BotCon 2010 Day 2: Activision – Transformers in Video Games

Matt Tieger from High Moon Studios and Aaron Archer on panel to talk about the development of "Transformers: War for Cybertron" and other aspects relating to WfC! Trade comments at our thread!

  • Game had been in development for two years
  • Matt's been with High Moon for seven years, talking about his previous projects, such as "The Bourne Conspiracy" and "Darkwatch"
  • Matt had wanted to do a story about the war on Cybertron since he was about 8 and talked about how basically he made the game he wanted to play
  • First thing they presented to Hasbro was a sketch of Bumblebee in robot mode and the one you see in the game is basically the same as what they originally sketched
  • Archer was very into it from the moment they had the first meeting
  • They wanted to make a great game – the team has worked together for a long time and they're all huge gamers, so they knew what needed to be done and what their strengths were to do the best job possible
  • Focus on multiplayer was a balance, and they were ruthless in pursuing that
  • Originally, skills and abilities were assigned based on the characters, such as fliers having stealth and sniper rifles in the first place, but they admitted that was a bad move and changed it very quickly
  • The reason for multiplayers' generic bots were so that there weren't 15 Starscreams at the same time
  • Escalation was designed with teamwork in mind, in that if you don't work together, you will be beaten
  • The reason for no new characters was because they already had plenty to choose from
  • There are 15 to 20 unique guys in single player
  • They chose other characters based on the story, with Optimus as the focus, although Bumblebee and Starscream get their love too
  • Hasbro really wanted Ultra Magnus, but they couldn't fit him into the game
  • Guys like Warpath and Barricade were put in for gameplay reasons and then they worked from there
    Warpath and Ironhide get some nice rivalry on one level (those that already played the game would know this)
  • Matt's all time favorite? Starscream, which is the reason for the sequence exploring why Starscream joins the Decepticons and why Megatron keeps him around, which is why he and Aaron both wanted to explore tha
  • Aaron said how they wanted to explore the rivalry between the Autobots and Decepticons, and particularly the rivalry between Optimus and Megatron
  • Zeta Prime and Sentinel Prime were the same guy, that was the way things moved so quickly, and full name is "Sentinel Zeta Prime"
  • For the bookworms, more WcC hardcover books are coming
  • Regarding downloadable content (DLC): completely committed on working to come up with a strategy, but they're not ready to announce anything yet, and nothing is confirmed nor denied
  • Matt doesn't want to put characters in the game he cannot do justice to, thus the reason for no Grimlock in the console versions; he felt that couldn't do Grimlock justice in exploring the Dinobot's story, much less in the mechanics. Same reason why no Triple Changers – their mechanics were too different to do them properly
  • Regarding a possible sequel, Matt really, really wants to do one and play around with different characters and concepts
  • On a bit of character designer, Bumblebee's was "the sexiest VW they could make", and the Decepticons were intentionally designed to be bulky and more like muscle cars
  • Matt isn't ashamed to say that he took a lot from "Gears of War", since as far as he was concerned, it was not broken so there wasn't any need to fix it
  • As for the Wii version's differences, it was because they used the UT engine which didn't work on it, so they had to farm out the production since High Moon didn't have the facility in-house to develop a Wii game
  • Aaron made an offhand comment on how he'd like to make a TF racing game; a "I would like to do that" type of remark
  • Next to Starscream, Breakdown was one of Matt's favorite characters
  • Barricade was one of the earlier characters, and Matt would love to go back and revisit/rework him. He's an amalgam of his movie and G1 version
  • Matt would often say to Hasbro "we need another jet" and Hasbro would suggest who they could use who could fit the role
  • The reason why Hot Rod was Hot Shot and not Rodimus was because storywise, Rodimus didn't fit, although it seems that Hasbro is cooking up something up about the story of Rodimus
  • Aaron commented on that with the launch of WfC and book, it heralds a new continuity, so take what you will
  • Aaron also mentioned that somewhere in the franchise, there will be something involving Beast Wars, while vague, there is much cheering, but it's another "take it as you will"
  • On voices, it was taken very seriously with tough choices regarding the original voice actors, as some of them sound older and wasn't how High Moon wanted for their visions of the characters
  • Hasbro and Activision have a lot of mutual respect and a great working relationship. Aaron says Activision knows what they are doing and they hope the partnership between the two will be long and fruitful
  • Regarding whether there will be more leader chases for the Decpticons, and more soldier chases for the soldiers, they can't commit to announcing what they plan to do on that yet, like with the DLC
  • On the possibility of more WfC toys, Aaron said Starscream is at the top of the list the next time Hasbro has a slot somewhere to do a WfC character as and when the opportunity presents itself
  • And to wrap things up, Matt said that they're trying to add more aspects into Escalation mode