Transformers Game Event - June 6th 2007 Quick jump (in this page): [aanchor=newstills]NEW In Game Still Shots[/aanchor] | [aanchor=video]Trailers and Video[/aanchor] | [aanchor=stills]In Game Still Shots[/aanchor] | [aanchor=boxart]Boxart Covers[/aanchor] [floatright][/floatright]Recently, I, along with a few other Transformers related fan sites, had an opportunity to visit an Activision sponsored event in Santa Monica, California, to test out the Transformers the Movie Video Game. The day started with a group breakfast where we had the chance to sit with Neil Wood of Step3, Monika Madrid from Activision PR and Rob, Transformers game Developer for the Nintendo DS. This gave us all an excellent opportunity to meet people involved with the creation and marketing of the Transformers games. As the breakfast went on we were told what we could expect, which games would be present and who we would get to meet. Around noon, we were brought into a conference room where we were prepped on the games and given a chance to meet the other fans who were present for the event. In the room was a Transformers poster with the signatures of Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Peter Cullen and Frank Welker. Sadly for us, the posters were for show only. We were then brought into the main room where the game play was going to take place. Before we were split up to test out the various iterations of the game, we were treated to the final opening video for the Transformers Game. The animation was done by a studio called Blur, who was also responsible for the highly detailed CGI cut scenes in Marvel Ultimate Alliance. The video opens on Cybertron, with a voice over by Optimus Prime. We see that Cybertron is in ruins and that war is widespread. Prime goes on to explain the nature of the war, and the importance of the Allspark. The video shows Frenzy digging through a pile of spare parts, and then pans over to the back of Megatron. The video fades to show the Allspark heading to Earth. Then the video has a few quick jumps introducing the Autobots and Decepticons in vehicle forms, slowly revealing their robot forms. We then witness quick cuts of various battles, led by a fight between Optimus Prime and Megatron. All the fighting is taking place in a city setting. We then see nightfall as Optimus and Megatron continue to battle before cutting to the Transformers logo. The cut scene left the crowd in awe, and we requested to see it a few more times. After the viewing of the video, we were given a demo by one of the developers to show how the game plays. The developers showed the Xbox 360 version and started as Bumblebee. He gave us a quick walk through, showing off the character model, which is built off of the actual ILM model from the film, the destruction and physics engine and a quick look at the story mode. They also pointed out that some of the drones, such as swindle, were getting actual toys because Hasbro really liked the idea of cross promotion between the game and toy line. While driving around, the developer pointed out some of the nice easter eggs for G1 fans. You will notice things like billboards and signs with nods to G1 characters such as Seaspray and Hound. I won’t spoil them here. He then flipped over to another 360 and showed us a level where you play as Jazz. This really demonstrated the scale of the game as Jazz was facing off against Starscream, and then Blackout. The developer then let us know we were in for a treat. He flipped over to a third Xbox 360. We were told that the game had a lot of unlockable content. Two of the unlockable characters will be none other than G1 Optimus Prime and G1 Megatron, with completely new models. We were then shown a mission as the developer played through a level as G1 Prime. The model looked fantastic. He wasn’t based off any specific incarnation of G1 Prime, looking like a more refined and detailed version of the Classics 2-pack Optimus Prime. As the play progressed we were treated to another surprise. Shockwave makes an appearance as a triple changer. Shcokwave turns into a canon, a helicopter and a robot mode. This model was really impressive, and fits very well into the move style. The head was spot on to the G1 Shockwave, with the body looking like an updated version of his old form. Everyone seemed to agree that this Shockwave was really deserving of a toy. As this demo was finished, we were assured that more characters will pop up as unlockables, including the movie characters in G1 color schemes. We were then broken up into groups of 3 to test out the various versions of the game. The versions present were the Nintendo DS, Sony PSP, Nintendo Wii, Sony PS3 and the Microsoft Xbox360. The PS2 and PC versions were not present at this event, but are still scheduled to ship alongside their counterparts. What was really nice is that each station had a game developer you could bounce questions off of, or ask advice on how to deal with scenarios in the game. I had a chance to try out every version of the game that was present. I will list them in the order I played them in. Nintendo DS [floatleft][/floatleft]As everyone is likely aware, the DS version is broken into two different games, the Autobot and Decepticon games. Both versions will play the same, but the story will vary depending on which version you play through. The DS version will be a very different experience than the console versions. Instead of playing solely as the main