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TFW2005 War For Cybertron Interview with Aaron Archer and Matt Tieger

Posted on 12-18-2009 at 01:00 PM by Tony_Bacala under Video Games
Optimus-Iacon_450
TFW2005 had the chance to speak briefly with Hasbro's Aaron Archer and representatives for Activision and High Moon Studios earlier this week regarding the upcoming Transformers: War For Cybertron game. The focus of the conversation was more on story development and the interaction between Hasbro and High Moon in developing the deep mythology for the game. Read on to check out the full interview and some high res images.
TFW2005 had the chance to speak briefly with Hasbro's Aaron Archer and representatives for Activision and High Moon Studios earlier this week regarding the upcoming Transformers: War For Cybertron game. The focus of the conversation was more on story development and the interaction between Hasbro and High Moon in developing the deep mythology for the game.







PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE

Hasbro, lead by Aaron Archer and the Transformers team, have worked closely with High Moon on development of the game. From characters to places on Cybertron, story arc, and everything else possible, they were in contact. The goal was to tell a story of pre-Earth Cybertron that could be used as a basis for future Transformers stories and generations. It is not connected to any particular generation, but pulls from them all, taking elements, references, story arcs and merges them into this one, new story. If and when possible, Hasbro will try to "stick" to one ongoing cannon, and this could be used as a foundation for it. That being said, it was relayed of course that "Movies are always separate". For the non-movie products - toys, video games and otherwise - it looks like this could be the start of the latest, and possibly last, Generation. At least for a while, anyway.

CHARACTERS

The characters chosen for the game took into consideration the need for different styles of game play. So while most familiar faces will be there, Optimus Prime, Megatron, Ironhide, Bumblebee, Soundwave etc, there will be others which fill the need for other types of roles (pure speculation - think jets, boats, spies etc). Scale and general fighting style of the characters helped shape the final roster. Characters not seen in any format for a long time, whether it be toy, comic, cartoon or game - will be making an appearance here. That big guy in the trailer, Omega Supreme. He is in the game, but not as you may think. They left that purposely vague with an implied smiley face. And to clarify, this is 100% pre-Earth, distant past, on Cybertron.

CYBERTRON

In relation to Cybertron, Iacon will be there (see screen capture of Optimus - the background city is Iacon), as will other Cybertronian locations previously mentioned in past Transformers lore. Nothing else specific was mentioned about Cybertron, but it was said that things which may have only been referenced once, in one comic way back when, could be used and expanded upon. That is how deep they dove for background material to use in the game. Character development is key, they want to lay a foundation that new fans can absorb and have as a reference in future Transformers product and media. Archer and Hasbro let us know that current fans of the franchise will see things they recognize and be able to connect and infer connections to them; all types of people/places/things from the past. Seems like it's going to be a ton of head-nods to us, but still allowing newbies to jump right in. Something that needs to be done again and again with such a long and diverse history like Transformers has.

TOYS?

In relation to toys, they said that as they get closer they will evaluate all possible options for maximizing exposure of the game and the brand. So if toys will work, they would consider it.

A LITTLE Q n A
with Matt Tieger, Game Director, High Moon Studios

TFW2005: Are any familiar voices returning for the game?
HMS: I think there is a law against making a TF game without Peter Cullen. Side note: he is awesome to work with, his voice is undeniably Optimus.
TFW2005: Will the game offer online and/or offline co-op modes?
HMS: Yup, fans will be able to play the campaigns online with their friends through co-op modes (first time in a Transformers game) or go head to head in intense multiplayer modes. We’ll be divulging more details in the near future, but I can tell you this much – since day 1 on this project MP has been important to what we are doing.
TFW2005: There have been rumors that this game will be heavily influenced by Gears of War. Is this accurate?
HMS: I think a lot of that comes from the fact that we are using the same engine – the Unreal Engine - and that we are 3rd person. However there are some notable differences. 1 - We are not a cover-based shooter (you think Megatron would take cover?), 2 - Transform anywhere, 3 – Special abilities add an additional layer of strategic depth, 4 – finally, Transformers has always been a team based property and each character has unique abilities so teamwork becomes pivotal. NONE of this should take away from the awesomeness that is Gears, honestly if gamers compare us positively to one of the all-time best games ever, I am thrilled!
TFW2005: Will there be downloadable content for the game? If so are you thinking about just extra characters / skins, or extra mission packs as well?
HMS: 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.
TFW2005: Was it going to be War on Cybertron from the outset, or did it begin as a game for a previous Transformers iteration?
HMS: This game has always been about Cybertron. Talk about a setting that is begging for a video game! Fans are going to love it.
WRAP UP

