I don't know a Rod, actually. But if I did, I would definitely be telling him that this news is hot. At least once a year since RPS has formed I've whined "whyyyyyyyyyyyy doesn't someone make a Transformers MMO?" Even the news that there was to be one purely for the Asian market didn't shut me up. I do whine a lot. However, hearing that UK MMO devs Jagex, best known for Runescape and War of Legends, are on the case with their own Hasbro-sanctioned, reconfigurable-plastic themed game, means my slightly over-large man-child ears prick up fully. That's just prime.
We have absolutely no details, unless you consider the confirmation that it will feature both Autobots and Decepticons to be any kind of news. That's a bit like saying a World War II strategy game will include both Axis and Allied forces.
We do have a release date, however: next year. Which is interestingly after the forthcoming, execrably-titled third Michael Bay movie, Dark of The Moon. That's claimed to be Bay's last stab at the franchise (this is probably a good thing, although at least he now admits that the second film was pretty horrific), so will the Jagex game entail continuing the spiky, insectoid Transformers movieverse while everyone works out what to do about the inevitable fourth film/reboot? I hope not, and I suspect not - those many-angled thingies must be a damned site harder to render than the more simple traditional Transformers designs.
It could instead be based on the newish Transformers cartoon, Prime, which is supposed to be a sort of pan-fictional mashup of the various contradictory Transformers universes out there. I've not seen the show bar a couple of clips so can't attest to quality, but the robots designs look unsatisfyingly weird to me. Soundwave's just a sort of triangle without a face, for Primus' sake:
Could it be set somewhere brand new, so as not to clash with anything exsiting? Or will it be good old, blocktastic Generation 1 (i.e. the 80s toyline)?
I'd be lying if I said I hoped it was anything but the latter, but so long as it involves a character creation tool of breathtaking scope I shall be happy. What I certainly don't want is the very limited number of archetypes and character designs found in last year's sturdy but underwhelming Activision-made War For Cybertron. It's 'robots in disguise,' not 'robots in disguise as each other with slightly different colours.' City of Heroes with robots would pretty much do the job for me.
Here's the key quote, from Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard: “Transformers is one of the most iconic brands in the world and we are delighted to team up with Hasbro in order to bring our shared vision to reality.
"There is a huge appetite for an online Transformers game and we will utilize every bit of our development and publishing expertise to deliver a dynamic and action-packed game that Transformers fans will find irresistible.”
For some reason he wrote Transformers in capitals every time. So presumably this is more likely to be called TRANSFORMERS Online than Transformers Online. Er. Yes, journalism.
Oh - while I was checking back former Transformers stories, I noticed I'd posted that the Chinese TF MMO is also Westward-bound. Hum. Does this mean we're also in for a boardroom-based War For Cybertron, then?