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Red Alert: A Transformers MMO

Like all my Christmases come at once. And then not being allowed to go to them

My dream game, until I have a grown-up’s dream: a Transformers MMO. Design your own character, get deep into factional territory war, a universe full of weird planets to explore, a slew of alt-mode upgrades to pursue, endless humans to squish, cameos by Death’s Head. The ideal sci-fi property for an online world, yes?

I will never have this. Too expensive, too ambitious. Yet Asia is getting Transformers Online. Dare I to dream the impossible plastic toy-based dream?

Well, probably not. So far, it’s Asia, Russian territories and the Middle East, with no mention of the US or Europe. And it’s by Netdragon, the people currently turning the Dungeon Keeper MMO into something that’s apparently not much like Dungeon Keeper.

On the other hand, trademark-meisters Hasbro aren’t likely to let Netdragon veer wildly away from respecting the license, surely? Oh, hang on – they let Michael Bay reimagine two Transformers as negative racial stereotypes and have one of the franchise’s most beloved characters do a wee on John Turturro. Yeah, this could be anything, couldn’t it?

Still, Netdragon are being trusted with some enormous licenses – an Asia-only new version of Ultima Online (!) and another of Disney’s online magic kingdoms. They’ve surely got a ton of money in the bank by now – perhaps they could do World of Optimii justice after all.

As to chances of seeing it, they’re probably unlikely. Then again, Company Of Heroes Online crossed over to these shores eventually…

Here are all the details I have. Really though, they don’t say anything more than the headline does. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

HONG KONG, July 30 — NetDragon Websoft Inc, a leading online game developer and innovator in China, today announced that it has entered a brand licensing agreement with Hasbro, Inc., a worldwide leader in children’s and family leisure time products and services, for the exclusive rights to develop and publish in Asia, Russia/CIS and MENA an MMORPG based on Hasbro’s iconic TRANSFORMERS brand. The action-oriented PC online game “TRANSFORMERS Online” is expected to officially roll-out in 2011 in China as well as other select markets in Asia, MENA and Russia/CIS.

The TRANSFORMERS brand has garnered a worldwide fan base of millions due to the ideal worldview on which it is based, its ever-changing image, and its sustained promotion through toys, movies, TV shows, comics, and other consumer channels.

“NetDragon’s proven expertise at creating hugely successful MMOG’s, coupled with the passion they share for the iconic TRANSFORMERS brand, means we are thrilled to be entering into this license with them to deliver a truly ground-breaking MMO to fans in China and selected markets in Asia and Russia/CIS,” said Mark Blecher, General Manager and Senior Vice President of Digital Media & Gaming at Hasbro.

NetDragon Chairman and Executive Director Liu Dejian expressed, “As a brand and a cultural icon, TRANSFORMERS is already a household name in China, and we are extremely honored to be able to join hands with Hasbro to bring the excitement and fanaticism of TRANSFORMERS into the online gaming sector. We firmly believe that through the hard work of NetDragon’s passionate and creative employees, we will be able to create a game that will stand the test of time for TRANSFORMERS fans and hobbyists around the globe.”

About NetDragon

NetDragon Websoft Inc. is a leading innovator and creative force in China’s online gaming industry. Established in 1999, NetDragon has been operating and developing a broad range of MMORPGs since launching its first self-made title Monster & Me in 2002. In addition, NetDragon is China’s pioneer in overseas expansion, having directly operated its titles in overseas markets since 2004 in English, French, Spanish and other foreign languages. NetDragon’s game portfolio comprises a range of massively multiplayer online games that cater to various types of players and gaming preferences. Current offerings include the games Eudemons Online, Conquer Online, Zero Online, Way of the Five, Heroes of Might & Magic Online, Disney Fantasy Online and Tian Yuan. NetDragon also has several games currently in development, including Dungeon Keeper Online, Doomsday, Cross Gate, Legend of the Dark and a new version of Ultima Online.

I WARNED YOU.

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Alec Meer

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Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about videogames.

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