Exclusive Transformers Game Interview!

This summer, gamers will control the outcome in the battle for Earth as they choose to protect it as Autobots or destroy it as Decepticons in Transformers: The Game, based on Paramount and DreamWorks’ highly-anticipated Transformers, opening in theaters on July 4. Players will experience the unstoppable power and massive scale of their favorite robots in the game, coming to PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PS2, PC, PSP and Nintendo DS. Visit the official game’s website for more info.

Superhero Hype! talked exclusively to Activision executive producer Daniel Suarez about the game:

SHH!: We’ve all seen the trailers for the “Transformers” movie. What can you tell us about the game? What kind of game will it be?

Daniel Suarez: “Transformers: The Game” is a 3rd person, action-adventure game, where you choose to play as either Autobots or Decepticons in an all out battle to gain possession of the All Spark (a mystical cube that gives life to all Transformers).

In the game, you’ll have the opportunity to play as your favorite Transformers – Optimus Prime, Star Scream, Bumblebee, Megatron and many more. Each character ranges in size from 12 – 30 feet in height and has the ability to convert at anytime from robot form into a variety of vehicles such as a car, truck, plane and helicopter. Each character has its unique set of moves, weapons and abilities to provide a unique playing experience with each character.

The choice you make at the start dictates the story line you’ll play, but ultimately, players can choose to play both sides for the complete game experience. The choice to destroy the earth or protect it is yours. The locations, missions and playable characters are different for the Autobots and Decepticons campaigns. The Autobots campaign takes place in the key locations of the film and elaborates in those areas for the biggest impact in terms of gameplay. The Decepticons campaign asks the question, “What if the Decepticons were able to win?” and lets you play it out that way. You get to play the Decepticons and blow everything in your path to bits playing as Megatron, Starscream and a squad of other deadly Decepticons at your control.

Lastly, we’re making a game that is for Transformers fans. Since the very beginning, we’ve been very conscious of the heritage of this brand and have worked hard to integrate characters, locations and even subtle acknowledgements to G1 anywhere we can. There are a lot of special surprises, unique elements and bonus features that fans will enjoy.

SHH!: Which Transformers will be in the game? Will the game feature any that aren’t in the film? Can you give a few examples of the things a player would be able to do as any of these characters?

Suarez: The console game features 9 playable Transformers – not including unlockable characters (and yes, there will be a handful). Some of the playable characters include Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Jazz for the Autobots; and Megatron, Starscream and Barricade for the Decepticons. You’ll have to play the game to find out the others. Each character has its own unique set of attacks, weapons, skills and most importantly conversions. The Decepticons side is much more focused on air combat with the primary vehicles being planes and helicopters, while the Autobots are focused on ground vehicles such as semi-trucks, sports cars, etc. This special dynamic is one of the key features that make “Transformers: The Game” different compared to any other game. Each character can approach a specific mission as vehicle or robot and change at any time. The way you deal with a situation can result in either success or failure.

SHH!: Can you tell us a little bit about the collaboration between Activision, Paramount and Habro?

Suarez: The collaboration between Activision, DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Pictures and Hasbro has been exciting and extremely beneficial to the creation of the game. We’ve been very fortunate in having access to materials from the film from the very start.

Working with Hasbro has been fantastic and we have established a strong creative relationship with Aaron Archer and his team at Hasbro. Aaron is the design director at Hasbro for Transformers toys and is a legend in the toy world. He and the folks at Hasbro Properties Group were very helpful in educating us to the world of Transformers (even our hardest core fans on the team learned something). They even allowed up to open up the Transformers archive and implement some unique and never before seen materials in the game as unlockables.

SHH!: Are you using images or models from the movie?

Suarez: We are implementing ILM Transformers character models from the film into the game. Through our collaboration with DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Pictures and Hasbro, we were able to witness first hand the direction that Michael Bay is taking with his vision of “Transformers” to the big screen. Simply stated, we were blown away from the start and to this day still get thrills in seeing their models in our game.

SHH!: For the game cut-scenes, are they comprised of movie footage or are there new sequences being produced for the game?

