Activision's upcoming (and highly anticipated) Transformers: Fall of Cybertron video game continues to generate a lot of buzz. [a]listdaily.com recently spent some time with High Moon Studios President Peter Della Penna and Marketing Manager Greg Agius to talk about the game and the brand in general. Below is an excerpt.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron hits shelves on August 28th.
[a]list: How did you get a chance to do a game based on an original take on Transformers in the first place?
Peter Della Penna: It was pretty obvious to us and Activision, that our studio capabilities and sensibilities were a great fit for the Transformers license. Also, it was perfect timing for us to develop a Transformers game that was not based on the film property and did not interfere with the movie franchise release schedule. The natural place for us to go was back to our childhood roots in G1 and start telling the story of Transformers before they came to earth.
[a]list: What are ways that you look to bring in fans of the classic cartoon series? Do you try and tap veteran voice actors?
Greg Agius: Authenticity is our biggest strength at High Moon Studios. You walk around the studio and you see G1 fans everywhere. I'd say that bleeds through to the game in every way. The look and the feel all are heavily inspired by G1. But everything is updated so that it feels right and up to date with the look of a modern game. Landing original G1 voices like Peter Cullen to voice Optimus Prime and Gregg Berger to do Grimlock is another key. Transformers: Fall of Cybertron reboots your childhood and makes it cool again!
[a]list: What games do you try to emulate as far as being successful with a classic brand? Do you try and learn something from the recent Batman and Spider-Man games?
Peter Della Penna: Game wise I would say both Batman and Spider-Man are great references. Especially the Batman Arkham series where everything you do in those games drives the player back to the core of what makes Batman so cool. For us, it's about transformation and the variety of awesome characters in the Transformers lore.
A massive article titled Transforming Grimlock: How High Moon saved the Dinobots has been posted by theverge.com's Russ Pitts. In this extensive article you get to hear from game director Matt Tieger what it takes to create Dinobot's in the current game story arc. There a lot of great new pictures of Grimlock Slag, Snarl and Swoop.
Matt Tieger has decided that what he wants in his next game is a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex from outer space who fights with a sword and a shield and breaths fire. And is a robot.
What he wants, in other words, is Grimlock, the Dinobot. All that stands in his way is the company who owns the Transformers, Hasbro, and they've decided that Grimlock (and the rest of the Dinobots) are being retired.
According to Hasbro, the Dinobots will not be in any Transformers movies. They will not be in any Transformers games. They will not be in any Transformers anything. They are finished.
The people at Hasbro, in other words, tell Tieger that Grimlock will be done away with.
This is the story of how he tried to change their mind.
Matt Tieger wanted to be a paleontologist when he grew up. And a marine biologist. And an artist. But mainly: Paleontologist. He loved dinosaurs. Knew all of their names. He wanted to dig their bones out of the Earth and tell their stories.
By the time he went to college, he'd changed his mind. He wanted to be a marine biologist again. He studied marine biology. Then, just shy of a Ph.D from Rutgers, he changed his mind yet again and left to make videogames.
Now Tieger works as Game Director for High Moon Studios, the company behind 2010's Transformers: War for Cybertron. For Matt, it is the best job in the world. Particularly because he is now in charge.
His new game is the sequel to War for Cybertron, Fall of Cybertron, and what Tieger wants more than anything is to let players be the leader of the Dinobots.
"As a fan of Transformers," Tieger told Polygon, by phone. "Grimlock is, if not my favorite, in my top three favorite Transformers of all time.
Also included in this article is the origins of the Dinobots in Fall of Cybertron, and anyone who has read SPOTLIGHT: SHOCKWAVE, will know just where this is headed:
As Tieger explains it, it goes like this: "It's all about loyalty in the Decepticon.
"Megatron is obviously in charge of the Decepticons, [and has] three lieutenants: Shockwave, Soundwave and Starscream (which by the way is very confusing to people who are not big Transformers fans because they're all Ss), but it's all about loyalty.
"Soundwave is loyal to Megatron above all things.
