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Seibertron.com talks to Hasbro and Activision about War For Cybertron

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Seibertron.com talks to Hasbro and Activision about War For Cybertron

Postby First Gen » Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:57 pm

Weapon: Double-Barreled Crystalizer Cannon
Greetings Seibertron. Counterpunch here bringing word down from the mountain.

The Staff here at Seibertron.com was privileged to participate in a conference call with Aaron Archer of Hasbro and Calvin Wong of Activision regarding the upcoming War for Cybertron game that you may have seen in our recent news cycles.

We were given free reign to ask questions and pry for information on your behalf and over the course of the interview found out some interesting and intriguing information. The conversation was free-flow and just presenting the questions as they were flatly asked would not really give you the same information that this article presentation will. A lot of what was said, wasn't said and knowing what was repeated or had emphasis placed upon it is just as important as the straight answer to the question. I will do my best to provide summary of the important topics and then I will simply bullet-point any other information that did not fit easily elsewhere.

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The Backstory
This is a project that has been in development since 2007. Hasbro indicated to us, that the idea is to create a more linear story and that the game as a story-telling device is a "jumping off point". Specifically, they stated that the events of the game will live longer/carry-on past the life of the game itself. The basis of the story is the Cybertron Civil War. From our conversation and our inference at what was said, it appears that they are finally telling that part (the pre-Earth, Civil War) of the Transformers mythos the way they want it to be told. The word "canon" was used several times as we discussed this and when asked if this game/story was creating a canonical back-story for G1 ... we were not told "no". Of course, over the years, it has seemed that Hasbro has been careful to never truly define certain things, the origin of Prime, origin of the Constructicons, etc. The feeling that I and others had was that the plan was to tell a Cybertronian Civil War back story ... and if it so happens to make perfect sense as the canon G1 Civil War story ... well, that's how it is. Repeatedly, we were told that the effort is to tell great stories. Specifically, we were told that "Canon is a good word ... " I'm not sure there's a G1 fan out there who wouldn't consider the Transformer's Civil War Story to be the kind of great story they've been waiting on for years.

So, what else? What other specifics can we give? The story will be set on Cybertron. The Civil War will be hot and volatile. This will be the story of the Autobots and Decepticons before they left for Earth, before they really even know of other races. The setting and visualizations of Cybertron will be new and different. The one resounding piece of information seemed to be that this game will have a significant impact on the life and direction of the franchise over the next few years.

Toys
I know you all want to know about this, but there's not much to discuss. They weren't allowed to talk about the product yet. However, things that they aren't allowed to talk about are still things that exist. So, we know that there will be corresponding toys to the story and game.

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(Click on the above image to view a 3000 pixel version)

The Game
The game itself is scheduled for a 2010 release date. Judging from the time it takes other games to hit the market, my personal opinion is that we'll see it sometime in late Fall or Winter of 2010. It seems to me that a summer release would be ambitious. We were told that the game platform provides for a very sizable audience for this story. The use of games as story platforms has taken off in recent years and seems to be in line with Hasbro's expansion of the brand ideal. The focus on gameplay discussion centered around the intensity of the combat and situation on Cybertron. This was described to us as a "Gamer's Game". The presentation of the in-game story is set to have dark overtones with large scale impact. Specific information on the game such as the number of playable characters or names of individual characters was not available for release yet. Along side this information becoming public, Activision plans on releasing a significant amount of assets (rendered pictures) and press info on Wednesday. At this point, we were told that on-line multi-player aspects of the game are key and are recognized as important play elements.

Other Information of Interest
* When asked if this game/story was meant to be the filler between now and Transformers 3, the answer was a fairly strong, "no". The movie universe was described as its own separate entity, which of course we all realize. The point seemed to be, that this storytelling event via the game and the things that are to come after it are not just distractions to hold us over until the next film, but are instead the firm foundations of the next few years of the franchise.