Suarez: We’ve taken a unique approach with the story line and have split the game into two campaigns – one good (Autobots) and one evil (Decepticons). Since our approach is a departure from the film story in some respects, we found it necessary to create our own story and have used in-game and CG cinematics to help illustrate both campaigns.

SHH!: How much freedom is given to the players in the game? Are the environments completely destructible? How do your motives change toward the game world if you are an Autobot or Decepticon?

Suarez: “Transformers: The Game” is played across seven unique locations adapted from the film story. In those worlds, everything is fully destructible. If you can shoot it, it can be destroyed…from buildings and air towers to even the smallest item like a parking cone. Additionally, throughout the world, players can interact with all types of objects such as street lamps, parking signs, 2x4s, etc., which are all at the player’s disposal to pick and throw or use as a weapon in combat.

Playing as Decepticons, the player’s motivation is for nothing to stand in the way of your objective. If you need to destroy everything in your path, then that’s your choice and you will ultimately be rewarded for it. The opposite holds true for the Autobots. They are here to save the Earth and players are given direction to protect the humans versus all out destruction. In the designing of the game, we’ve been very careful not to penalize the player for doing collateral damage.

SHH!: Who is developing the games for Activision and what have they done in the past? We hear the handheld versions of the game are different than the console versions. Care to enlighten us?

Suarez: Traveller’s Tales is leading the development of the console games on “Transformers: The Game.” Traveller’s Tales is most recently known for their success in developing the “Star Wars Lego” franchise and has been developing movie based videogames for over 15 years with success dating back to the old Sega Genesis version of “Toy Story” to “Chronicles of Narnia” last year. Traveller’s Tales’ strong history in being able to deliver captivating gaming experiences to players young and old, time and time again made them the ideal choice for “Transformers: The Game.”

Vicarious Visions is taking the lead on the Nintendo DS versions with two different games, “Transformers: Autobots” and “Transformers: Decepticons.” Each will focus on their namesake and much like the console version will give players a choice to protect Earth or destroy it.

Lastly, Savage Entertainment who developed Star Wars Battlefront on PSP is taking the lead on the Sony PSP version. The PSP version of “Transformers: The Game” has the widest variety of bonus characters of all the games. I can’t divulge which ones they are yet, but we’ve been very careful to pick a variety of well known characters and even some unique repaints that will appeal to all the Gen 1 Transformers fans out there.

SHH!: How much of the game storyline is from the movie? How did you go about expanding upon the story from the movie?

Suarez: “Transformers: The Game” takes a unique approach by giving the player the option to play as either Autobots or Decepticons. The game begins with a simple choice – Autobots or Decepticons? Do you want to Protect the Earth or Destroy it?

If the player decides to be the good guy, then their adventure will focus on the key plot points of the film where they come to Earth and are pitted against the Decepticons.

On the flipside, if the player decides to be evil and picks the Decepticons, the game story is uniquely different and answers the question, “What if the Decepticons win?” All the events in the Decepticons campaign never occur in the film and were created specifically for the game.

SHH!: The Transformers dates back a few decades, how are you going to keep the old-school fans happy along with the new fans from the movie? Any hints at unlockables?

Suarez: The goal from the very beginning was to ensure that we made a game that that is both for movie fans and the existing Transformers fans that grew up with the Gen 1 TV series, comic books, toys, etc. Of course you can say that this is a game based on the upcoming “Transformers” movie, but it’s not your traditional movie game. The dual campaign option to play Autobots or Decepticons completely throws that concept out the window and gives die-hard Transformers fans one thing they’ve always wanted – to be bad. With this game the choice is yours.

We’ve been very conscious to integrate characters, locations and even subtle acknowledgements to the die-hard fans anywhere we can. As you travel down the city streets you’ll recognize names, visuals and other notable tidbits that only die-hard fans will recognize. In addition, our unlockables will be based on a variety of assets from the movie, toys, comic books and various iterations of Transformers on TV. There are a lot of special surprises that we think the established fans will enjoy including some rare and never been seen before treasures from the Hasbro archives.

Source: Superhero Hype!