"Starscream is loyal to Starscream above all things.
"Shockwave is loyal to Cybertron above all things.
"So Shockwave's plan is:
"'We're not going to leave Cybertron. I'm going to save it. I'm going to search the cosmos, find a world that is teeming with what I can covert into Energon (the Transformers energy source). And I'm going to suck that planet dry and ... use it to reboot my home.'"
This is a thorough article packed with Dino-information. A great read for Transformer and video game fans alike. Check out this full article by clicking HERE.
Along with the write up are dozens of concept art, reference pictures used by the design team and artwork used to pitch the idea of Dinobots in this game to Hasbro. Mirrored below are some of the new Dino screen shots and concept designs. Click on any image to be taken to the full article.
With the release date of the highly anticipated Transformers Fall of Cybertron quickly approaching, several videos have been posted that cover a full range of features, gameplay and insight. These video's come from multiple sources in the gaming community and have been collected here in one place for your viewing pleasure!
First is an interview with game director Matt Tieger by Machininma:
Next is an article from Kotaku.com This includes more gameplay of Bruticus and others and features an interesting side article regarding the fate of the Dinobots:
The solution? It turns out these Cybteron games take place about 70 million years ago. When Decepticon Shockwave goes looking for some new transformation forms for a bunch of kickass robots, he happened to get a glimpse of prehistoric earth and the beasts that roamed the planet then. Tieger cautions us not to get too technical about which dinos were on the Earth then; just go with it. It gets us Grimlock in this game, a double-height robot who only can do melee attacks but turns into a marauding mechanical T-Rex (he looks very fun to play as). It also gets us other Dinobots, such as Snarl, Swoop and Sludge, all of whom I caught glimpses of in a level that started players as Starscream and transitioned into a very cool Grimlock rampage.
We will continue to update this article with any Fall of Cybertron videos that are revealed!
So hot on the heels of our ToyFair coverage where we got to see the upcoming FOC Bruticus in the flesh plastic, it looks like Bruticus is the center of attention - like everywhere.
Kotaku have posted an article all about FOC Bruticus and the Combaticons, while it's mostly about the toy it's also part memories about combiners and part interview with the FOC creators. You can read the full article by clicking here.
If you are like us and are still agog over the recently released Fall Of Cybertron trailer, sit back and get your reading glasses on. Gamecentral has set down for an in-depth interview with FOC game Director Matt Tieger.
There is some juicy tidbits in the interview involving Grimlock's dinosaur origin. Also read about your ability to take control of the mighty Bruticus and what other games inspired certain gameplay. There is an excerpt below, click here for the interview in its entirety.
Gamecentral wrote:GC: Shockwave is one of our favourite characters, we openly wept when we saw what they'd done to him in the last movie.
MT: (laughs) He's pretty different in the game. He's a very pivotal story character. So here's the way I look at the Decepticons, I think of the four main characters in the Decepticons: Megatron, Starscream, Soundwave, and Shockwave. By the way, which is incredibly confusing to non-Transformers fans because everybody starts with an 'S'. But think about it all in terms of loyalty. Starscream is loyal to Starscream, right? Soundwave is loyal to Megatron, and Shockwave is loyal to Cybertron.
So each of those characters and the things that they're doing is really based on loyalty in this game. Starscream, all things he does is all about Starscream. Soundwave all the things he does is all about Megatron. And Shockwave everything he's doing… he happens to be a Decepticon because that's the most logical choice at this point but really his loyalties lie towards Cybertron.
So he hatches this plan, he discovers this ancient, long forgotten technology - space bridges. The ability to open up wormholes in space, it's how the ancients used to travel and it's kind of a lost technology. Well, he's the mad scientist. He uncovers that technology and starts looking around the cosmos. Energon, I believe, is not just energy. It's not just crude oil, it's life force. It is a combination of raw energy and life.