characters, such as Optimus Prime or Starscream, you get to basically create your own Transformer. I started off on the Autobot version, where I booted up the game and picked the name of my Robot. Once in the game, my first objective was to learn the control scheme. The game leads you through a short tutorial, and then it’s off to find your first vehicle mode. As you traverse through the first mission, you will encounter various drones who are trying to destroy the city or locate the Allspark. My play time was limited to the first mission. Like I said before, there are two different DS games available. The Autobot game will follow the story of the movie rather closely. The Decepticon version, however, broadens the story a bit more. We were told the ending to the Decepticon game is rather shocking and one that players and fans will be talking about. Also, the Autobot and Decepticon version will each have level unique to their games. The Autobots will have access to Antarctic levels, while the Decepticons will have the Desert levels. The Nintendo DS game looks pretty fantastic, especially for a DS game. The animation is really smooth and the characters are very recognizable. The levels are large and will be even larger as you get later in the game. Unfortunately, the environments are not as destructible as the console versions, not that I expected that on the DS version. But you can still pick up objects and use them as weapons, including street signs and such. One of the most impressive aspects is the amount of speech in the game. Every character is well represented. The voice actors from the console versions share their roles in the DS version. Even your new character is fully voiced. The speech samples are fantastic, with very little, if any, distortion. The touch screen is used very sparsely, with it being limited to menu navigation and a touch spot to transform. This doesn’t detract from the game though, as the controls were really tight and the buttons very responsive. The characters have melee and range attacks. Some enemies defend against certain attacks, but are more vulnerable to others. This offers up a nice change of pace so that it was impossible to use the same attacks over and over again to defeat your enemies. The best feature of the DS game, though, is the ability to continually shape your new character as the game progresses. As you come across new vehicles, you can scan and store that vehicle to use as an Alt mode. And the Alt Modes can be switched, so when you find one you like, you can always go back to it. And once you find your favorite alt mode, you will be able to customize the color scheme to suit your tastes. The DS version is shaping up to be the sleeper hit in my opinion. The sheer scale of the game was just too impressive to ignore, and it was plain fun to boot. Nintendo Wii [floatright] [/floatright]The Wii version was quite an experience for me. I’ve never been as enamored with the system as everyone else seems to be. So this was my first time with a prolonged game experience on the Wii. For the Wii version, I was in control of Starscream as he attacks a military base. The Wii-mote acts as the pointing device, moving it aims the reticule, moving it to the edge of the screen turns your character. Walking was handled with the nunchuck. Waving the nunchuck around led to melee attacks. Transformation was handled with the d-pad by pressing down. The Wii-mote trigger and A buttons were your primary and secondary weapons. The trigger on the nunchuck was a lock on for a target in your sights, and the C button allowed you to pick up an object. Once an object was picked up, you could use the nunchuck in a throwing motion to toss the object at an enemy. Overall I felt the control scheme was responsive, but wish transformation was handles more interactively than a button press. The good thing is the game is very playable with the Wii-mote, especially when flying around as Starscream, which was a joy to play and watch. By the end of my time with the Wii version, I was smashing and shooting targets like a pro. The graphics were well done on the Wii version. While the 360 and PS3 versions look far and away better, the Wii version is impressive in its own right. Starscream looked really fantastic. The character model was nicely detailed, and his movements were really fluid. The environments were nice, but suffered a bit from pop-in buildings. But the texturing was nice and the environments were as destructive as could be. Buildings crumbled under heavy fire, leaving chunks and debris for me to use as weapons. What really caught my eye was the amount of on screen enemies to fight. I had to deal with air and ground assault from the military, which was really tough at time. Things became even more explosive when Autobot drones began to show up and lay a hefty beat-down. The game certainly didn’t lack in the difficulty department. The Audio was hard to hear in the location I was in. There was a good amount of foot traffic, with people playing the handheld versions behind me. Wii owners should really be happy. I was assured the Wii version would feature the same in box content as the other console versions, and that the PS2 version would be nearly identical to the Wii, save the control setup. PS3 [floatleft][/floatleft]Next up for me was the PS3 version. Right away the wow factor kicked into overdrive. Before I even picked up the controller, I simply marveled at the