February 9, 2007 - LEGO Star Wars fans should know the name "Traveller's Tales" pretty well. The Cheshire-based studio developed both titles in the popular videogame series and is also responsible for such projects as The Chronicles of Narnia, Crash Twinsanity, and most of the Saturn-based Sonic the Hedgehogs. The team's latest venture is Transformers: The Game, Activision's licensed homage to this summer's upcoming (and incredibly expensive) motion picture.
To get the 411 on how things are turning out, we sent a number of email questions to producer Andy Burrows a few weeks back. And while some of the details released today weren't yet known at the time, he still managed to shed some light on what we can expect in the finished product...
IGN: What can you tell us about the ability to play as either the Autobots or Decepticons? Will there be two distinct campaigns?
Andy Burrows: Yes, there will be two distinct campaigns for each of the different factions. The Autobot campaign follows the plot of the movie. The Decepticon campaign puts a spin on some of the critical moments in the film. You'll be able to take control of most of the Transformers from the movie as you play through the missions, so you'll be able to reenact all those cool movie moments that you saw on the big screen.
IGN: How will the destructible environments affect gameplay? Are they really 100% destructible, or just certain, pre-designated spots?
Optimus Prime (official motion picture art) Burrows: It is really important for us to convey a real sense of scale with the game and in order to do that we made everything destructible and interactive - buildings can be smashed, objects such as lampposts can be ripped from the ground and used as weapons, cars and buses can be picked up and thrown at attacking helicopters. It's quite easy to cause a massive amount of havoc, but you'll run the risk of ticking off the police, the military or other forces.
IGN: How will players be able to take advantage of each Transformer's two forms? Is there any point to fighting a boss battle as a car or boombox?
Burrows: We set out to design the robot functionality in such a way that the player wouldn't think of the vehicle and robot forms as being different components of the game. We wanted the ability to transform from a robot into a vehicle and back to be as intuitive and as useful as a punch, a run or a jump. So, for example, if you're slugging it out in combat with a thirty-foot robot and he transforms into a heavily armed jet, you have the option of switching to a car and darting for cover. Likewise, you could be the one to fly into combat and turn into your robot mode for a surprise attack!
IGN: Will you feature the ability for some Transformers to be able to join together and create a "master" Transformer, like how the Constructicons can form Devastator?
Burrows: Most of the characters in our game are based on the characters in the movie. However, we do have a couple that we've created specifically for the game. When you see some of the characters, you'll notice we pay homage to some popular G1 stars throughout the game.
IGN: Will you be able to accurately portray Starscream's punk-ass ***** attitude?
Burrows: All of the characters are based on their movie counterparts and their individual personalities will definitely shine in the game.
IGN: Will humans play a part in the game at all?
Burrows: A couple of human characters from the film will make appearances in the game, though they won't be playable.
IGN: How will the game take advantage of the different platforms that it's set to ship on? For example, will it make use of the PS3's motion sensing, the Wiimote to great extent or anything else along those lines?
Burrows: The core game mechanics are the same across platforms, even if the game plays differently due to the control mechanics. The next-gen platforms also allow us to push the visuals further and increase the complexity of the background systems such as AI, physics and destruction.
IGN: How closely will the game tie into the movie? Will the film's voice actor's provide the voiceover work?
Burrows: The game will tie closely to the movie. Having the talent from the film is great for adding a sense of consistency between the movie and the video game and we hope to tap some of the movie talent.
IGN: Lastly, will the transformation sound be taken directly from the old cartoon? That sound is seriously awesome.