes are equally used. And in order for you to succeed, you have to use both to complete the mission. That means that all the playable characters which include Bumblebee, Megatron, Ironhide and more can transform on the fly, at any time.

The goal from the very beginning was to ensure that we made a game that is both for movie fans and existing Transformers fans, and that has been a challenge, says Suarez. There are expectations on this game because it played a big part of an entire generation’s upbringing. We’ve been doing everything we can to make sure that this game meets those expectations.

As such, the Activision team drew heavily on everyone involved in the movie to help with the creation of the game, including director Michael Bay and executive producer Steven Speilberg. Both Michael and Steven have seen and provided guidance on the game, Suarez says. We’ve met with Michael numerous times and have been working with his production teams to ensure the assets and materials we have are current and that our team knows where he’s going with specific parts of the film.

Meeting with Spielberg is one thing. But for a real Transformers fan, having the voice of Optimus Prime in the recording booth is the real deal. Recording with Peter Cullen was a blast, Suarez says. « It was like, Wow ! That’s Optimus Prime! I still remember walking into the sound studio the day we recorded him and when he opened his mouth and spoke the first line as Optimus, everyone in the room was blown away ».

And unlike the movie, which cast Hugo Agent Smith

Weaving as Megatron, original voice actor Frank Welker will be portraying the lead Decepticon in the game.

With all this old-school flavor, one can’t help but think will there be any G1 content in the game? Luckily, Activision does not disappoint. There will be G1 characters and repaints in the game that we’ve integrated with the support of Hasbro, Suarez says. « We’ve been very conscious to include characters, locations and even subtle acknowledgements to the die-hard fans anywhere we can. There are a lot of special surprises that we think the established fans will enjoy, including some rare and never-been-seen-before treasures from the Hasbro archives. » see more :

 

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