Stylin Online T-Shirts
 
Hobby Link Japan TFSource Big Bad Toy Store Robot Kingdom ToyArena Captured Prey

Fall Of Cybertron Interview: Transforming a Brand Into a Game

Posted on 05-03-2012 at 02:41 AM by ORIO under Video Games
GregAguis1
TheAlistDaily.com has posted an interview with High Moon Studios President Peter Della Penna and Marketing Manager Greg Agius about the Transformers brand and the new Transformers: Fall of Cybertron video game. In the interview, they discuss how they came upon the opportunity to make a new Transformers video game in the first place, tapping veteran voice actors and what went into bringing the Dinobots into the game.

Check out the full interview by clicking the title bar or the link above.

When you ask someone who grew up on the action cartoons of the '80s which was their favorite, there's a pretty good chance they'll say Transformers. Iconic as a toy brand, now a mega success as a movie, there are still a number of people who feel the greatest connection to the original cartoon series, (known as Generation One, and abbreviated to G1). High Moon Studios saw an opportunity with the franchise outside of just adapting the movies into video games and have run with it. We talked with High Moon Studios President Peter Della Penna and Marketing Manager Greg Agius about the brand and their latest game Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.

[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.


Peter Della Penna

[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]list: Talk to me about the reveal trailer for the game and what you thought the important messages you were trying to convey were (prescience of certain characters, style of the graphics, etc.)

Greg Agius: We wanted Transformers fans and gamers to take a fresh look at our game. For me, we needed to communicate that Fall of Cybertron is an adult oriented game that stands totally apart from anything related to the films. So the team set out to break every rule we could think of for a Transformers trailer: we had zero voiceover, we destroyed main characters, we made the story come to you, and we picked a song that is totally groundbreaking for this franchise. When fans started posting,
“attention... this is how you do Transformers!" I knew we had done things right. The style and look is all very in line with what gamers are currently playing.


Greg Agius

[a]list: How do you balance aesthetic considerations for these games? The Transformers are evocative of G1, but they're not cel-shaded. Was it conscious to make it like the early cartoon but have it be a little grittier?

Peter Della Penna: Visuals are very important to gamers. If it doesn't look good many won't even try the gameplay. So, yes, our style is evocative of G1 but not a reproduction of it. By design we intended to have a gritty, nostalgic sensibility.



[a]list: What went into bringing in the Dinobots for Fall of Cybertron?

Greg Agius: Getting the Dinobots in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron was a labor of love that has paid off handsomely. This game is new canon for Hasbro, and we are working with them to write lore that will stand for future storylines for this multi-billion dollar brand. Our team passionately fought to keep the Dinobots in the lore so that we can have them in our game. And why not? You can't find characters more unique than this! Of course we had to work with them to find a plausible creation story that Transformers fans would accept. We found some inspiration from the old U.K. comics and it provided some excellent ground that players will explore in our story. Playing as Grimlock is fantastic, you just feel super powerful!
Views: 2,385
Josh
i'll only read it if it talks about SPACE T-REX
Deonasis
ORIO, update with the complete link: Exclusive: Transforming a Brand Into a Game - [a]listdaily

The article is talking about Fall of Cybertron but has no mention of..

"F*CKING HUGE SPACE T-REX! I mean who doesn't want to CONTROL THAT! Hasbro said no to us but then we told them NO back!"

So I am confused.. j/k.
ORIO
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deonasis View Post
Weird. Don't know how I did that. Thanks!
Transformed
Thanks to Botcon pics showcasing new toys, I'm pretty sure the previously unknown character behind Greg Agius is FOC Kickback.
DJCHARTERS
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh View Post
i'll only read it if it talks about SPACE T-REX
STOP THE PRESS: are you telling me there is somekind of giant space t-rex in this game?

Jkin, To be fair i was excited about the idea at first but its all ive really heard lately. still cant wait till im stomping round as bruticus and grimlock.
Prime Jetscream
ALL THIS DID WAS MAKE ME WANT A GRIMLOCK TOY

On a side note, no "SPACE T-REX!!!!11"???? wow.
G1Prowl
Once again, proof that the aligned continuity hogwash is hogwashed hogwash. "We went back to our childhoods, to G1, and this is a G1 game. No ties to the movies whatsoever." Paraphrased, naturally. Then the next guy "Hasbro's building canon with this." Man. Gotta love it.
Transformed
Quote:
Originally Posted by G1Prowl View Post
Once again, proof that the aligned continuity hogwash is hogwashed hogwash. "We went back to our childhoods, to G1, and this is a G1 game. No ties to the movies whatsoever." Paraphrased, naturally. Then the next guy "Hasbro's building canon with this." Man. Gotta love it.
People should just really listen to the folks working on the projects, as they know what they're doing.
Chris McFeely
Quote:
Originally Posted by G1Prowl View Post
Once again, proof that the aligned continuity hogwash is hogwashed hogwash. "We went back to our childhoods, to G1, and this is a G1 game. No ties to the movies whatsoever."
And if that was at all what he said, that'd be super, but all he said that the look and feel was inspired by and evocative of G1. Which I don't think anyone is arguing against. And which means basically nothing in regards to the Aligned concept, which is entirely about story, not visual aesthetic.
Keith Prime
If you read Exodus (which is essentially the book for WfC & pretty much says as much as part of the title: "The Official History of the War for Cybertron"), there's a lot of overlap w/ what little G1* showed as to what happened before they got to earth. There are a number of important details changed, though, that prevent it from being G1: notably that Orion Pax was a Data Clerck, rather than an Energon Warehouse worker & that instead of Alpha Trion rebuilding the damaged Orion Pax into Optimus Prime, he was promoted & had to look for the Matrix; 'bots die that were alive in G1; a few existed before they should (Combiners, among others); a much longer & more detailed friendship between Orion & Megatronus.