Overall, this looks to be an off-movie-year game that was planned and executed properly. Movie games are great, but they often suffer because of short development cycles. This game however doesn't have that restriction and has been developed for the sole purpose of being a great game, and great Transformers story. Akin to what Batman Arkham Asylum was, developed outside the movie-game-cycle, with the fans and gamers in mind. Let's hope they deliver. Transformers War for Cybertron is due out in 2010 from Activision/High Moon on all major gaming platforms.

TFW2005 would like to thank Activision, Neil Wood, Step 3, Matt Tieger, High Moon Studios, Aaron Archer and Hasbro for taking the time to talk to the fans here at TFW2005.
Views: 43,828

Images for TFW2005 War For Cybertron Interview with Aaron Archer and Matt Tieger

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Bgrngod
Nice!! Good job TFW.

I really hope this becomes the definitive Transformers game. The look has certainly raised that possibility. Gameplay is always the challenge these days. Awesome graphics are pretty much the expectation.

And fortunately, it looks like a focus on the story is going to be a priority.

Not holding my breath, but definitely feeling excited for the possibilities here.
magmatron
Megatron is like a clash between Cybertron and Classic.
Solrac333
Night Flame
Please, please, PLEASE let us finally be getting a good game for Transformers that balances story/character development with gameplay. I would love to feel immersed in a Transformers game.
Deefuzz
Nice! My excitement just leveled up!

Sounds like it could quite possibly be a good game full of love for the source material.
vincheng2k5
Wait, "last generation of non-movie products"? WTF does that mean? Until Transformers 3 or until forever?
Switchblade
The part that has me the most excited is the mention of this possibly being a start to the "last generation for awhile." I'd love start and stick with an ongoing continuity instead of rebooting the franchise every 1-2 years like they have for pretty much this entire decade. I remember that Animated was originally supposed to be like that before it was cancelled. Hopefully, with Hasbro running their own station now, this game can serve as the opening to something that will last for a good long while.

Also, that Megatron design is sex.

Edit: actually, having reread that paragraph, I realize it might also be interpreted as "the last generation before we do nothing but whore out the movieverse for the next several years." That is a much less appealing option.
Joe Moore
Cullen doing Prime's voice is pure win.
Randomus Prime
Still excited for its release in 2010. Thanks for posting the Q and A.
Eric
Awesome stuff!
Foster
That Megatron is unbelievable.
Dave_6
I'm really digging the artwork for this game! I think the designs look awesome, especially Megs. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that this turns out to be as good of a game as Batman: Arkham Asylum is!
shumworld
This sounds to be interesting and I really looking foward to this game.
Lucario Prime


"On a cold winter morning in a time before the light
In flames of death's eternal reign we ride towards the fight
When the darkness has fallen down and the times are tough alright
The sound of evil laughter falls around the world tonight

Fighting hard fighting on for the steel through the wastelands evermore
The scattered souls will feel the hell bodies wasted on the shores
On the blackest plains in hell's domain we watch them as they go
In fire and pain now once again we know

So now we fly ever free, we're free before the thunderstorm
On towards the wilderness our quest carries on
Far beyond the sundown, far beyond the moonlight
Deep inside our hearts and all our souls

So far away we wait for the day
For the light source so wasted and gone
We feel the pain of a lifetime lost in a thousand days
Through the fire and the flames we carry on"


