Could Transformers 2 Be Not-Horrible?

By Alec Meer on April 15th, 2009 at 3:51 pm.

Robots! Giant robots! Giant robots that turn into cars! If there’s a property more ideally suited to action videogaming than Transformers then I’ll eat my decepti-hat. Apart from Transmorphers, obviously.

Sadly, them robots in disguise haven’t been treated well by gaming, with the exception of the fairly pleasing Transformers Armada PS2 game a while back. The only PC game was 2007′s abominable tie-in to Michael Bay’s Transformers movie. Truly horrible, despite being handled by Traveller’s Tales, they of Lego Star Wars fame. With a second movie due this Summer, there is, inevitably, a second game. Will lessons have been learned? Could we, finally, maybe, oh lord please, get a decent Transformers game?

The official site for Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen (a subtitle that sounds straight off the George Lucas drawing board o’idiocy) went live today, and it’s got a few Cybertronian tidbits to pore over. It’s looking pretty, as well it should – games can do shiny, angular metal very well these days. Cars are easy, and thus so should robots that turn into cars. Neither the handful of pictures or the press release really reveal much about the game: it’ll have robots who can transform and take on “any available mission”, apparently. Which sounds pretty much the same as that wretched first game, which loosely attempted a GTA structure, but hung it around giant robots repeatedly having to drive to specific spots on the map before a timer ran out. Really, the Autobots fail to save the planet if Bumblebee doesn’t make it to exactly this 5 square metre spot within exactly 30 seconds? That’s not epic heroism – that’s American Gladiators.

Now, while the vast bulk of movie spin-off games are made in just a few months in order that they can visually reference the finished movie adequately, in this case half of Transformers 2′s robot cast already existed – surely that meant there was more space and time to get this right?

Or not. The game was only announced back last July, which means there’s a strong chance it’s only enjoyed an 8-month development window. And with Traveller’s Tales now purchased by Warners, this game has an entirely different studio working on it, quite possibly having to start from scratch. (The PC port, incidentally, is being handled by a third studio, Beenox, but it’s simply a conversion of the console game rather than a whole new game). Developer Luxoflux’s finest hour to date is the True Crime games, decentish GTA-likes: other than that it’s been mostly so-so movie tie-ins. Though their last, Kung Fu Panda, was reasonably well received. Dare we to dream?

I want to dream, but I’m not going to until I hear mention of one specific thing, something that’s notable by its omission from the press blurb so far. Trashing buildings, people! That’s the single most important element of any game about giant robots! It wasn’t in the first game, and it sounds like it’s not going to be this one, which means I’m fearful it’s simply going to be more hand-mangling melee combos and driving to waypoints as fast as possible. TRASHING BUILDINGS, dammit. Say it’s in there and I’ll start smiling about this game.

Well, we’ll see. On the more positive side, sounds as though there’ll be a vast array of big ol’ robots, including the massive, flying Decepticons. No word on if we’ll get to play as Devastator, a really big fella who’s made of six robots stuck together, but surely any developer with an ounce of vested interest in making this game would stick him in. Surely?

On another note, a while back Kieron and I had a horrifyingly geeky conversation about how to do a Transformers MMO. It’s ripe with possibility – but that’s a post for another day…

Oh, and here’s the press release:

Based on Hasbro’s legendary TRANSFORMERS property and one of the most anticipated films of 2009 from Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures, TRANSFORMERS: Revenge of the Fallen thrusts players into a battle for supremacy across the globe as either AUTOBOTS or DECEPTICONS to drive, fly, fight and blast their way through intense, pressure-packed levels. Delivering more control than ever before, gamers can select from the largest, most diverse range of playable TRANSFORMERS – each with distinct personalities, abilities and weaponry – and jump straight into action as they instantly switch between robot, vehicle and weapon modes to fight for the preservation or annihilation of all mankind.For the first time in the TRANSFORMERS universe, players can also fight the epic war between AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS online in explosive multiplayer combat.

KEY FEATURES:
The Choice is Yours – Players can step into the shoes of their favorite AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS such as Optimus Prime, Starscream, Bumblebee and Ironhide, along with new characters making their first appearance in a game. With two distinct campaigns that allow gamers to save or destroy the human race, gamers will unlock missions and be able to play them in any order they desire and with different characters for a whole new experience.