So he's looking through the cosmos, he's trying to find more energon sources. Because what he wants to do is find enough energy to reboot Cybertron and get it back online. That's what he cares about. He spies Earth. The Earth that he spies, 65 million years ago is when dinosaurs are still stomping around. He doesn't find the Earth when humans are around, he finds primordial Earth, ancient Earth. And what he finds is this planet teeming with life and he can basically suck all that life energy out of the planet, killing the Earth and rebooting Cybertron. Which again comes back to what his loyalty is to Cybertron. He has no compunction about destroying a planet to save his own.
And in his investigations he sends probes through and he sees these lifeforms, these dinosaurs. He's also, as I've said, the mad scientist. So he captures a few Autobots and frankly he experiments. In this cosmology he's the progenitor of the Insecticons. There are some denizens of Cybertron in the below ground areas that he then converts into the known Insections. The next evolution of that is that some Autobots get captured - Grimlock and his team - and get converted into these dinosaur forms.
And the reason he does this is his philosophy is, 'I'm going to remove a lot of their brain processing power and put it all into raw combat power and therefore control them.' Obviously that never works, right? But what it does do for me personally is it gives a really great explanation for why Grimlock, who is the strongest of them, has the most work done to him and also has the problems vocalising his thoughts.
He's not stupid, he's not a dumb guy in anyway. I think of Grimlock as a person with a really bad stutter. It has nothing to do with how they think, it just has to do with getting the words out sometimes.
GC: As you implied earlier there is no single universe or canon in Transformers, it's a very fractured thing. My perspective coming from the UK is that the comics were the most important background for the characters, not the cartoon - which I think is the reverse of the situation in the US. But particularly in the early UK comics the Dinobots were this sort of elite commando squad. Grimlock never spoke funny, he wasn't stupid. But it seems like you've taken the later comic book approach where he's fully intelligent but he still has the vocal tick?
MT: You've actually nailed it. We really talked at length about it and the cartoon Grimlock was just… almost unloveable.
GC: Exactly, as kid I hated him. Why… how could a robot be like that?
MT: Yes, so now we have Shockwave trying to control him and him breaking out of that. His power, turning into the… he's a unique character in the game. One of the things in this game that's really special is the variety of what you can do. And we've really embraced the characters and made their abilities inherent in them. Grimlock is the only character in the game that you can't transform whenever you want.
The reason that is, is that he builds up rage. When he kills enemies - this is a very common game mechanic, right? - when you kill enough enemies you absorb some energon and then you go into rage and that allows you to trigger your transformation when you want to, when it's full.
But thematically what that does for me is that it ties it back into he's not entirely in control of himself. He's a bit of a Hulk character, you know? And so that also for me ties back into he's… where he has difficulty processing is a little bit in the emotional side, not in the cognitive reasoning side.
He's smart, he's tactical, he's intelligent. He just… his rage gets a hold of him sometimes. And on occasion he'll say things like, 'I can't process….' I'm paraphrasing here, something because of what Shockwave did to him. That is a much more adult, much more interesting, in my opinion…
In our second staff spotlight/interview for 2011, I searched far and wide for a likely candidate. Luckily I was speedy enough to catch up with one of the staff's most prolific members this year, El Duque! Our humble news administrator has been been extremely busy bringing all of you the latest Transformers news and updates. The Decepticon from the state of Oklahoma was kind enough to not blast this innocent Autobot reporter, and fortunately enough for all of you Seibertronians, we have an interview!
Blurrz: Each origin story is different for each and every fan. Transformers and you. How did it start?
El Duque: Way back in 1984, I was in kindergarten and Transformers was just bursting onto the toy scene. Prior to this I had been a bit of a Star Wars kid, but I was a little too young to fully understand the the whole Star Wars culture. I mainly just liked the action figures and vehicles. Transformers on the other hand, I was in on the ground floor. As soon as I started seeing those toy commercials and the cartoon it was all over. All those Star Wars toys quickly became school yard trading fodder. I was pretty much all Transformers all, the time (much like I am now) between then and junior high.
Blurrz: Looks like the force put you in the right direction. Now there are Transformers fans... and then there's big Transformers fans. As you've been a prominent member of the Seibertron.com staff for close to a year, and a member of our community for over four years, just how big is your Transformers collection? Are you one to simply pick your favorites, pick everything, or just a completionist with certain Transformers styles or lines?