YES.
Rollcage
For the love of god don't screw this up guys. I have waited my whole life for a decent transformers game. There have been small momments like Zone of the Enders 2nd Runner with the Vic Viper and the old PSX game Future Cop LAPD with X1 Alpha. I will buy anything you put out if you make this game good. I play alot of multiplayer games like Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead 1/2 and if you can take the best parts of those games and make it with transformers you will have a mega-selling game on your hands. So many people have wanted this for so long. ROTF had a notable attempt with it's game release but it fell short in the long run. I have faith in you you guys. Please don't let me down!
Mechafire
"For the non-movie products - toys, video games and otherwise - it looks like this could be the start of the latest, and possibly last, Generation. At least for a while, anyway."

Out of everything in that interview, this caught me off guard. Does this mean that after the video game franchise, and after the movie franchise... Transformers may end? Or am I just misunderstanding this statement? I hope I am.
Optimus Prime
This looks pretty promising; there's a lot of good potential with this series.
Ethereal
Quote:
Originally Posted by vincheng2k5 View Post
Wait, "last generation of non-movie products"? WTF does that mean? Until Transformers 3 or until forever?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechafire View Post
"For the non-movie products - toys, video games and otherwise - it looks like this could be the start of the latest, and possibly last, Generation. At least for a while, anyway."

Out of everything in that interview, this caught me off guard. Does this mean that after the video game franchise, and after the movie franchise... Transformers may end? Or am I just misunderstanding this statement? I hope I am.
Nononono...TF is too much of a cash cow to abandon it

What they mean is that this could be the kick off for a new continuity and every subsequent series of Transformers is connected to this one continuity. No 'new universes', no re-imaginings, just that this is the start of a brand new universe and that it could be the last new one, but a very broad and fleshed out one.

As a smaller comparison, think of how Beast Wars and Beast Machines connected with G1. Same universe (ish), different characters, settings, and ideas.
Mechafire
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
Nononono...TF is too much of a cash cow to abandon it

What they mean is that this could be the kick off for a new continuity and every subsequent series of Transformers is connected to this one continuity. No 'new universes', no re-imaginings, just that this is the start of a brand new universe and that it could be the last new one, but a very broad and fleshed out one.

As a smaller comparison, think of how Beast Wars and Beast Machines connected with G1. Same universe (ish), different characters, settings, and ideas.
Ah, I get it. So they're pretty much sticking to this continuity, the movie continuity, and possibly the new cartoon continuity (at least for a while, anyway), right? Interesting.
Ethereal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechafire View Post
Ah, I get it. So they're pretty much sticking to this continuity, the movie continuity, and possibly the new cartoon continuity (at least for a while, anyway), right? Interesting.
There might not be a new cartoon continuity. I mean, all they'd need would be these characters from WfC to travel to Earth and BAM! you have a new cartoon show

I think they're shooting just for two continuities. This continuity started by WfC, and the movies. That's the impression I got from it.
Sideswipe1125
I agree with him when he said "I think there is a law against making a TF game without Peter Cullen." Nobody does it better!
Mechafire
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
There might not be a new cartoon continuity. I mean, all they'd need would be these characters from WfC to travel to Earth and BAM! you have a new cartoon show
Whatever the case, it will be interesting to see what they do with this game continuity. That one statement in the interview makes me hopeful there will be a toyline.
Trikeboy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
There might not be a new cartoon continuity. I mean, all they'd need would be these characters from WfC to travel to Earth and BAM! you have a new cartoon show

I think they're shooting just for two continuities. This continuity started by WfC, and the movies. That's the impression I got from it.
Also remember a line from the game trailer "Transmission Date: Prior to first contact with Earth". Sounds like a set up for this continuity after the game.
Laser_Optimus
I can not wait to play this game!