* Hasbro is co-developing the story alongside Activision. Creative control seems to be something that they are paying close attention to. Statements such as "We're really looking to leverage what's happened before" and "This era in Transformers is full of opportunity" show that the development teams on both sides are really looking into the things that long time fans have been after in regards to the story elements. We were told that "Anything that's taken place on Cybertron has been mostly in comics" and that they were eager to explore this new venue.

* The story and the game are not movie based.

* Character identity appears to be a recognized issue. If you've seen the pictures for Optimus Prime in the game, you will automatically recognize him. For core characters, the design teams are taking visual cues from those characters across the continuum of Transformers History. After all, most of the G1 gang did not have the most flattering Cybertronian modes when you think back on it.

* When asked if any of the design work borrowed from Transtech (because elements of the new Prime model do reference it ...) we were flatly told that Transtech hasn't been discussed in the office in 10 years (we know that's an exaggeration, but the point remains the same). I could hear the dreams of some of you shattering right there and then.

* Hasbro paid some genuine complements to High Moon in regards to the character designs.

* An emphasis on bringing some very obscure characters into focus for this story was highlighted to us. While no one was specifically named, we were told that they were referring to characters that hardcore, long-time fans would be interested in seeing.

Thanks for reading. I will be around to take questions on any of this, to clear it up, or to speculate along side you. I'm sure Seibertron, First Gen, and Mkall will also be happy to add their input into the discussion.

Thanks go out to Hasbro as well as Activision for making this possible and for reaching out to the community. It is greatly appreciated.
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Activision Q&A

Postby First Gen » Thu Dec 17, 2009 5:04 pm

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Second seperate story: Activistion Q&A to be formatted with pics.

Seibertron.com's Q&A with Activision

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Question: Please reference for us what the play-style will mimic. Will it be similar to the RotF game? How does the gameplay compare to other shooter games such as Modern Warfare 2?

We are targeting not only the Transformer fan but also the hardcore gamer. Gamers can quickly discern the difference between a good game and a lousy one – it has to feel right. We have spent the entire project driving toward the right feel in every aspect of the product so when you get your thumbs on it, it is going to be a great shooter, not just a great TF game. Gears, COD and Halo are all reference games we often look at.

Question: Are there any RPG elements to the game?

No response given.

Question: Does the game use the same engine as any of the previous Transformers games?

We are using the Unreal Engine, which is the powerhouse behind Gears of War and Batman (along with scores of other great games). No other Transformer game has used the Unreal engine to my knowledge.

Question: Will there be downloadable content to enhance the game?

We are fully committed to this game and plan to support it after it ships as best we can, but we’re not ready to talk about specific details just yet.

Question: Will the story progression be linear?

There are 2 separate campaigns (Decepticon and Autobot) each is completely original and unique, and yes since the beginning we have been about telling a great story so there is a natural progression through it. Both campaigns are unlocked at the start. The Decepticon campaign takes place before the Autobot campaign (but you can play them in any order), and I like to think of it as the prequel game to the Autobot game. Both are full fledged unique stories and levels - players don’t travel through the same level ever!

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(Click on the above image to view a 3000 pixel version)

Question: Will the transforming be done with a button press or a button hold action?
Will combat damage be self healing over time or will there be an absolute health gauge?
Are both factions playable?
How will the issue of air superiority be addressed for multiplayer? (the flying mechs were vastly more powerful in RotF)


This is a very valid question, however I am going to save my response for a bit until we are ready to talk about all our multiplayer details, which I’m really excited for – stay tuned.

Question: Will there be any epic level battles (Shadow of the Collossus style or Tidal Wave from the Armada game style)?

You see the big guy in the teaser trailer (you know who I am talking about)? How does fighting vs. him sound – epic enough? And we’ll talk about more soon.

