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New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated

Transformers News: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated

Friday, April 26th, 2013 2:17PM CDT

Category: Toy News
Posted by: El Duque   Views: 15,377

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Gizmodo has posted another Transformers related article, the subject this time: "Why have Transformers become so complicated?" According Hasbro's Senior Design Director Josh Lamb we have Michael Bay to thank, more specifically the movie franchise. However, they do state there is an effort to get back to simpler more intuitive transformations. Click here to read the full article.

"The reference style is so phenomenal in the movie tie-ins, we got more complicated than we had to," Lamb says. "Right now, there's a big effort to get back to simple; and more than simple, intuitive.


Bay and ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) work it pretty well," Lamb says, "But they also do some magic." In the movie, a car's parts could fold into infinitely small sections. Tiny pieces of interlocking plastic? Not so much.
Credit(s): Gizmodo
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Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482319)
Posted by Manterax Prime on April 26th, 2013 @ 2:46pm CDT
I can understand wanting to get back to simpler designs, but pair that with simpler transformations and you defeat the movement. Sure the movie toys may not be the best out there, and their designs may be over the top complex, but at least they gave us satisfying transformations. I love them for that and I hope next year's movie figures give me that as well.

Just don't give them those piece of shit gimmick weapons. We buy them for the figure, not the accessory.
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482322)
Posted by Noideaforaname on April 26th, 2013 @ 3:01pm CDT
No surprise there.

While Movie complexity got way out of hand, especially during RotF (Jetfire, Mixmaster, Blazemaster, Arcee, Leader Optimus *shudders*), I kinda think they're getting too simple to compensate. I'm not liking how, with many of the Beast Hunter figures, you can easily tell the exact (or at least close enough) transformation for even the Voyagers at just a glance. Thankfully the Generations aren't like that; perhaps not coincidentally the BH are more kid-oriented and the Generations more older fan-oriented, hmm...

RiD (the original series, with Sky-Byte and pals) had some really complex figures, too. I wonder what prompted that?
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482323)
Posted by STngAR on April 26th, 2013 @ 3:02pm CDT
Hopefully RTRON.COM gets some credit for their picture.

I have my views on the movie toys and I hope the next movie toys take a different path.
:MAXIMAL:
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482327)
Posted by Ravage XK on April 26th, 2013 @ 3:29pm CDT
Simpler also means cheaper and faster to churn out.

I quite like a complicated transformation, simple transformations seem somewhat lack lustre.
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482328)
Posted by Lord_Onslaught on April 26th, 2013 @ 3:29pm CDT
I love the transformations of the movie figures, but if they are wanting to go back to simplistic transformations, I am not sure. I think they should stick with the transformations of the Classics, Universe, Generations lines.

I will take articulation over simplicity any day.
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482331)
Posted by sabrigami on April 26th, 2013 @ 3:34pm CDT
I think they were a little too complicated in the past. what matters to me is how fun the transformation is. Another thing I look for is if the past stay in place. nothing worse than playing with your fig and the little bits keep popping out of place, I think the recent Prime and BH line is striking a nice balance for me.
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482339)
Posted by CaptainMagic on April 26th, 2013 @ 3:52pm CDT
I can get behind the idea of less difficult, more intuitive transformations, but that doesn't necessarily mean they have to sacrifice complexity. A transformation can have a ton of steps that all make sense and are easy to accomplish, yet are still satisfying, so long as you don't have parts that collide or need to very carefully squeeze past each other so they don't snap off. Unfortunately, the PRID toys had exactly the opposite approach, where there would be just as many problematic spots and difficulties getting stuff to fit as the movie toys, but they accomplished it in fewer steps. I guess that's a type of progress, but it feels like we're going the wrong way.
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482341)
Posted by MINDVVIPE on April 26th, 2013 @ 3:59pm CDT
No more stupid weapon or light/sound gimmicks, and look towards Prime Vehicon for a good example of great transformation in all areas: Fun, simplicity/complexity balance, and genius engineering.