Outmaneuver Your Opponents – Instantaneously convert from a colossal robot to a dynamic land or air vehicle such as a diesel truck, sports car, military chopper or fighter jet. New, ultra-fluid transformations can be performed in-motion anytime and anywhere, allowing players to strategically propel through and decimate hordes of enemies with incredible agility.

Take the Battle Online with Friends – For the first time ever in the TRANSFORMERS universe, gamers can engage in full multiplayer action, taking the epic war between the AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS online to play with friends in a multitude of competitive game modes as they utilize their characters’ unique weapons and abilities to lead their teams to victory.

Demolish Your Enemies – Each TRANSFORMER can unleash a unique array of assaults on its enemies ranging from powerful missile attacks and rapid-fire chain guns to explosive energy blasts and visceral melee strikes, allowing players to pick from a variety of weapons and moves in their character’s arsenal that deliver diverse gameplay in every brutal encounter.

Intense, Heroic Missions – Every second is precious as players drive, fly, fight and blast their way through gripping, pulse-pounding levels straight from the film and beyond to determine the ultimate fate of the world.

“Every second is precious”, eh? That sounds far too much like waypoints and timers to me. “Optimus, you have exactly 45 seconds to save the world! And no, you can’t drive through buildings to save time, despite your being a 10-ton truck.”

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26 Comments »

  1. jonfitt says:

    “Every second is precious”: waypoints and timers. Agreed.
    We’ll see. I’m not holding my breath.
    Although I could see the instant transforms being used for some kind of robot parkour, with you driving up to a building, transforming and jumping/clambering over to change back into the vehicle on the other side.

    I’d like to see a movie/game tie-in where they’ve allowed adequate time for game production and still have a joint release. Maybe a Mr Diesel product?

  2. Bobsy says:

    Did the last one have references to masturbation and sexing up your teenage girlfriend on the bonnet of an alien robot?

  3. Dominic White says:

    There’s already a good Transformers game. The Transformers game on the PS2.

    Watch it Let’s Played by the funny and rambly Evil Tim here:
    http://www.dailymotion.com/user/Evil_Tim/video/x39k5c_lets-play-transformers-intro_videogames

    He also does a similar run of the very bad Transformers: The Movie: The Game, just to highlight the wild difference in quality between the two.

  4. Tei says:

    The only Transformers I am looking forward to play will be the “A-Team vs Transformers” crossover. Where the A-Team built a decepticon from scratch, using only tools available in a garage…. resulting in a vehicle… much like a angry suv…

  5. Tei says:

    Or the Transformers version of “Titanic”, where the Titanic is a decepticon, and the Iceberg is a autobot.

  6. clovus says:

    I want to play a game based on Michael Bay’s upcoming version of Thundercats.

  7. clovus says:

    I’ve never read a press release and have never had propaganda explained to me. ZOMFG!!11!!! I CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS GAEM!!!

    Seriously though,

    Outmaneuver Your Opponents – Instantaneously convert from a colossal robot to a dynamic land or air vehicle such as a diesel truck

    This ability totally needs to be added to TF2.

    I can’t imagine what situation would require this. Turning into a diesel truck is almost as useless as meatwad’s ability to turn into an igloo. It seems like Optimus Prime could move faster as a robot. Couldn’t he fly anyway?

  8. Rei Onryou says:

    On another note, a while back Kieron and I had a horrifyingly geeky conversation about how to do a Transformers MMO. It’s ripe with possibility – but that’s a post for another day…

    Will that day be tomorrow by any chance?

  9. Optimaximal says:

    Couldn’t he fly anyway?

    Canonically, only the Decepticons can fly without some form of assistance – in More Than Meets The Eye, Prime had to borrow Sideswipes jetpack to chase after the Nemesis…

  10. Dan Harris says:

    Questions:

    Do Transformers wear shoes that one could step into?
    Are the intense missions still deemed heroic if the player is wearing Decepticon shoes?

  11. hydra9 says:

    Transmorphers! I actually saw that movie. It was pretty funny, but unfortunately it was one of those films that starts out as pure hilarity and ends up just being dull. It did, however, feature an earth-saving force half-composed of (presumably) low tier porn stars. And a scene in which the (porn star) ‘Commander’ had a hair-pulling and scratching fight with one of her (porn star) lieutenants in the dorm room. All while the transmorphing robot scum were marching through the decimated city outside.

