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Feature: Transformers: The Game
Some have come to protect us and some have come to smash our world to bits. Transformers: The Game producer Callum Godfrey tells us why it’s time to pick a side…
Giant robots from Outer Space who can transform into cars; and planes crash landing on Earth and beating the hell out of each other… if the basic premise of the Transformers movie doesn’t absolutely demand a video game tie-in then it’s hard to think what does. Fortunately Cheshire based software developers Traveller’s Tales, the chaps who brought you the funtastic Lego Star Wars series, have been hard at work harnessing the power of those Robots in Disguise to create an action-packed, carnage-heavy masterpiece.
“Early on in the process we all met in Activision’s [the game’s publisher] Santa Monica office and saw early shots of the film, character designs, scripts, concept art and so on,” says producer Callum Godfrey when asked about the game’s developmental phase.
“At this stage we already knew that the game needed to have big robots, and since it’s a Michael Bay movie it needed to have a lot of destruction to mirror the movie. This naturally led us to creating a game with fully destructible environments.”
Since the Transformers toy line first hit the shops in 1984 the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons have been seen in no end of cartoons, comic books and other spin-offs and have amassed a remarkable worldwide following, giving the producers of the game not only a lot of material to work with, but a lot of fan expectation to live up to.
“We did as much research as possible looking at anything Transformers related, including all previous games, the ‘Generation One’ shows, movies, comics and more,” reveals Godfrey, referring to the classic batch of Transformers characters and stories that surfaced between 1984 and 1991. “The number of influences that have had bearing on this project have been as varied as they have been vast.”
This wasn’t just any Transformers game though, but one based on Michael Bay’s long-awaited action extravaganza, the details of which Traveller’s Tales had access to even before the film began shooting in May 2006.
“From January last year we were given great access to information and assets regarding the film,” Godfrey recalls. “Set visits and face to face time with Michael Bay being the highlight of the time we have spent working on the project so far, where Michael actually showed us most of the movie, talked us through some of the key thoughts behind bits of it and even helped us with some of our own weapon design.”
Getting advice from the master of movie carnage himself and full access to all aspects of the film, the developer’s were able to expand upon the film’s story and even take it in some directions that fans of the evil Decepticons will really relish.
“The central storyline behind the game echoes that of the movie, where the Autobots and Decepticons have come to Earth looking for an object of great importance and we as the humans get caught in the middle of their galactic war,” explains Godfrey. “Because the game allows players to choose the faction for which they want to play, we had to come up with two different storylines. The Autobots story follows the key events and action from the movie and allows players to re-enact the movie for themselves. The Decepticons campaign follows the base elements of the movie, but takes a slightly different slant on things where the bad guys get a few lucky breaks leading to an alternative ending.”
by Chris Prince
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