On the other hand though, WFC Prime has an awesomely complicated transformation, and looks great in both modes (to me anyway) while still being accurate to the game model.
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482349)
Posted by Burn on April 26th, 2013 @ 4:24pm CDT
MINDVVIPE wrote:No more stupid weapon or light/sound gimmicks,


ugh. That would be nice because light/sound gimmicks take up space which could be used as part of the transformation. So many figures which could have been great have been made otherwise because of the need to dazzle kids.
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482357)
Posted by Shelf Space on April 26th, 2013 @ 4:47pm CDT
Noideaforaname wrote:Movie complexity got way out of hand, especially during RotF (Arcee)


I hate that damn toy, I hate it so much... My daughter's super into Arcee (any girl Transformer really) so I got a bunch of 'em and that one in particular is prob one of the worst Transformers I've ever owned. And complexity-wise isn't the issue even though her transformation is shit, the damn thing can't stand up good, her arms are all retarded... ARRGH! Got me hot just thinkin about it. :BANG_HEAD:

Worst. Combiner. EVER!
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482376)
Posted by Rated X on April 26th, 2013 @ 6:30pm CDT
Im probally in the minority, but I hate complex transformations. If I wanted a puzzle Id buy a Rubix Cube. If I wanted a challenge Id play todays video games. I enjoy looking at the figures displayed alot more than transforming them. I like the way classics figures transform. Nice and simple can even transform them after drinking a six pack of beer or more.
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482377)
Posted by MINDVVIPE on April 26th, 2013 @ 6:36pm CDT
Rated X wrote:Im probally in the minority, but I hate complex transformations. If I wanted a puzzle Id buy a Rubix Cube. If I wanted a challenge Id play todays video games. I enjoy looking at the figures displayed alot more than transforming them. I like the way classics figures transform. Nice and simple can even transform them after drinking a six pack of beer or more.

I was trying to transform warbot defender while I was hammered one time, took me a good twenty minutes. :lol:
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482398)
Posted by Shockwave7 on April 26th, 2013 @ 7:46pm CDT
Look, the G1 toys may be 'beloved', but let's be frank here. They're bricks. Back then they didn't have the know-how or the technology to do ball/socket joints, bicep/thigh swivels, waist rotation, and all the other things that make the contemporary figures so much better. And I for one do NOT want to 'go back' to those days before those existed.

Most of the G1 figures didn't even have bendable arms, or knees. Heck, you were lucky if the lazy-@$$ designers would even bother letting you separate the legs instead of leaving them welded together, forcing you to 'hop' your figure around. And don't even get me started on how many of them simply told you to flip the vehicle over on it's back, revealing crudely sculpted robot-shaped bits. And THAT was supposed to be the 'transformation'.

Why in the world would anyone WANT to go back to that? If you're a collector, that is. Sure, if you're a fat, lazy, el-cheapo Hasbro designer, the idea of stone age transformers probably sounds like a dream come true. For me - not so much.

Certainly, I don't like a figure transformation to be so complicated that it becomes a chore. But with the 2007-2010 Generations figures, they hit a great balance. I say KEEP IT THERE.

The more recent figures bear the mark of the bad economy. The figures are thinner, more hollow, the plastic is flimsy and brittle. All signs of a company trying to cut corners in bad times. They tried to fool us in 2011-2012 by making the figures smaller and charging more for them. That didn't work - we still hated them because they sucked. Now they're trying to fool us by making restoring the figures to the size they should have been, but they're making the figures hollow now.

Well, I understand trying to make do in bad times. But for the love of Pete, DON'T bring back the G1 style 'Brickformers'.
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482404)
Posted by TulioDude on April 26th, 2013 @ 8:53pm CDT
There is nothing wrong with having complex Transformations.
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482409)
Posted by Valandar on April 26th, 2013 @ 9:18pm CDT
Unless you want the average kid in the target market, who buys 99.9% of these figures, to be able to actually transform them without constantly referring to the instructions. Heck, some of the more recent figures -I- have to frequently double-check the instructions.