Question: What was the most important thing learned from the RotF game that will be corrected in this new game?
At what point in the "War for Cybertron" is the game starting storywise?
Will there be any bonus attacks for characters such as Powerlinking or Minicon boosts from previous eras?
Being that the game is set for all platforms, will each system carry its own version of the game ala Revenge of the Fallen or will every system feature the same campaigns?


The story follows the same major beats on all platforms, but there will be some differences on the NDS and Wii versions. High Moon is developing the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC versions.
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Re: Seibertron.com talks to Hasbro and Activision about War For Cybertron

Postby Seibertron » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:16 pm

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Thanks for getting this posted guys. Great work!

Also, I'd like to give a special thanks to Activision and Hasbro for this opportunity. This was a great collaboration.
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Re: Seibertron.com talks to Hasbro and Activision about War For Cybertron

Postby Mindmaster » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:25 pm

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Dude, I was just getting syched about the toy thing, but that uncolored truck thing, I was sure fire it is going to be Prime 8)
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Re: Seibertron.com talks to Hasbro and Activision about War For Cybertron

Postby hippymule » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:48 pm

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I didn't see anybody post this(that doesn't mean they didn't) but that tf toy that we couldn't identifey is optimus prime(cybertron form)! how cool is that! well go ahead spam me about how u guys already knew and stuff. :D
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Re: Seibertron.com talks to Hasbro and Activision about War For Cybertron

Postby First Gen » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:52 pm

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hippymule wrote:I didn't see anybody post this(that doesn't mean they didn't) but that tf toy that we couldn't identifey is optimus prime(cybertron form)! how cool is that! well go ahead spam me about how u guys already knew and stuff. :D



We posted it.
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Re: Seibertron.com talks to Hasbro and Activision about War For Cybertron

Postby 8 bit » Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:05 pm

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Wow! Sounds like things are definitely heading in the right direction in War for Cybertron! Kudos for the question about air combat verses ground! It will be interesting to see what advantage an Autobot car could have against a Decepticon seeker.
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Re: Seibertron.com talks to Hasbro and Activision about War For Cybertron

Postby Requiem Prime » Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:28 pm

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The DS version it's self-explanatory, but anything besides creating a unique game on the Wii will lead to same things it has always lead to: Ugly visuals, severely chopped levels, lazy motion-control.

And I really hope it can hold it's own in single player.
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Re: Seibertron.com talks to Hasbro and Activision about War For Cybertron

Postby Fires_Of_Inferno » Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:59 pm

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"An emphasis on bringing some very obscure characters into focus for this story was highlighted to us. While no one was specifically named, we were told that they were referring to characters that hardcore, long-time fans would be interested in seeing."

Hm, a few names come to mind with this. Straxus, Jihaxus, Scrounge, Devcon, Rook, Rack N' Ruin, Impactor, Xarron, Liege Maximo, Death's Head, Centurion. Of course I only really know a small fraction of the comic-verse so there could be alot more that I don't know that don't come up often. Still, those guys mentioned would be pretty sweet.
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Re: Seibertron.com talks to Hasbro and Activision about War For Cybertron

Postby Lastjustice » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:24 pm

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Re: Seibertron.com talks to Hasbro and Activision about War For Cybertron

Postby Cyberstrike » Sat Dec 19, 2009 9:28 am

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Just what the world needs ANOTHER stupid fps. I'll pass.
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Re: Seibertron.com talks to Hasbro and Activision about War For Cybertron

Postby harrogatebantam31 » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:08 am

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It's all sounding really promising, let's just hope the hype is realised.

I keep seeing people mention it will be a FPS, but if it's using the Unreal engine surely it will be an over the shoulder, full on shooter a la Gears of War and Halo.
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Re: Seibertron.com talks to Hasbro and Activision about War For Cybertron

Postby Cyberstrike » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:26 am

Motto: "I don't lose, I CONQUER!"
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I find FPS games incredibly boring and repetitive. If you played one you pretty much played them all. Call me old fashioned but I actually like to see the character I'm playing in a video game other than hands and a weapon.
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