Also, I really like the fact that this may become the definitive continuity of Transformers. No more reboots... no more new universes... just this universe and the movie universe... sweet.
reyrey2099
My only question is what month or timeframe of months are we looking at?
webz
The problem with Transformers, as with almost ANY tv cartoon show (with few exceptions) is that after the 2nd season, they always lose focus and become horribly lame. Gen1 Transformers, GI Joe, Ninja Turtles, He-Man, etc all suffered after the first two seasons...

I cannot see one series of Transformers having the lasting appeal of Simpsons, Southpark, etc. Transformers thrives on Transforming itself every other year or so.
Icespark
Thanks for getting this interview! I'm really glad to hear that Peter Cullen will be playing Optimus Prime for this game!

I noticed that in these interviews, they only ever mention online multiplayer, yet they never mention standard, off-line, multiplayer. I really hope that a standard multiplayer option is available; I don't use online play, and I'd still like to be able to play against, and with, family and friends with games like this! I was also rather disappointed with how with the TF2 game, the extra characters could only be purchased through and used online. Maybe though, since there's not really any set deadline due to the movies for release, and the developers can take their time, they'll be able to add in more content than the movie games had.

I do like how they mentioned characters that haven't been used in a long time will be used in here! Maybe Blaster, Trailbreaker, or Grapple? How about Scrounge? I'm really looking forward to finding out what kind of surprises they have planned!

I'm also happy to see them using information from the comics, such the Alpha Centauri system.

Also, what are they talking about with Omega Supreme? It's already been revealed that he'll be a boss fight, so, what other purpose could they have planned for him?

Finally, I'm a little confused. In one report, it is stated that players can journey through both Decepticon and Autobot campaigns, yet they state that these will serve as founding canon for future stories. So, for this game, will both campaigns be halves of a single connected storyline, with one half played before the other, or will it be like the movie game, with the Autobot campaign being the "real" version of the events, and the Decepticon campaign being more of a "what-if" possibility? Or, instead, could it be like the PS2 TF2 game, where its one story, and the gameplay flips back and forth between the two factions?
MythofBlackout
Looks like Hasbro is trying to develop a singular TF continuity for the foreseeable future. Might be a good move if they're looking to branch out as an intellectual entertainment company instead of just a children's toy company.

If nothing else, the Unreal Engine is going to make this game look fantastic. Consider me excited.
ORIO
Really excited for this game!
alien
Really look awesome!!!
Coeloptera
That is the most beautiful Cybertron I have ever seen...

I want to build a little tower and live there.

So...one non-movie continuity going forward for most products? I can most assuredly live with that.

Cullen's in, guy always deserves to have work. No word on voices for Megs or Screamer yet, huh?

- Coeloptera
oldtimer48
The stills you have from the game look AWESOME.......I just may have to get a PS3 or X-Box just for this game alone!!!
Grimlock_13
Great Q&A!

Santa is bringing my fiance and I a Wii for Christmas...I'm not much of a gamer but I am happy about finally being able to jump into modern platform technology, and this game gets me the most worked up!

VERY interesting talk that this may well be the new difinitive Transformers generation. I think they have a fantastic setup with TONS of potential regarding story and characters so I hope they can pull it off successfully!

I hope a toyline works out as well...I already want plastic renditions of those killer Optimus and Megatron designs!!!!
Sledgehammer
Some interesting and exciting points, especially with HM delving deep into TF's past for characters, locations and references; as far as this being the launch point for a new, ongoing continuity, sounds like a good start. And yeah, pre-Earth Cybertron has been begging for more exposure, and hopefully this will be the perfect way to do just that.

(As for DLC - come on, this is Activision we're talking about here...the man in charge is all about taking as much of your hard-earned as is humanly possible...)
SPLIT LIP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechafire View Post
"For the non-movie products - toys, video games and otherwise - it looks like this could be the start of the latest, and possibly last, Generation. At least for a while, anyway."

Out of everything in that interview, this caught me off guard. Does this mean that after the video game franchise, and after the movie franchise... Transformers may end? Or am I just misunderstanding this statement? I hope I am.
The way they word it, especially with Hasbro saying they like one continuity, sounds like they want one Generation that goes on year after year, rather than a reboot every year as the norm has been. And this game could be the foundation.