Complex and intuitive? Wonderful! Complex and "Where does this part go? Do I this bit before or after that bit?" Not so wonderful.
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482412)
Posted by Eagleblaster on April 26th, 2013 @ 9:24pm CDT
I agree that the movie figures are difficult to transform so its a good thing that they are planning to make transformations easier for us. Cause some figures like dead end, battle blades bumblebee and leader Optimus were ridiculous. A person like me needs the instructions and to watch some YouTube videos while tranforming just to still take a half an hour to transform it.

And lets not even mention if you get stuck between robot mode and alt mode.
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482417)
Posted by gavinfuzzy on April 26th, 2013 @ 9:39pm CDT
I don't mind the look and transformations of the movie stuff.

Yeah, I actually do like all the movie designs.
But Hasbro has been doing the movie / classics stuff one after another, so I guess it's only when it comes to the movie figures then they have to make it so complex.
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482438)
Posted by welcometothedarksyde on April 26th, 2013 @ 10:44pm CDT
This article is poorly researched. Sure, when you see G1 and the Movies it's easy to conclude that Michael Bay is responsible for complex transformations. However let's not forget that complexity often runs in cycles. The G1 era was uber-simple, then came the Beast Era that had extremely complex (and occasionally frustrating) transformations. The Unicron Trilogy returned us to simplicity, then the movies again leaped the complexity. It peaked at ROTF and has simplified since.
The fact is that the article's writer only looked at the original Transformers, and then the most recent ones. He didn't bother to look at the full timeline. Actually some Beast Wars toys are infamous for their fiddly-ness (Tigerhawk), and yet we're getting hung up over ROTF Optimus Prime that is not that hard to transform. As for my opinion, I like complexity if there is a good pay-off.
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482449)
Posted by kronos6948 on April 26th, 2013 @ 11:18pm CDT
Complex transformations are fine as far as I'm concerned, as long as the alt mode still looks like what it's supposed to be with little to no robot kibble anywhere. Classics Ironhide is a prime example of how a complex transformation should NOT be done, imo. Too many jagged lines running through the body of the alt mode, and Ironhide ends up looking like he's walking with a bad back and can't stand up straight. Then you have the frustration of Masterpiece Megatron. Parts coming off every time you try to transform him (at least they're not breaking). From the waist up, Megs looks great, but he's got some skinny wickets. It's like they designed him to be half anime/half G1 toy. Granted, they tried to make his legs thicker, but the way they did it was too convoluted and ended up not staying properly.

Bayformers have their difficulties too, but I do have to say some of the ROTF figures look great, and get even better looking with some paint apps. Leader class Optimus Prime (after removing the blades and adding some paint) is the best of the bunch, followed by Jetfire. Speaking of Jetfire, transforming him gives me the willies. I'm always afraid I'll break a tab. I'm just glad I've only transformed him twice.
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482454)
Posted by kronos6948 on April 26th, 2013 @ 11:20pm CDT
Complex transformations are fine as far as I'm concerned, as long as the alt mode still looks like what it's supposed to be with little to no robot kibble anywhere. Classics Ironhide is a prime example of how a complex transformation should NOT be done, imo. Too many jagged lines running through the body of the alt mode, and Ironhide ends up looking like he's walking with a bad back and can't stand up straight. Then you have the frustration of Masterpiece Megatron. Parts coming off every time you try to transform him (at least they're not breaking). From the waist up, Megs looks great, but he's got some skinny wickets. It's like they designed him to be half anime/half G1 toy. Granted, they tried to make his legs thicker, but the way they did it was too convoluted and ended up not staying properly.