games graphics for a moment. With the PS3 version, I got to play as Barricade as he tries to locate Sam and interrogate him as to the whereabouts of the Allspark. The Console versions have a mixed linear and non-linear format. The game progresses as levels, with a different character playable for each level. Each level, though, is broken up into large areas, in this case a city, where there are markers to begin different missions within the level. These missions can be played in any order and can be replayed at will. The first mission I start is a car chase with Bumblebee as he speeds away with Sam and Mikeala. The car physics were really noticeable right away. The car movements are responsive and you can do all kinds of maneuvers. As I chased down Bumblebee I could fire rockets or machine gun fire at him to slow him down, all the while causing mass havoc with the exiting traffic, as cars and people swerved and jumped to avoid getting bowled over. You can also put your sirens on while playing as Barricade, which just adds an extra level of fun to the chases. After that mission was finished, I decided to just roam the city and blow stuff up. The more I destroyed buildings, the stronger the law enforcement became. You start off by getting pestered by police, but if you keep on destroying, then the military shows up followed by some Autobots. I then moved onto another mission, where I had to fight Bumblebee one on one as Bumblebee tried to protect Sam and Mikeala. This involved using different tactics to get close, from throwing a bus, to pouncing from a nearby roof, to just out and out brawling. The games graphics really shine on the PS3 and 360. The character models are highly detailed, and looks like near exact duplicates of their movie counterparts. Barricades transformation is quick, but not too quick. There’s nothing like getting up to top speed, hitting a ramp and transforming mid air to pounce on an enemy. The environments are almost completely destructible. The more things that get blown up, the more weapons become available to pick up and use against enemies. Fences, poles, trees, cars and debris were all easy to pick up and swing around. The destruction engine is something that really needs to be seen first hand to appreciate. The simple act of walking around leaves cracks and holes in the ground. Also, if you destroy a specific area, it will stay destroyed throughout the play through of that level, even if you take on a few different missions. One nice surprise was the ability to latch onto walls and climb up them. This came in handy when battling Bumblebee, as it allowed for some really nice air attacks. While not present in the build I was playing, I was assured that sixaxis controls would be present, and would really come in handy during flying missions. The lack of rumble was noticeable, and actually detracted from the experience, but that’s purely the fault of the PS3, and not the programmers. On the audio front, the game sounded fantastic. The music appeared to be based on the score that was heard in the trailers, and the sound effects were spot on. This was also my first chance to hear Keith David as Barricade. He was clearly a perfect fit, as his voice was recognizable, but tweaked just enough to make him sound extremely evil. Overall, the PS3 version is coming along very nicely, and it appears as if the 360 and PS3 versions will be near identical (save for controls and achievements). Xbox360 [floatright][/floatright]As I sat down the Xbox360 version of the game, I had a lot of questions for the developers. Since the Xbox360 has the most developed online service of the current generation of systems, I have high hopes for what that could mean for the Transformers game. As I pled the game, I asked about downloadable content, and what we could expect. I was told that themes and gamerpics were a good possibility. It was also mentioned that there would be other downloadable content as well, but that specifics couldn’t be divulged at the moment. One thing I was disappointed to hear was that no demo was planned for the game. This went for both the Xbox360 and the PS3. Though I do believe a PC demo is in the works. After all of the questions were out of the way, I got into the game itself. On the Xbox 360, I got to play as Bumblebee as he searches for Sam, and tries to protect him against Barricade. A nice touch for Bumblebee is that you start your mission prior to the movie story, with some nice cut scenes to explain where Bumblebee picked up his alt mode, and how he first learned about Sam. As I played through the level, I tried out a few missions. The first had me in a fight against Barricade as he attempted to attack Sam and Mikeala. The fight was broken up into three different scenarios, a one on one brawl, a car chase and then another brawl. Each sequence was strung together by some fantastic and humorous cut scenes. When this mission was finished, I moved on to another that saw Bumblebee fighting multiple Decepticon protoforms that were crash landing into the city. This was a particularly exciting mission, as I raced from crash site to crash site taking on more powerful drones. The crashing protofroms would leave huge holes, which was a nice visual touch. I ended the session riding around the city, jumping off ramps and transforming mid air, or mid ride, all the while fighting various drones that would appear. For those with a close attention to detail, you