It's an actual reboot, going back to G1 but changing stuff. The games fit more w/ Aligned than G1, but if you don't have the detials in between stuff in the games, it can be mistaken for G1. However, Tripticon being on Cybertron, during the Great War no less, kinda rules out WfC from being G1. & since FoC is a sequel to WfC, it can't be G1 either.

Yes, Exodus & WfC have continuity problems, but that's why Hasbro says they're part of a continuity family. The writer of the book & the makers of the games did communicate (lots of stuff in the game is in the book, at least based on conversations I've had w/ a friend who has WfC & how much matches up), but not enough to avoid errors.

*I can only speak to the Cartoon, since I never had money for the comics. But I'm sure there are differences to the comics, too.
webz
Am I the only person in the universe who DOESN'T want a set-in-stone origin and canon for the Transformers brand? I mean, c'mon, it's in THE NAME. They change and adapt. As long as certain established character traits are maintained, exact details can be adapted and I am fine with it. G1 as an umbrella category is entertaining, but to be brutally honest, the cartoon by itself when the nostalgia is removed it really was poorly done (storywise). As a man in my 30's, I am comfortable enough with my self-image to say that cartoons of my youth sucked. They were fun, but they don't hold a candle to what is being done today.

There are elements to Car Robots/RID, Armada, Energon, and Animated (never watched more that two episodes of Cybertron) I enjoyed, parts I didn't like, but they were just as "Transformers"ish to me as Gen1. The Bayverse I don't have as much of a problem with the majority of the designs, but I have a problem with personalities (or lack-there-of). But I was never expecting, even in the early days, of it being a G1 or "G1 inspired".

All that being said, I absolutely LOVED the first game. I normally LOATHE shooters, I don't play them and I am not good at them, but this had an interesting story, and it held together rather well. There were aspects of the story I actually remember almost falling off my couch while playing, thinking "That was brilliant! Why has that never been thought of before?" I expect much the same from this 2nd installment.... and an eventual 3rd game too (hopefully on Earth... "Rebirth of Cybertron")... anyway...

I love the games' take on Transformers. Especially the Dinobots, and other "created" characters. The idea of Wheeljack just throwing together raw material and creating 5 living beings as easy as Chevrolet rolls out a new Silverado, just doesn't seem special enough. Takes away some of the awe of sentient robotic lifeforms when they can be easily built. I like the idea of the Dinobots being tortured POWs turned into Dinobots via a Manchurian Candidate level of manipulation by Shockwave. It gives gravitas to Grimlock, rather than him being a 2 year old driving a freight train.

I can't wait to see how this storyline flows, and whatever Hasbro & High Moon intend to do after that, be it a continuation of this storyline or a brand new take on the Transformers brand.

That's why I think it's lasted so long with it's almost constant popularity compared to franchises such as He-Man, is that the concept of Transformers is adaptable for the times. In the 80's, I could go to the store and buy my parents' minivan as a Transformer, and today, I can go to the store and buy a current year Suburban Decepticon. It's still fresh.

That's the same reason I love the new Star Trek movie, is it breathed new life into old characters in a way I honestly never thought would happen. They maintained the archetypes, but felt free to rebuild the world and characters in a new way.

As the ancient philosopher has said, "Change is the only constant principle in the universe"
G1Prowl
Never once did I say WFC/FOC was supposed to be a direct prequel to Sunbow G1. What I said was that the designers went into it as an updated G1 Prequel. The aligned continuity shit didn't come into it until well after the game was in development. The dates don't jive. So I reiterate when I said that designer intent trumps corporate PR all day and twice on Sunday.
Awesome Welles
^This.

Post of the year - well done sir...

