Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark Rolls Out

By Alice O'Connor on June 25th, 2014 at 9:00 am.

Yeah, I guess that robot dinosaur is screaming fire.

When I was young, Transformers was about heavily-armed robots who could transform into trucks and dinosaurs and cassette recorders yet mostly hung out with tedious humans talking about boring drama between them and some other robots they didn’t get on with, then sometimes they would all get into a disappointing fight. As far as I can tell, the main difference in Michael Bay’s Transformers is that the robofights are more exciting. Nostalgia’s not what it used to be.

High Moon Studios’ recent Transformers games were pretty good for robots fighting, so I hear, though their story universe is smooshed together with Bay’s movie world now that Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark launched yesterday. Look, I’ve got a video of some robots to prove it.

As well as merging universes, Rise of the Dark Spark switches developers, away from High Moon to Edge of Reality. They’ve mostly worked on ports, but you may know them as the folks behind free-to-play shooter Loadout, which I’m told is good stuff.

So the two universes are now merged. Does this matter? Are you excited or mortified by this? It’s not real anyway, you know. If you enjoy the stories more with the two separate, then think of them as such! We could all benefit from being more disrespectful of the authority of ‘lore’ and ‘canon.’ Probably still give cannons a wide berth, though.

Reviews aren’t out yet, though, which may not be the best indication. If you’re bold enough (or adore fighting robots enough) to plunge right in, it’ll run you £29.99 on Steam. Here are those robots I promised you:

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33 Comments »

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  1. Spacewalk says:

    When I was young, Transformers didn’t have designs that hurt my eyes and fight scenes that I couldn’t follow.

    • BTAxis says:

      Or indeed non-fight scenes that I couldn’t follow.

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        Lim-Dul says:

        Or indeed scenes/dialogue so dumb, sexist, racist or embarrassing that I didn’t WANT to follow them.

        • Dawngreeter says:

          Or Starscreem who seems to vanish halfway through the last fight of the first movie and is never mentioned again, ever, at all.

          • secuda says:

            He was a pussy anyway, always trying to cheapshot megatrons leadership whenever he could.

  2. Neurotic says:

    There was actually quite a nice chain of interconnected cross-format lore leading up to this point, including the T Prime cartoon, the Alex Irvine Novels and the first two High Moon games. I wonder if the crushing weight of the Bayformers’ Hollywood dollars have now destroyed this? I.e. should we take the Bayformers inexorable crap as being the approved backstory now? /vomit

  3. Premium User Badge

    DarkLiberator says:

    Apparently according to the forums the campaign is locked 60 FPS and for some weird reason multiplayer is locked at 30.

  4. cylentstorm says:

    ….*ahem* Who cares about Transformers at all? Did I watch the show as a kid? Yes. Am I able to stomach it now? No way. I’m fairly certain that I was only in love with the idea of huge robots that transform into vehicles.

    The relatively recent flicks have cool action sequences (as mentioned) mixed with Shia Lebouf’s babbling, and Megan Fox’s physical assets/imaginary talent milkshake. I think that they replaced Ms. Fox with another Barbie doll, but who can tell the difference? Throw in some poorly-concealed US-centric patriotic propaganda, a nonsensical story, and throw millions of wasted dollars at it, and you have some of the most efficient ways of dropping your IQ this side of “reality TV,” FOX News,” and crystal meth.

    So, the games….from mediocre to….what, exactly? Do I even care anymore? nah….

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      Bradamantium says:

      Thank you so very much for dropping in to let us know you don’t care. This knowledge is much appreciated, and I will make sure to forward it to the relevant parties so we can immediately cease production on any and all Transformers projects, now and forever.

    • joa says:

      Elitism from someone who comments on a website about video games. Amazing

  5. Hypnotron says:

    The original transformers reminds me of two groups of fallen angels battling one another… one side wants to protect man, the other wants to be gods.

  6. Turkey says:

    The UK’ian extra love for the Transformers franchise comes from the weird and way too mature British ’80s comics, right? I always thought that was a thing.

    • Stardreamer says:

      Pretty much. Our comic treated kids like mini-adults, giving us character development, epic story arcs, elevated many characters well above their cartoon and toy origins (Galvatron, Bludgeon, Nightbeat, etc), gave us an origin of not just the Transformers but pretty much the universe as well…

      Contrast that with “Carbombya” in the cartoons and comic stories about wrestling matches and evil car-washes.

      Sometimes we Brits find it hard to understand there are still TF fans in the US after getting that low level of disposable material.

  7. SkittleDiddler says:

    When did this IP start taking itself so seriously? Keep in mind that I haven’t been around the whole Transformers thing since I was a wee lad back in the mid 80s.

    • Philomelle says:

      I’d say it was around the time when it became the first western animated series for kids that violently killed off a large chunk of its hero faction, including multiple fan favorites and the faction leader, on-screen.

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        Jalan says:

        You’ve got the touch… you’ve got the pow-er!