El Duque: To be honest I don't really know how many figures I have at this point. I would estimate the count at over a thousand, with about half actually on display. My wife was gracious enough to give me one spare bedroom to do whatever I wanted with, so naturally it became my "Transformers room". At least that's what she likes to call it. Even with a whole room lined with built in wall to wall shelving I quickly ran out of room. I guess I have a fairly eclectic collection with figures from almost every line. The exception being the Beast era, I have no figures from any of those lines. They're just not my thing. I recently purchased the Shout! Factory Beast Wars DVD's and have enjoyed the cartoon, but I just can't get into the toys. My wallet is grateful!
I don't consider myself a completionist in general. I can easily leave a figure hanging on the peg if it doesn't appeal to me, even if I have all the others in the series. The exception would be G1. I would really like to have complete set of all the figures domestically released under the G1 banner, and I'm getting fairly close. I just got one of the big purchases out of the way, that being a complete Fortress Maximus. I'm currently just needing to round out my Pretenders, Micromaster, and Action Masters.
As far as current releases go, I just buy what looks good to me. I typically don't buy figures smaller than Scout size, but if one catches my eye I'll get it. I've picked up several of Cyberverse Legion class figures lately.
The room El Duque claimed for Transformers supremacy!
Blurrz: But the shiny animals are calling you!
El Duque: I'll admit I do sometimes get tempted by some of the Japanese Beast Wars figures. A transforming penguin? For some reason that appeals to me! Must resist!
Blurrz: So we know a little bit about the collecting habits of Mr. El Duque. How about the El Duchess? Does she dig the Transformers collection?
El Duque: My wife actually got me back into collecting. When the DVD Edition MP Optimus Prime came out I would look at it every time we went to Wal-Mart, but I would never pull the trigger and buy him. That year she surprised me with him as a Christmas present. He was the only figure I had for while, but when Classics came out they immediately caught my eye. Again she encouraged me to get them, it was all down hill from there. I think her biggest issues are my lack of dusting the in the "Transformers room" and the frequent visits we receive from the postman, UPS man, FedEx man, etc. They seem to always show up and ring the door bell when she's taking a nap. I'm really lucky that she doesn't mind my love of Transformers. She enjoys the movies and the cartoons, but I think the toys intimidate her a little. I've tried to walk her through some transformations, but she's always afraid she's going to break something. Which would result in another visit from one of the various shipping agencies, and a potentially ruined nap
Blurrz: Earlier you talked about the newer stuff, more specifically, let's talk about Transformers: Prime. Does the line catch your fancy and is there a favorite of yours you can't wait to get? What do you think about Hasbro giving the fans some early birds with SDCC Prime and NYCC 'Bee/Arcee?
El Duque: I'm very excited for the Transformers Prime figures. I've enjoyed the show and can't wait to get my hands on these toys. It's hard to single out one figure as the one I'm most interested in, but being a long time fan of the zombie genre, that zombie/Terrorcon Cliffjumper looks really cool! I'm also really looking forward to that Knock Out that was previewed at the SDCC, he's one of my favorite new characters from the series. Wheeldrift, sorry Wheeljack, looks good too. To be honest they all look good to me.
I'm glad Hasbro has given us the convention teaser figures, I have both SDCC Matrix Prime and the recent NYCC set. All are really nice figures, though I do wish the Jack and Raf mini-figures were articulated. It would be nice have Jack riding Arcee in motorcyle mode (gotta throw "motorcyle mode" in there to keep that from sounding too dirty!). These have gotten me really excited for the full line to hit. It's a shame we have to wait for a season and a half of cartoon to get the toys though.
Blurrz: In regards to even newer Transformers stuff, mind giving us your take on following third party transformers subjects in a paragraph or two?
The Devastator Battle - TFC Hercules or MakeToys?
Mastermind Hexatron Terminus (Shockwave?)