Bayformers have their difficulties too, but I do have to say some of the ROTF figures look great, and get even better looking with some paint apps. Leader class Optimus Prime (after removing the blades and adding some paint) is the best of the bunch, followed by Jetfire. Speaking of Jetfire, transforming him gives me the willies. I'm always afraid I'll break a tab. I'm just glad I've only transformed him twice.
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482528)
Posted by KNM2012 on April 27th, 2013 @ 7:01am CDT
Why is it that only Michael Bay made it complicated? The whole franchise was a combination of him and Stephen Spielberg. I remember this because they said from day 1 that there will be "no cheating" when it comes to the transformations - As in the fact that despite the fact they come from a technologically advanced race, they are not allowed to change sizes and/or specific shapes. :lol:

Besides, to this day, I still hear rumors that the Japanese (Masterpiece) MP-5 Megatron is still the most complicated toy in terms of transforming. So yeah... As long as we do not mention him to Gizmodo, they will blame him for these fugly, complicated toys. :lol:
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482750)
Posted by gantzrunner on April 28th, 2013 @ 12:32am CDT
I love how bay gets blamed for everything lol how about Transmetals? Tell me you were able to just look at Rampage it it all made sense, or the alternators...or *shudder* RID Ultra Magnus? Not getting him to robot mode, but back to truck mode was infuriating, requiring EXACT placement of his parts. Sludgeslinger was confusing too, the way his parts rotated and reversed. All I can say is classics is perfect, prime not bad, and DOTM have to be the worst figures I ever bought hands down. I loved the first 2 movie lines (ROTF WAS insanely complex but that was fun) and I'm hoping the 4th movie line is way better than the third in terms of staying true to designs and level of complexity so I dont have as much buyers remorse this time lmao
oh yeah and :michaelbay:
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482752)
Posted by fenrir72 on April 28th, 2013 @ 12:41am CDT
They give Bay too much credit. Btw, I'm not a Bay hater its just that Hasbro and Paramount are the final arbiters for the new design. If Hasbro didn't approve it, then the look would habeen a lot different.
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482762)
Posted by noctorro on April 28th, 2013 @ 2:35am CDT
Rated X wrote:Im probally in the minority, but I hate complex transformations. If I wanted a puzzle Id buy a Rubix Cube. If I wanted a challenge Id play todays video games. I enjoy looking at the figures displayed alot more than transforming them. I like the way classics figures transform. Nice and simple can even transform them after drinking a six pack of beer or more.


With you here.

I like simple transformations with good articulation more then complex transformations.
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482886)
Posted by DTR69 on April 28th, 2013 @ 2:49pm CDT
Shockwave7 wrote:Look, the G1 toys may be 'beloved', but let's be frank here. They're bricks. Back then they didn't have the know-how or the technology to do ball/socket joints, bicep/thigh swivels, waist rotation, and all the other things that make the contemporary figures so much better. And I for one do NOT want to 'go back' to those days before those existed.

Most of the G1 figures didn't even have bendable arms, or knees. Heck, you were lucky if the lazy-@$$ designers would even bother letting you separate the legs instead of leaving them welded together, forcing you to 'hop' your figure around. And don't even get me started on how many of them simply told you to flip the vehicle over on it's back, revealing crudely sculpted robot-shaped bits. And THAT was supposed to be the 'transformation'.

Why in the world would anyone WANT to go back to that? If you're a collector, that is. Sure, if you're a fat, lazy, el-cheapo Hasbro designer, the idea of stone age transformers probably sounds like a dream come true. For me - not so much.

Certainly, I don't like a figure transformation to be so complicated that it becomes a chore. But with the 2007-2010 Generations figures, they hit a great balance. I say KEEP IT THERE.

The more recent figures bear the mark of the bad economy. The figures are thinner, more hollow, the plastic is flimsy and brittle. All signs of a company trying to cut corners in bad times. They tried to fool us in 2011-2012 by making the figures smaller and charging more for them. That didn't work - we still hated them because they sucked. Now they're trying to fool us by making restoring the figures to the size they should have been, but they're making the figures hollow now.

Well, I understand trying to make do in bad times. But for the love of Pete, DON'T bring back the G1 style 'Brickformers'.