EDIT: sorry, meant webz's post...
Chris McFeely
I was going to post something else, but changed my mind, as I'm not going to be guilty of stringing out every fucking thread about this game into a completely pointless bitch about the Aligned continuity.
Keith Prime
I have no problems w/ Hasbro changing the brand periodically. I'm used to it. & I agree, much of the G1 cartoon would be crap had I not grown up w/ it. Same for most 80's cartoons. Probably why I like anime so much: actual plots, usually nicely done character development. When I watch something, I watch it for the plot these days (probably why I have problems w/ the live-action movies). When I was a kid & didn't understand the concept of plot, it was mostly that it looked cool, I think (I've never just followed a crowd -- example, I'm one of the few Voltron fans to like both Lion Voltron & Vehicle Voltron, not siding w/ one branch over the other). Beast Wars bridged the 2: it was the cool TFs I liked (though, different), & had a driving story that was intersperced w/ the usual (sometimes only seemingly) stand alone eps.

I know Hasbro wants the Aligned Continuity Family (at least they've acknowledged that they've failed at the whole coherent continuity concept thing by adding "Family") to be THE Continuity, but I don't see how they'll keep to one continuity for the Decade they're quoted as wanting to when they can't even do a single continuity for it.
UltraMagnus3786
Quote:
Originally Posted by webz View Post
Am I the only person in the universe who DOESN'T want a set-in-stone origin and canon for the Transformers brand? I mean, c'mon, it's in THE NAME. They change and adapt. As long as certain established character traits are maintained, exact details can be adapted and I am fine with it. G1 as an umbrella category is entertaining, but to be brutally honest, the cartoon by itself when the nostalgia is removed it really was poorly done (storywise). As a man in my 30's, I am comfortable enough with my self-image to say that cartoons of my youth sucked. They were fun, but they don't hold a candle to what is being done today.

There are elements to Car Robots/RID, Armada, Energon, and Animated (never watched more that two episodes of Cybertron) I enjoyed, parts I didn't like, but they were just as "Transformers"ish to me as Gen1. The Bayverse I don't have as much of a problem with the majority of the designs, but I have a problem with personalities (or lack-there-of). But I was never expecting, even in the early days, of it being a G1 or "G1 inspired".

All that being said, I absolutely LOVED the first game. I normally LOATHE shooters, I don't play them and I am not good at them, but this had an interesting story, and it held together rather well. There were aspects of the story I actually remember almost falling off my couch while playing, thinking "That was brilliant! Why has that never been thought of before?" I expect much the same from this 2nd installment.... and an eventual 3rd game too (hopefully on Earth... "Rebirth of Cybertron")... anyway...

I love the games' take on Transformers. Especially the Dinobots, and other "created" characters. The idea of Wheeljack just throwing together raw material and creating 5 living beings as easy as Chevrolet rolls out a new Silverado, just doesn't seem special enough. Takes away some of the awe of sentient robotic lifeforms when they can be easily built. I like the idea of the Dinobots being tortured POWs turned into Dinobots via a Manchurian Candidate level of manipulation by Shockwave. It gives gravitas to Grimlock, rather than him being a 2 year old driving a freight train.

I can't wait to see how this storyline flows, and whatever Hasbro & High Moon intend to do after that, be it a continuation of this storyline or a brand new take on the Transformers brand.

That's why I think it's lasted so long with it's almost constant popularity compared to franchises such as He-Man, is that the concept of Transformers is adaptable for the times. In the 80's, I could go to the store and buy my parents' minivan as a Transformer, and today, I can go to the store and buy a current year Suburban Decepticon. It's still fresh.

That's the same reason I love the new Star Trek movie, is it breathed new life into old characters in a way I honestly never thought would happen. They maintained the archetypes, but felt free to rebuild the world and characters in a new way.

As the ancient philosopher has said, "Change is the only constant principle in the universe"
Quote:
Originally Posted by Awesome Welles View Post
^This.

Post of the year - well done sir...

EDIT: sorry, meant webz's post...
I had to repost these comments to signify my approval. I totally agree Webz, and I'm looking forward to the story more than anything as well, which is rare for me as a gamer since I normally play for gameplay.
CodeXCDM
Quote:
Originally Posted by webz View Post
Am I the only person in the universe who DOESN'T want a set-in-stone origin and canon for the Transformers brand? I mean, c'mon, it's in THE NAME. They change and adapt. As long as certain established character traits are maintained, exact details can be adapted and I am fine with it. G1 as an umbrella category is entertaining, but to be brutally honest, the cartoon by itself when the nostalgia is removed it really was poorly done (storywise).
I agree with this portion. There's no reason that TFP and WfC/FoC *have* to be in the same continuity... and really... it seems pretty damn hard for them to be.

Hell... imagine if TFA *had* to follow the Movieverse continuity... *shudders* It'd have been horrendous. Tho as it were, Ratchet and Bumblebee were added in place of Hot Shot (who in Armada was origianally going to be called Bee) and the female Red Alert. Thankfully, the show turned out great being its own thing, character roster adjustments aside.

On that note... no reason (barring some legal issues with Cartoon Network) should Has/Tak *not* have considered airing both Animated and Prime as separate series...

Continue: Fall Of Cybertron Interview: Transforming a Brand Into a Game Discussion on the 2005 Boards!

 
Big Bad Toy Store