Are you a new heads guy?
Which character would you want to be see done, and by which third party?
El Duque: I'm a big fan of third-party products, I feel they really enhance my collecting experience. If I recall correctly my first third-party item was FansProject City Commander, and I was blown away at how well it worked. Since then I've bought a ton of third-party stuff. There have been a few misfires along the way, Impossible Toys Valkyrie and BTS Sonicron were both duds, but then you have things like the FansProject Non-secticons, MGT Delicate Warrior, and TFC Toys Exgraver that are pure win. I know some fans don't like the idea of these third-party groups threading on Hasbro's intellectual property, but as long as their designs are original I don't have a problem with them. Having these products in my collection won't stop me from purchasing Hasbro offering either. If Hasbro were to bring out an all new triple-changing Springer I would be the first in line to buy him despite already having Warbot Defender. I'll even own up to having a few KO's in my collection. I don't have many, but I couldn't pass up on that Headmaster 10 pack that reproduced the Japanese exclusive heads. I also gave in an purchased the iGear Coneheads, because I didn't think Takara would ever get around to producing official version, but given the recent announcement of the retooled MP-11 I have feeling I may be regretting that one! However, if they do release official MP Coneheads I'll get them as well. The only problem I see with third-party products is their prohibitive pricing, they're just too expensive for many fans to be able to enjoy. That said, I do understand why they cost more, it's just unfortunate that these products aren't in everyone's budget.
The Devy-war? I've made that decision an easy one, I'm getting both. I can never have too many Devastators! I can still remember how excited I was when I got the G1 giftset for Christmas as a kid. I kind of got that same feeling when Exgraver arrived. I guess if had to choose one or the other I would go with Hercules. The fact that he's bigger appeals to me, and I like that the individuals seem a little more G1. I look forward to having both in my collection.
Mastermind Creations is getting very ambitious taking on both Sixshot and HoS Shockwave. Hexatron Terminus looks incredible. Revealing a clear prototype was pretty clever, it allowed them to fully reveal the figure and maintain a little bit of mystery. I can't wait to see this guy in color and in all six modes. I also like how they let the fans pick the color scheme. Even more pleased that the deco that I voted for won! Cyclops looks like an interesting project as well. Maybe not as challenging as making a fully articulated six-changer, but still quite an undertaking. The only problem he presents for me is where to display him. I don't think he'll display well with anything other that their previous Knight Morpher. Which is fine, but these guys are going to need company, keep those HoS molds coming! If they pull both these figures off they will have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with.
I'm most definitely a "new heads" guy. It's amazing what a difference a new head can make, especially on a repaint. Renderform's RF-05 takes Universe Darkwind from mediocre repaint to completely believable. I've found that I actually buy extras of certain figures now anticipating potential new heads. As soon as I saw United Bumblebee I knew someone would do a Goldbug upgrade, and now we have two on the way. Luckily Hasbro seems to be learning how much fans value unique heads when planning repaints.
What character would I like to see as a third-party creation? I would take any of the city-bots. I think a third-party Metroplex, if done right, could be incredible. Hasbro doesn't seem to have much interest in revisiting the city and base-formers, so that seems like a good area for third-parties to break into.
Unicron and his glorious army!
Blurrz: Out of all the figures that you own, which one's the most precious to you? Is it your holy grail, or is that something yet to be acquired?
El Duque: I would say the ones that mean the most to me are the ones that were given to me as gifts from my wife. She gave me the DVD Edition MP Optimus Prime that I mentioned earlier for Christmas one year, the figure that got me back into collecting. She also gave me Classics Voyager Optimus Prime and Voyager Megatron for my birthday.
The "grail" of collection would probably be my complete Liokaiser. It took me forever to complete that thing, and I don't even know how much money. I wasn't really shopping for one, but I came across an incomplete set for a fairly low price so I jumped on it. It was missing Killbison's turret parts, Gaihawk's breast animal, and Jaruga's missiles. I didn't realize how difficult it would be to find those parts loose. After months of daily eBay searches I finally found Jaruga's missiles at a premium price. I finally just gave up on finding Killbison's accessories and Gaihawk's partner loose, and ended up buying new complete versions of both figures. I won't make the mistake of buying incomplete versions of rare Japanese figures again!
