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Hasbro's claims about classic Transformers games being lost on Activision's hard drives were made "in error"

UPDATE: Hasbro "apologize to Activision and regret any confusion"

Optimus Prime faces a massive Decepticon in Transformers: Devastation
Image credit: PlatinumGames/Activision/Hasbro

Update: Hasbro have now clarified their previous comments, claiming they were made "in error":

“To clarify, comments that suggest Transformers games have been lost were made in error. We apologize to Activision and regret any confusion; they’ve been great partners, and we look forward to future opportunities to work together.”

Original story: Transformers owners Hasbro have said they would like to see older video games based on the beloved toy franchise to make a return - except those games are lost somewhere on a hard drive inside Activision.

Acitivison was responsible for publishing Transformers games on PC and consoles for over a decade from 2006 to 2017, putting out both direct movie tie-ins like the imaginatively-titled Transformers: The Game and adaptations of Michael Bay’s two live-action sequels, Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon, as well as original Transformers games.

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Those original games are definitely the more interesting potential here, including 2010’s War for Cybertron and its 2012 sequel Fall of Cybertron, which I remember having good, B-game fun with at the time. (Please nobody ruin my definitely-accurate memories.) The two games were followed by another sequel, Rise of the Dark Spark, which combined the video games’ lore with the events of the Michael Bay movies.

Activision’s last Transformers game was 2015’s Devastation, a cel-shaded hack-and-slash from Bayonetta studio PlatinumGames, of all developers. The cel-shaded look draws from the original Transformers cartoons rather than the industrial grimdark Bay films, with the game also seeing the return of original voice actors from the TV show.

After Activision’s licensing deal expired with Hasbro in 2017, all of the publisher’s Transformers games were pulled from sale on digital stores, making it impossible to play them today through convenient, legitimate means unless you already own a disc and play via Xbox backwards compatibility.

That’s something that even Hasbro would like to change, with the team telling Transformer fansite Transformer World 2005 that they would love to see the games re-released. Part of the problem, Hasbro says, is that the games have ended up lost in Activision’s many mergers and acquisitions over the years.

"Sadly, apparently Activision’s not sure what hard drives they’re on in their building,” they said. “When a company eats a company that eats a company things get lost, and that’s very frustrating.”

Hasbro added that they already have everything for Fall of Cybertron and some of the War for Cyberstorn assets, but had to boot up an old PC and rip them from the original game files to find them. Apparently Activision kept unhelpfully sending concept art when asked for the assets, which doesn't exactly bode well.

That said, salvation may apparently be at hand if the Microsoft acquisition of Activision goes through, with Hasbro optimistic that Microsoft might dig out the older Transformers games and bring them to Game Pass.

“Hope is that now that the deal is moving forward with Microsoft and Xbox that they’ll go through all of the archives and every hard drive to find it all, because it’s an easy Game Pass add,” Hasbro said. “We want those games back up for people to have a chance to play."

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As for future video games, Hasbro said “everything is always on the table” - expressing enthusiasm to partner with pretty much anyone who puts a good enough idea forward.

“We definitely want to partner with video game companies, clearly Nintendo partnered with Lego and they made a Nintendo system, or there was the Super Nintendo Transformer at one point in Japan, like we would love to be able to do something along those lines,” they said. “Any company out there, like I don’t know, a partnership with Sega, a partnership with Microsoft or something, Sony – even just to make a Playstation, would be awesome.”

They’re already teamed up with Gears Tactics makers Splash Damage to make Transformers: Reactivate, a co-op action game that featured a lot more boring fleshy humans in its trailer than you might hope for from a series where massive robots can turn into cool fighter jets or friggin’ dinosaurs.

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