BotCon in Hasbro's Backyard
(griffin's 2007 BotCon report)
From left - Brad (marketting), Jerry (Hasbro licensing), Eric, Chako(?), someone who worked on the DS game , Daniel, and someone from Activision UK (I'll look for the missing names and roles later)
This presentation was for the Movie game, out this year.
The panel started with a 10 minute game trailer and a behind-the-scenes video.
In July/August 2005 Hasbro came to Activision. They were then
educated in Transformers (see Hasbro Movie panel), and they met with the
The focus of the game was Transformation, Scale and Destruction. They noticed that the fandom was divided into fans of Autobots and Decepticons, and used it as a theme for the game (with the DS having the two allegiance versions).
They saw the early animations by ILM about 2 years ago for guidance and inspiration. The main problem they encountered was the game animators needed to work on mechanics, movement and weaponry early in their develoment process, but the movie dealt with those things really late in their own process. They were therefore very collaborative with ILM, to make sure the game and Movie were as close as possible.
They also worked closely with Hasbro to get the personalities of existing characters right, and to get approval on their own original drones, which Hasbro later used some to create toys from. The game needed cannon fodder characters, so the Animators created about 9 or 10 drones, and when Hasbro did up toys, the animators were just blown away.
Due to their differing production timings, the Activision had to do
a number of things their own way, like the Voice cast and the unlockable
Gen1 content and characters.
- Voice actors - since the Movie Voice Actors weren't to be signed up until March/April, the game needed the voices recorded by January, so went with their own choices, including Peter Cullen and Frank Welker. They mentioned how awesome it was to be working with Peter, since they are just huge fans.
- Gen1 content - the unlockable content mentioned were to be able to play as Gen1 Optimus and Megatron, and Movie Starscream and Jazz coloured as their Gen1 decos (like the upcoming Target exclusive recolours) on all console versions of the game.
There is some sort of US Target exclusive version of the game (not likely to be released here, so I'm not too fussed in finding out much about it), and Target actually approached Activision to do it (in addition to all the other versions of the game), as part of Target's big Movie Marketting campain.
Activision tried to be as real as possible with the transformations, and not cheat like ILM's movie transformations (their words, not mine), unless it was necessary. They did speed up the transformations to make the game more playable, especially in multi-player formats, because as nice as it looks to watch, it would leave them rather vulnerable in combat.
Differences between some of the console versions:
- PS3 and Xbox have higher graphics, and able to use the '6-axis' controller for the aerial vehicles.
- Wii has mid detail graphics, and you can use the Wii-mote for shooting and melee fighting.
- PS2 has the low end of the graphics scale.
The two different NDS versions were mentioned as having completely unique levels and missions (maybe different to the Autobot and Decepticon missions in the regular console versions?)
They mentioned the Allspark wars on their http://www.transformersgame.com website generating a lot of interest and people playing online through the website for hours at a time to rake up the points for the site's overall allegience tally (Autobots vs Decepticons). There was also mention of the http://ds.transformersgame.com/ website, which has something similar.
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