I also have a soft spot for G1 Windcharger. He was the first Transformer I ever owned as a kid, and the only figure from my childhood that I still own. I have no idea how that happened. I thought all the Transformers from my childhood were lost forever, but my mom found him a couple of years back while cleaning out a closet. He's a little rough, but there's no telling how many hours that little dude spent in my pocket when I was a kid.
Maybe if I'm fast enough I can 'borrow' one of these expensive combiners
Blurrz: You've been a part of the News Staff for close to a year. Unbeknownst to some, us newsies are generally the first people to see a toy, set or even rumor announcement. What was your most memorable Transformers news story so far?
El Duque: That's a tough one. I think the best I can do is narrow it down to the type of news I like best, which would be anything that has to do with Classics universe toys. I guess I could narrow it down further to news about the TFC Toys Hercules project. Devastator has always been my favorite gestalt so naturally I've been extremely interested in this project ever since we saw those initial teaser images of Exgraver. It's always fun to post news that gets the other members excited and receives a lot of feedback, and news on this project always delivers. In general I enjoy posting news that I actually have interest in. To be honest I have very little interest in most of the new I post, but it's not about what I'm interested in. It's about delivering comprehensive Transformers news for the Seibertron.com members.
Blurrz: What are your views on the latest Masterpiece figure, MP-10 Optimus Prime, and the upcoming masterpiece, MP-11 Starscream? Who would you like MP-12 to be?
El Duque: I've got mixed feelings about them. I would like to see some new characters get introduced into the Masterpiece line, but at the same time I feel both MP-10 and MP-11 surpass their predecessors. As much as I loved MP-01's robot mode, I hated his truck mode. Alt modes have always been a big deal for me. Even as a kid I wasn't found of figures that didn't transform into realistic real world vehicles. I was always a little bothered by the post Transformers: The Movie futuristic alt modes. MP-10 does a much better job of transforming into a believable truck, with the exception of the legs/rear section, but at least those are well masked by his trailer. I grew up around trucks, so MP-01's shortcomings immediately stood out like a sore thumb. Being a retool, MP-11 is a little harder so shallow. I can't help but look at him and think, "This is the MP-03 you should have sold me to begin with." I'm very pleased that they fixed the hip kibble in robot mode, it was really the only issue I had with the figure. I like that they are including the coronation accessories, though I doubt I ever use them. Makes me wonder what extra accessories they will throw in for the inevitable Skywarp and Thundercracker repaints. I know fans get frustrated by the rehashes of previously used characters, but I think we have to take into consideration how much technology and transforming techniques have advanced since the movies came along and really pushed the envelope in those areas. I'm sure if the Masterpiece line goes on long enough we will see a Convoy version 3.0.
As for the next Masterpiece figures, I would like to see Shockwave and Soundwave. I'm also very hopeful that we will get a proper Masterpiece Ultra Magnus using MP-10 as a base with full transforming trailer/armor. I've never accepted white repaints of Optimus Prime as Ultra Magnus. As a kid I never played with G1 Ultra Magnus as a robot without his armor. I'm also looking forward to Megatron 2.0 to get everybody roughly back in scale with one another.
Blurrz: The War For Cybertron video game last year gave fans an opportunity at Pre-Earth Transformers, in which many fans, including yourself, bought into the four figures released, Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Megatron and Soundwave. With Fall Of Cybertron on the horizon, which Autobot and which Decepticon are you most looking forward to perhaps being a part of the toyline this time around?
El Duque: Not only did I buy in, I bought in hard with all their repaints, which is something I don't normally do. I love the WFC/FOC aesthetic, and wish there was a separate line solely dedicated to these figures. One of my gripes about their inclusion in the Generations line is the lack of Voyagers class figures. Having a line dedicated to supporting the video game seems like a great idea to me. I'm sure I would bu them all.