will notice Bumblebee transforms almost exactly as he does in the trailer for the film. As I was playing along, I noticed how excellent the dynamic lighting was in this game. I really didn’t notice it on the PS3 version, as I was playing a night level, so I’m not sure if they will look the same on each system. Regardless the game looked, in my opinion, the best on the 360. There’s not much more to say about the visuals that weren’t mentioned in the PS3 preview. The controls felt very responsive, and the rumble was used to great effect here. Each foot step, each punch and each rocket blast resonated with a very satisfying rumble of the controller. Bumblebee had the same ability to climb surfaces as Barricade did. Like the PS3 version, this games audio was excellent. The PS3 and 360 versions are really shaping up to be the games that Transformers fans have been clamoring for with excellent graphics and control, as well as enough nods to G1 to satisfy almost anyone. PSP [floatleft][/floatleft]The last version I got to try was the PSP version. This version offers a lot of bonus material for fans. There are over 20 unlockable characters to play as. It was noted that, at one time, there were over 50 planned. As I started the game, I was given the opportunity to choose who I wanted to play as, allowing me to play through the game in almost any order. This build allowed only a few selectable characters, so I started off as Bumblebee. Bumblebee had the familiar mission of tracking down Sam. I start in a large city, driving around to a bit before encountering some Decepticon drones. I fought through a few waves of drones before my time expired, as we had to move on to the last part of the day. PSP owners should be quite pleased with the effort put forth for this version of the game. The graphics were detailed and fluid, with some smooth animations. The transformations weren’t as detailed at the console versions, but were still impressive. The environments were not as destructible or interactive as the console versions. The game itself is more centered on robot to robot combat and speed. The way the game is played is also quite different than the other versions. While still a third person shooter, the camera is always positioned behind the on screen Transformer. The lack of a second analog stick provided some challenges. However, the controls become easier, even after only a few minutes of play. The triangle and x buttons allow the player to look up and down. The circle and o buttons acted as attack and pickup/throw. The transformation was handled by pressing both shoulder buttons. It sounds tricky, but it was actually quite easy to grasp. The audio was crisp and clear, with a similar music set as the console versions. Speech was also in abundance as well, with Cullen playing Optimus Prime to perfection as he does in every other iteration of the game. The PSP version has set itself up to be a nice companion piece to the console versions. It’s a very different experience compared to the console and DS versions, and offers fans a plethora of playable and unlockable characters. Q and A [floatright][/floatright]After we had all had a chance to play the games, we were moved into another room. As we entered the room, we were shocked to see none other than Peter Cullen and Tom DeSanto sitting at a table with the game developers for a little question and answer session with those in attendance. Not much new info was revealed by DeSanto or Cullen, but they both talked about their experience with the film. DeSanto was sure to mention that he hopes to keep Transformers around as an ongoing franchise, well beyond a trilogy. Cullen thanked all the Transformers fans for their very vocal support for him as Optimus Prime. He said it made a difference, and that it touched him deeply. He was clearly emotional as he thanked us for our support. Some of the best info came from the Activision developers. It was noted that the continued leaks by the fan sites actually helped them in developing the games. They would see a robot design, or piece of info on a fan site, then call up the Paramount or Michael Bay and ask why they hadn’t gotten that info or picture to use in the game. They also said that the continually monitored fan sites to see reaction to things, and it made a big difference in developing the game. It was mentioned again that downloadable content will play into the future of this game, though no specific system was mentioned. We were informed that the console games took roughly 18 months to create and that the DS version took 8 months, as that team, from Vicarious Visions, came onto the project later than Travelers Tales. Activision mentioned that they are sponsoring the Robot Chicken Star Wars event. A new game trailer, as well as the opening video to the game, will premiere during the show. The Robot Chicken Star Wars airs June 17th at 10PM. We were then given a preview of the game trailer that will air on June 17th, as well as seeing a game production video with Hasbro Boys Toys lead designer Aaron Archer and Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner. At this point the event ended and we all headed home. Overall I would say the Transformers game license is in very capable hands. Each of the games is looking very promising. We will bring full reviews of the game as we can, so check back soon. For more info and updates check with us here at TFW2005.com or visit TransformersGame.com!