  12. clovus says:

    @Dan Harris: I assumed they meant brake shoes. Or that the shoes involved were metaphorical.

  13. Bret says:

    No, most transformers don not wear shoes.

    Some, however, turn into shoes, so that explains the shoe references.

  14. drewski says:

    This needs to be Crackdown, except you’re a robot.

  15. Trollwind says:

    On another note, a while back Kieron and I had a horrifyingly geeky conversation about how to do a Transformers MMO. It’s ripe with possibility – but that’s a post for another day…

    Damnit Alec! How can you plant such a sinister seed in our heads? Now all I’m going to be thinking about for the next week are all the possibilities for a Transformer MMO. Check that, I’ll spend at least a week on character creation alone.

    “Instead of having races, you’d need to have non-robot form types like land vehicles, air vehicles, handheld accessories, dinosaurs, office supplies, etc…”

    “Are there female transformers?”

    “What would be the best class/career for a transformer that can turn into a cassette tape?”

    So much for being gainfully employed…

  16. NoNamePls says:

    Midway apparently has a gold master of Transformers Armada PC version.

  17. ObliviousPrime says:

    This needs to be King of the Monsters…except you’re a robot.

  18. Cradok says:

    I wasn’t a fan of the Armada game, despite being an Armada fan overall. I just felt that the learning curve was more wall shaped…

    Couldn’t he fly anyway?

    Canonically, only the Decepticons can fly without some form of assistance – in More Than Meets The Eye, Prime had to borrow Sideswipes jetpack to chase after the Nemesis…

    Except for the fact that earlier on, half the Autobots all flew off to the oil rig. It’s pointless to the point of insanity to try and reconcile it all. I like it.

  19. Cradok says:

    I appear to have messed up my quoting…

  20. Jason Moyer says:

    The whole Transformers reboot is confusing to me and doesn’t seem to keep with the spirit of the original. The original phenomenon revolved around a cheap toy that used a tv show/movie/comic book to make kids want to buy it. You’d think with the modern version they’d make some crappy toy or videogame first and then make a movie to market it instead of the other way around. OTOH, I guess if you’re trying to cash in on a retro/nostalgia fad you need to focus your consumables on 30-ish year olds, so maybe the rubbish CGI action film is basically the toy.

  21. PC Monster says:

    Why bother to make a great game? It’s just a franchise about silly toys robots that turn into vehicles…

    As one of the UK’s biggest Transformers fans – I felt desecrated by everything that live-action movie produced. The film was horrible, the game was horrible, god, I even hate the toys and to really appreciate that statement you have to understand I’m a 30+ year old man STILL BUYING THE OLD ONES. Correction: I was buying them. This mangled foetus of a film might actually have killed a passion that’s lasted over 20 years. I think the demo of the game made me cry at just how many opportunitites had been squandered.

    Face it, chaps. This new game is going to be just as horrible. (It CAN’T get any worse, surely…?)

  22. Klaus says:

    I liked the Transformers Movie game it’s just… well, the driving mechanics were atrocious.

  23. wcaypahwat says:

    The old PS2 one had you shooting a giant aircraft carrier IN THE FACE.

    Honestly, if they can’t beat that, im not buying it.

    At least it sounds like they’ll be using the tranform anwhere, anytime style from that one.

  24. Bobby says:

    Jason Moyer> You’re probably not aware of this, but transformers has been rebooted numerous times already. The very act f reboting has become the spirit of the brand to a certain extent, t the point where the latest cartoon has tons oof fun sneaking in references to the most obscure past incarnations.

    As fr flying, the oil rig is a well-known error, but other than that in the first series and most continuities the autobots can’t “naturally” fly (until they get robots that turn into planes, that is). That being said for the second movie leaks in the form of combining toys indicate Optimus is indeed gonna be upgraded with a little help to take care of the flying problem.

  25. Bravedave says:

    Bobby’s right. Theres already so many different transformers universes eg. original tv series, uk comic, us comic, armada, takara, the new movies/books etc. Its pointless to try and reconcile them, just enjoy the fact that they all have awesome robots which turn into stuff. I actually really enjoyed the film once I accepted it wasnt going to be the same (or as good) as the old stuff.

    That said I would love it if the soundtrack to the new film was half as good as the original movie with Stan Bush et al.

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