Combo Wars:Bayonetta Dev’s G1-Style Transformers Game

I’ve been on holiday. I come back to work mid-E3. It’s like being hurled into the sea, only instead of waves and seagulls there are explosions and men’s khaki-clad bottoms everywhere. I doggy-paddle frantically, searching for something to grab onto, to stay afloat in this ocean of screaming bluster. I’ll swim through it all in time, sure, but give me something safe and familiar to get my sealegs from. Ah, of course. A new Transformers game from Activision. It’ll be more routine shooty-bang from a jobbing in-house developer, and it will resolutely refuse to give long term plastic robot fans what they want in favour of supporting whatever joylessly spiky thing the movies or toyline are currently doing. I can snarl at it mechanically and… wait, what?

Let’s trailer it up first:

Initial reports had Transformers Devastation down as console-only, but the Activision presser revealed there’d be a PC version too. Hooray! Why hooray?

Two reasons:

1) It’s proper Generation One, i.e. the original 80s toyline/cartoon series/comicbook rather than the numerous alt-universe characters and designs we’ve seen since. That means yer classic, flat-nosed lorry, red, white’n’blue Optimus Prime, with no flames and no lips. It’s even cel-shaded to resemble the cartoon. And! Many of the original voice cast return – not just Optimus’ Peter Cullen and Megatron’s Frank Welker, but also the guys who voiced Grimlock, Bumblebee and Sideswipe. In other words: it’s a love letter. Love letters can become cloying of course, but at least this way gonks like me finally get to discover whether the old ways really are the best ways.

2) It’s being developed by Platinum Games, they of Bayonetta, Vanquish and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. This means Proper Action Game Pedigree, as well as a Japanese studio getting a swing at Transformers (whose figures were Japanese-designed, though the fiction was cobbled together in the US) for a change. Revengeance lead Kenji Saito heads up the project, and it seems we’re in for more super-fast, super-fluid action. Transformation plays a part of involved-sounding, combo-based attack chains rather than being primarily a transport mode, and there’ll be ranged weapons aplenty, so it’s not just Bayonetta wearing bits of truck cab.

Is this the Transformers game this helpeless Transformers gonk has long desired? Well, kinda. Aesthetically, absolutely: those familiar character designs seem so clean and charismatic compared to Transformers games’ kibbly norm to me, so I’m dead excited about that, but clearly I’m looking at ’em through rose-tinted tech specs. In terms of mechanics, I’ve never been much of a one for high-speed, gazillion button brawlers, but maybe the nostalgia factor will drag me in deeper than I ever got with yer Devil May Crys and whatnot. It’s frankly bloody remarkable that this is happening.

For the record, it’ll be singleplayer-only, and you only get to control Autobots (specifically, Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Wheeljack and Grimlock), which is kind of a bummer. I’d love to see how they made a campaign mode out of turning into a cassette recorder or a little metal insect. And yeah, that’s Devastator, combined mode of the six Constructicons, at the end of the trailer. While Devastation is very obviously going for the G1 look, if you peer closely at the character designs it’s kind of a hybrid of that and the latter-day, modernised ‘Generations/Classics/Combiner Wars’ toyline. Which, probably not coincidentally, is about to release a new Devastator. And yes, I am spending far too much time trying to justify why I should buy it.

Devastation’ll be out before the end of the year, and more in-game footage is promised for later today, but in the meantime there are more details on how it plays over on GameRetailer.

30 Comments

  1. RedViv says:

    Still can not believe I am awake and this still exists.

  2. TheWhippetLord says:

    Without getting hopes up too much, this is the first E3 trailer to inspire any reaction from my leathery forty year old heart. I’m not proud. Put Grimlock in a CoD game and I’d probably buy it.

  3. PlaneShift says:

    I do not mean to be a party pooper, but the Legend of Korra game started like this and turned out to be quite crappy.