        The Dreamwave comics had more to do with the super serious-izing than the deaths did. The deaths proved that it wasn’t just another 80s toy shill (you don’t see anyone stuffing My Pet Monster into a sack with a brick tied to it and tossing it into a nearby river do you?).

        • subedii says:

          Agree on the Dreamwave comics taking things up a notch. But with regards to the series deaths…

          Actually, the deaths in the movie proved precisely that. Heck, the Transformers Wiki even has a page dedicated to that:

          http://tfwiki.net/wiki/To_sell_toys

          IIRC the large number of kill offs in the film was in order to push out the old and bring in new toylines.

          In The Transformers: The Movie, numerous main characters are killed or changed in the movie’s first 30 minutes, including Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream, and Ironhide. They are replaced by a slew of new characters; in fact, the poster for the movie shows only new characters.

          Bold is mine.

          Here’s another fun thing: Hasbro actually made sure that there was swearing in the film so that it was a PG, not U rated film. Which would ensure that parents were accompanying children and would therefore know what toys to buy.

          http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AvoidTheDreadedGRating

          The infamous line “Oh shit, what are we gonna do now?” from the 1986 Transformers: The Movie was there to give it a PG rating (and “Open, dammit, open!” may have served that purpose too). This was reportedly in order to make sure that parents knew which toys to buy. Like Star Wars, this didn’t work in the UK, where it got a U rating (though the line is missing from some DVD versions).

          That is some seriously crazy cynical marketing at work.

          All that said, I really enjoyed the High Moon Transformers games, I feel they’re basically to Transformers what the Arkham games are to Batman: Solid games created by serious fans of the material that had a real understing of what made their respective universes awesome. They’re basically ridiculous fanservice to fans of the franchises.

          Transformers is very definitely a series that was built around selling toys. What’s surprising is how it took on a life of its own after that, way beyond what its original intent was.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      I’d say around the time when a shitty director who takes HIMSELF too seriously decided to reboot the franchise. This is the whole point of what made the movies so god awful. It’s a pretentious, shit CGI movie with none of the charm of the cartoons which are still more watchable than the movies in my opinion.

      • Xocrates says:

        Actually, Bay didn’t want to make the movies. He was just convinced (read: probably paid a shitload of money) to make them.

        So I find it more likely that the movies suck on account of being made by someone that does not give a shit about what worked in the original cartoon making something specifically designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Jackablade says:

    Would anyone care to back my call for a ten year moratorium on the use of “rise” and variants of said in the titles of entertainment media?

    • lyje says:

      Oddly, the same could (should) also be done with ‘fall’.

      • The white guar says:

        I’d like to add “dark”, “legend” and “origin” to that list

        • Niko says:

          Damnit, here goes my game called Darkfall Legend: Rise of the Origin.

          • Turkey says:

            Darkest Origin – Legend of the Rise and Fall

          • Niko says:

            Think I’ll just go with Clothilda and Taffy Bears now.

          • Darth Gangrel says:

            There is already a game called Darkfall and it has a sequel called Darkfall Unholy Wars, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darkfall_Unholy_Wars. Unholy? Wars? Yeah, why not, let’s just add two words that offer no type of info.

            With that said, I fully agree that these words are empty and meaningless. Still, Lords of the Fallen (add “lord” to that list of banned words) is a game whose amount of interesting stuff I find is inversely proportional to its generic name.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        Exceptions to be made when the third installment after ‘rise’ and ‘fall’ is called ‘gets back up again’.

    • Stardreamer says:

      Place your bets! Star Wars VII = “Rise of the Jedi”? Anyone?

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    particlese says:

    One day, people will become bored of Grimdark and take another shot at a Beast Wars game. Light and shiny things everywhere! Properly awful puns around every corner! Many dinosaurs*! Almost no humans! Qualitative character upgrades! All right, that’s it for now. I’m out of exclamation marks.

    *Only 3 dinosaurs, not counting the drones and clones… Darn you, Internet. :(

    More on-topic: I did enjoy the War for Cybertron campaign via co-op a lot more than I thought I would. Such a shame that’s gone missing in the later games (according to co-optimus).

  10. Smoky_the_Bear says:

    “As far as I can tell, the main difference in Michael Bay’s Transformers is that the robofights are more exciting”

    Get the fuck out. Right now.

  11. WiggumEsquilax says:

    When I was young, Transformers was a 22 minute toy commercial about 2 factions of robot aliens. One of which just wanted to watch the world burn.
    The other was trying to end a war without risking blowing it all up. Led by a man constantly aware of the possibility of his own species’ extinction, if he pursued victory too hard.
    Both sides limited in their operational ability by their access to energy, to fuel their weapons’ gargantuan consumption.
    Both sides mostly just trying to end every battle while still alive.

    I felt even then, that while it was accidentally well written, it was well written nonetheless.

    I was a very strange little 4-7 year old.

  12. Darth Gangrel says:

    If this game takes itself too seriously, then much of the fun goes away. I would like Transformers: Rise of the Derp Spark.