I was really surprised Starscream didn't make the WFC cut in the previous Generations line, he's a fan favorite and they get two straight repaints that are sure to sell. That being said, I'm hopeful that the Seekers make an appears in the FOC line. I feel confident Grimlock will get a figure this time around considering how hard they've been promoting his appearance in the game. I never was that big of a fan of Classics Grimlock, so I welcome a new version to put on my Classics shelf. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we will get all five Dinobots even though I know it's unlikely.
Arise, seeker army!
Blurrz: Time for word association. I give you a word, name or phrase and you give us a one word response reflecting your feelings toward the subject.
El Duque: Gratitude
Blurrz: Megan Fox
El Duque: Who?
Blurrz: Transformers Armada toys
El Duque: Acquiring
Blurrz: Transformers Armada cartoon
El Duque: Unseen
Blurrz: Trukk not munky
El Duque: Truth
Blurrz: Transformers United
El Duque: Shiny
El Duque: Destruction
Blurrz: BotCon exclusives
El Duque: Frustration
El Duque: Excessive
Where El Duque makes the magic happen.
Blurrz: Our time has come to an end. Any last words for your fellow Seibertronians?
El Duque: Play nice with one another, don't take things too seriously, and keep this hobby fun! Oh, and REPORT YOUR SIGHTINGS to the News Crew!!!!!!
gameinformer has posted a couple of video interviews with Transformers: Fall of Cybertron game director Matt Tieger. Click here to view the interviews.
Matt Tieger has to direct Optimus Prime. He has to direct the player's experience and he has to direct High Moon Studios as they work on Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. While technically a sequel to 2010's War for Cybertron, due to some radical changes in story structure and gameplay, Matt Tieger prefers to call Fall of Cybertron a spiritual successor. We had a chance to sit down the game's director to talk about his history in the gaming industry and what it is like to be a key player in one of the largest franchises in entertainment.
Recently we got a chance to catch up with Stan Bush, the singer/songwriter most known to Transformers fans as the man responsible for the iconic song "The Touch" which first appeared in the 1986 Transformers cartoon movie.
Stan has recently released a brand new CD entitled "Dream the Dream" and has a lot of other things going on right now, and he was more than happy to take the time to fill us in with all his latest news, as well as giving us a look back at his career.
Seibertron.com: You've been recording albums for decades now. Has there ever been a time where you've felt like stepping away from the business and have
you ever thought ahead to how long you'd like to keep performing?
Stan: Well, although I’ve had a fair amount of success, it’s a tough business and can at times be overwhelming. I love songwriting and performing, and the artistic aspect is certainly very fulfilling. I kind of had my ‘break’ from the business during the nineties, when rock went sideways with the grunge thing. I kept making records mainly for my fans in Europe and Japan, where eighties rock was still happening. Looking ahead, I plan to keep trying to create music. I don’t really have a timeline in mind, but touring will probably make less sense after a point.
Seibertron.com: You've become a mainstay at BotCon having been a special guest at 3 of the last 4 BotCons and have also made appearances at a variety ofsci-fi and anime conventions and even the world famous San Diego Comic
Con. Do you have any upcoming convention appearances over the next few months?
Stan Bush: I’ve been talking with a European promoter about doing some shows after the holidays. I don’t have any definite info right now, but fans can check the website stanbush.com to see what’s happening. I’ve been asked to appear in Australia next summer, and I plan to keep appearing in the U.S. as well.
Seibertron.com: Since you mentioned Europe, you have become a bit of a "Hasslehoff" over there, meaning your European fanbase is astoundingly large. Do you have any thoughts as to why?
Stan: I’m not sure why, but it kind of took off during the late eighties when I did the "Stan Bush & Barrage” album with “The Touch”. I did tours in Germany and surrounding countries, and kept making albums. It was cool to have such devoted fans.
Seibertron.com: Speaking of "The Touch," it has become your signature song. When you first recorded it, did you have any inkling that would be the case?