I hope this game really is the Batman: Arkham Asylum of Transformers.
Beastbot X
Can't wait!

Though... am I the only one who read this part:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Interview
NONE of this should take away from the awesomeness that is Gears
And was thinking "Holy @&(! GEARS IS IN IT---oh."
Starscream NZ
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icespark View Post
Finally, I'm a little confused. In one report, it is stated that players can journey through both Decepticon and Autobot campaigns, yet they state that these will serve as founding canon for future stories. So, for this game, will both campaigns be halves of a single connected storyline, with one half played before the other, or will it be like the movie game, with the Autobot campaign being the "real" version of the events, and the Decepticon campaign being more of a "what-if" possibility? Or, instead, could it be like the PS2 TF2 game, where its one story, and the gameplay flips back and forth between the two factions?
I would think that there would be seperate endings for each Autobot, and Decepticon campaigns however, official continuity would likely dictate that one ending is the 'canon' ending while the other is non-canon. Would be the easiest way to continue on the story. I would say that the ending of this game would be open enough for them to make a sequel to it while the upcoming toyline/universe will tie into the gamer, but set later on/on Earth.

Pre-Earth stories told via video game/potentially comics
On-Earth stories told via tv shows/toylines

Would then make sense that Power Core Combiners is a new technology developed before, or during their stay on Earth. The toyline could incorporate figures from WFC. Considering we've seen two 'earth' mode vehicles and one WFC toy already, it makes sense. WFC wouldn't have enough strength to soley support a toyline, so they'll chuck a few molds of the big-name characters into the PCC/next line.
Fort Max
At the rate things are going this game is going to need it's own forum.
Beastbot X
Quote:
Originally Posted by Starscream NZ View Post
I would think that there would be seperate endings for each Autobot, and Decepticon campaigns however, official continuity would likely dictate that one ending is the 'canon' ending while the other is non-canon. Would be the easiest way to continue on the story. I would say that the ending of this game would be open enough for them to make a sequel to it while the upcoming toyline/universe will tie into the gamer, but set later on/on Earth.
According to the Game Informer article both campaigns are part of one and the same story. You can play either to start off on, but the Decepticon campaign takes place before the Autobot campaign-- sort of a "create the havoc, then stop it" thing.
Xenon
I'm wondering if this is the project that David Wise is working on for Hasbro...
Starwave
LOVE IT! An original idea that IS'NT based around the movie line. Reminds me of War Within with the designs. Can't wait this could be the best Transformer game EVER!
a person
I have high expectations for this game. Every bit of information we have heard about War for Cybertron suggests that the developers are taking huge steps in the right direction with the game. The fact that WfC is going to set up the next Transformers generation that will apparently last for quite a few years is awesome news to me. Bring on the first SUPER GENERATION of Transformers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beastbot X View Post
According to the Game Informer article both campaigns are part of one and the same story. You can play either to start off on, but the Decepticon campaign takes place before the Autobot campaign-- sort of a "create the havoc, then stop it" thing.
It's info like this that makes the game seem even cooler. Looks like I'll be playing through the Decepticon campaign first to set up the story for the Autobots.
Zress Tayasu
Quote:
Originally Posted by Starscream NZ View Post
*snip* we've seen two 'earth' mode vehicles and one WFC toy already*snip*
uhh, we have? did I miss some newsposts or something?
Optimus Prime
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zress Tayasu View Post
uhh, we have? did I miss some newsposts or something?
There was a red sports car prototype that most people thought was a rumored Drift, and then there was a lame pic of a grey cybertronian truck that ended up looking like this new Prime's alt. mode.
That was a while ago, and the pics were requested to be removed, but they're out there.
nemesisconvoy
The partial shot of Cybertron with the sun in the background makes a great wallpaper for my laptop. :-)
transgeek2345
omega supreme toy and megatron toy please!!!!!!!!!!??????????????

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