You and others are missing the point. Simpler transformations does not mean going back to G1 bricks. You won't even notice it when the toys are made. They mean the over the top transformations on screen.
For a start the first transformers, didn't have the legs welded together, the orginal transformers like Prime Megatron Soundwave, all had quite good limbs and articulation for the time, and that wa sin the 70s before they became transformers. Prime even had bendy knees ut that was removed in later production runs to reduce costs. The brick transformers were all designed, after Transformers had become established. The brick transformers were designed with health and safety in mind and also money. The original 70s designs were actualy more advanced than the 80s/90s but that was more to do with money than technology.
G1 transformers were bricks due to production and other limitations. Some of the most complicate dtransformers toys are actualy G1. Masterpiece figures are all g1 and they are very complicated. G1 designs have just as complicated designs. The translation between on screen and toy has a process of redesigning, and costs limit what can be done, also look at the variations of movie prime, you hav ethe basic an ddeluxe versions, all the same Movie character but with different levels of trans formation.

G! MASTERPIECE IS THE MOST COMPLICATED TRANSFORMATION. SIMPLER ON CREEN DESIGNS DOES NOT MEAN BRICK DESIGNS. BRICK DESIGNS ARE PRODUCTION LIMITATIONS. G1 WAS NEVER MENT TO BE BRICKS, THE BRICKS WERE A RESULT OF PRODUCTION.
Re: New Gizmodo Transformers Article: Michael Bay Is Why Transformers Got So Complicated (1482899)
Posted by craggy on April 28th, 2013 @ 3:28pm CDT
I've quite enjoyed the previous two Gizmodo looks at TFs but the headline on this one is a joke. Reading the full this is even worse. They make out like the Camaro Bumblebee is something special because it looks like an actual car. Plenty of the G1 toys are designed after specific vehicles (although Hasbro didn't play any licensing for the designs back then, just straight up knocked them off from the likes of Porsche, Corvette, Lamborghini, etc) and a lot of them had good robot modes for the time.

Complexity of transformation is definitely cyclical as others have mentioned in this thread before me. Designs and styles have evolved over the years. Some of the Beast Era toys are as complex as the live action movie toys. (some are uber-simple as well, but then so are movie Legends/Cyberverse etc)

Take a look at RID. Not TFPrime RID but the Car Robots line. Megatron was has 10 modes that vary in their ability to successfully look like the things they're meant to, sure, but it's at least as complicated as a lot of more recent toys. Ultra/God Magnus and Optimus Prime (and their combination into Omega Prime) are incredibly complicated, and manage to pull off their various modes whilst including electronics and looking like actual Transformers robots, something that a lot of movie-era toys don't.

There are still TFs that are made with very simple transformations, and some that are more complicated. Neither is necessarily an indication that they'll be a fun toy to play with, or look like their respective media counterpart all that much. I passed on the Animated line because I had no love for the art style, or rather the way it conflicted with my existing collection, but I can't say enough good things about how great the conversion from the cartoon models into physical transforming robots is.

For me, it's not how many steps it takes to transform a figure, but how fun it is. Some TFs I can look at and guess all the steps correctly first time, but that doesn't mean they'll be less enjoyable for me. It's sometimes fun to discover a new way of doing something in a transformation, and I do appreciate that, but its not all I look for. Cyberverse TFP Cliffjumper is a great example of a somewhat simple transformation but it's fun to do and works very well in capturing the character in both modes as well as allowing plenty of poseability. I can't ask for much more than that.

I think the only thing Bay and his films can really be credited with are bringing exposure and money to the TF franchise, and that's appreciated, because its probably the reason we've got so many of the good TFs of recent years, but the designers can and have done just as good, and just as complicated (and the two are completely different, but not mutually exclusive, ideas) before, and will do them later as well.


I think it's worth noting that the cycle of increasingly complex transformations and then the reset to quite basic ones, is likely Hasbro's way of getting new, younger fans into the toys as well as keeping the attention of those who're growing older. They hook a generation with the easy ones, that they can play with easily, and then grow the challenge in the designs more until the point where they'll either stick with the franchise as many of us have done throughout its history, or they'll move onto other stuff altogether. Then bring back the simpler style for the next generation.
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