Stan: No, it took us completely by surprise. Lenny Macaluso and I originally wrote “The Touch” for the Stallone movie “Cobra” and then found out it was going to be in a cartoon movie about robots. We were like, ‘what’? Anyway, it turned out to be quite a phenomenon!
Seibertron.com: "The Touch" has been re-released multiple times on some of your more recent albums. Your other big song from The Transformers soundtrack
was "Dare," and some TF fans enjoy that song just as much as "The Touch." Do you have any plans on doing a remake of "Dare" and including it on a future album?
Stan: “Dare” is also a great song, although I didn’t actually write it. It’s been suggested that we put “Dare” on Rock Band. “The Touch” will be coming out on Rock Band fairly soon. I think you know this but my other song “Til All Are One” is featured in the new Activision game “Transformers: War for Cybertron”. I’m working on a couple of new ‘action’ songs as well.
Seibertron.com: You mentioned your website earlier. For those who have not visited it, or at least not visited it recently, what kinds of cool things can they expect to find at Stanbush.com?
Stan: Well, the new website is set up to be more easily updated, and I’m also now on Facebook and Twitter, and we have a YouTube account. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback on the new site.
Seibertron.com: What are the biggest differences in the music industry now and how it was when you first started?
Stan: Well, the industry used to be controlled by the major record labels and radio syndication. Now it’s anything and everything on the Internet. The overall quality of music perhaps is a bit lower, but people have more choices than ever.
Seibertron.com: For someone who has never heard your music before, how would you describe it and who are some of your influences?
Stan: I’m still an eighties guy. Early influences would include Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and I also liked the Motown stuff, and later, bands like Foreigner.
Seibertron.com: Having said that, If you could play on stage with any one musician or group living or
dead, who would it be and why?
Stan: I think Jimmy Page (back in the day) was probably one of the most creative musicians ever! I’ve always been a huge Paul McCartney fan.
Seibertron.com: What are the biggest differences in the music industry now and how it was when you first started?
Stan: Well, the industry used to be controlled by the major record labels and radio syndication. Now it’s anything and everything on the Internet. The overall quality of music perhaps is a bit lower, but people have more choices than ever.
Seibertron.com: What do you consider the biggest honor or achievement of your career?
Stan: Winning an Emmy Award was definitely one of the biggest moments in my career. It was for best original song for television.
Seibertron.com: I'm sure your fans have been vocal to you as to what some of their favorite Stan Bush songs are, but what's your personal favorite?
Stan: I really like “I’ll Never Fall” from the “In This Life” album. From the new album I like “Dream the Dream” and “Never Hold Back”.
Seibertron.com: How much do your own personal experiences factor into your song lyrics?
Stan: Many of my ‘go for it’ ‘believe in yourself’ songs have an uplifting message that resonates with my outlook on life. Each of us makes our own reality. Some of the loves songs are true and some are fictional, but have situations that happen to most of us.
Seibertron.com: Stan, thanks so much for your time today. We have time for one more question. You mentioned your new album "Dream the Dream." How does it compare to past albums you have made?
Stan: I think the “Dream the Dream” album has reached a new level of sophistication of songwriting and production. My producer Holger Fath really does a great job with arrangements, guitars and keyboards. As a writer I think I’m still learning though. I guess we all keep learning in life. Anyway, I really appreciate the support! Please visit stanbush.com!
Comicbookresources.com have posted an interview with High Moon studios, the developers of Transformers War for Cybertron.
CBR News: Matt, what do you feel are the central elements to the Transformers experience that you wanted to incorporate into “War for Cybertron?”
Matt Tieger: Selfishly, I wanted to make the game I have been waiting 25 years to play. The team at High Moon Studios are all huge gamers as well as Transformers fans. Early on we committed to an old-school nostalgic vision of Cybertron that was true to the spirit of the enormous Transformers history. Creating an excellent shooter was central to that vision because if the foundation wasn’t strong the entire game falls apart. This meant incorporating transformation as a key component to the player’s arsenal.
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!
(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.
Seibertron.com would like to thank everyone at High Moon and Activision for making this possible.
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