    • Premium User Badge

      kfix says:

      BURN THE POOPER

    • BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

      It’s a valid concern, but also worth remembering that was a cheaper game, this is a full-priced release. Hopefully that’ll be indicative that the game had more time and money put into it.

    • Dilapinated says:

      Actually I thought tLoK was pretty good! It had some annoying button-mashy sections that Platinum should really have removed from their ideas pool by now (seriously, just dunk the guy who keeps saying “..and at the end of the great boss fight, you have to mash A a million times or it gets reset!” in a bucket of cold water, he muddied up Bayonetta and tLoK), but other than that it was a solid beat ’em up that easily fits in with the Platinum/Clover pedigree.

      It was no God Hand 2 in terms of length or depth, but at the price point it didn’t need to be; It knew what it was, and it set out to do it well.

      • PlaneShift says:

        I actually agree with you that it was a solid beat ’em up, and I would be ok with the game if it was its own thing instead of pretending to be what it wasn’t, and it wasn’t a LoK game. It was a generic game with some LoK paint over it that I felt it insulted the series in many ways.

        They basically broke all the rules of the show and substituted their own, which makes me wonder why they needed the licence to begin with. Oh wait! I know! Nickelodeon needed a cash grabber…

  4. Spacewalk says:

    Personally I think it looks more like a comic book than a cartoon but it looks fantastic anyway so that’s really just splitting hairs.

  5. Fredrik Sellevold says:

    Hooray!
    This is the best news!

  6. Kirjava says:

    Why do all these articles say Bubblebee and not Bumblebee?

    • Optimaximal says:

      It’s a reference to the glaring typo in the original Best Buy leak.

  7. BTAxis says:

    For me, the dream Transformers game is a Super Robot Wars type deal, but with G1 Transformers. That’ll never happen. I’ll take this instead.

  8. Vesperan says:

    While my 7 year old self would have loved this, I can’t help but feel those robots need more heft. They’re meant to be tonnes of metal, and that video looked and felt like… plastic.

    • Fredrik Sellevold says:

      That wasn’t something I noticed in this video, but I know what you mean; one thing that annoyed me in the early part of Fall of Cybertron is when the Ark suffers a hull breach and Bumblebee is almost sucked out into space. That is a trope that is dumb even for lightweight humans, not to mention the question of why is there atmosphere in the robot spaceship anyway? ;)

  9. Philopoemen says:

    Hopefully they get the IDW guys to do the story…if there is one.

  10. SomeDuder says:

    Glad they went for the iconic characters and not the Bay-inspired mess of visual effects in which you couldn’t tell which overpaid robot-design was supposed to be which character.

  11. Snids says:

    Stan Bush soundtrack confirmed!

  12. marano says:

    FINALLY!

    The Americanised Transformers saga is utter trash, especially compared to the genius G1.

    • Premium User Badge

      Phasma Felis says:

      Um. The G1 cartoon was also American-made. The first couple of years of toy designs were from Japan, but they didn’t even look that much like the cartoon (since a lot of the toys were boxy and awkward and weirdly-proportioned, and the cartoon cleaned them up and made decent-looking characters out of them).

  13. EhexT says:

    It’s pretty disingenuous to call all new transformers trash – especially the Transformers games were 90% great. The shooters set on Cybertron from a few years ago were especially great – combining the old G1 aesthetic with a more modern one (and designs that aren’t based on vehicles from earth).

  14. Synesthesia says:

    Yes, yes! Fuck you fuck you fuck you michael bay!

  15. Monggerel says:

    That feeling when It Has to Be This Way: link to youtube.com

    • Monggerel says:

      here I thought I was being clever but turns out I’m just a dumb shit.
      oh.

  16. Bugste81 says:

    As a nostalgic 34 year old Dad of two this year I have jumped feet first into Transformers with the IDW comics and with constant negotiations and slieght of hand the Masterpiece figures. This is just what I hoped for (Did like the War/Fall of Cybertron games)