Ironhide stands vigilantAfter letting us have some extended time with X-Men Origins: Wolverine: The Game last month, Activision then took us, along with a few other journalists, to a secret room to reveal the first secrets about the next Transformers game, based on the upcoming movie sequel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
The game had a few goals that development team Luxoflux (Vigilante 8, True Crime: Streets of LA, Shrek 2, Kung Fu Panda) established early: listen to the feedback, establish “player choice,” overhaul the mission system, make a Transformers game that’s fun for fans of every version of the franchise.
The “player choice” and new mission system give the gamer a much deeper experience with the Autobot or Decepticon of their choosing. The missions are a mix of non-linear and linear; there is a story they are trying to tell, but at any given time, you’ll havea few to choose from in your “Hub.” The grand majority of missions allow you to use any Autobot or Decepticon you’d like. If you’re a huge Bumblebee fan, you can play through most of the game using only your favorite Transformer. There are a few missions that require a specific type of ‘bot, though. We saw an assault on a huge contingent of aircraft carriers, and when you’re fighting jets, going from one Navy vessel to another, Starscream as a fighter jet takes the military downyou can only be Starscream. The scene they showed of this revealed a lot of depth to the dogfighting flying capabilities, as well as the hovering robotic form of the fan-favorite Decepticon.
One of the ways they’re trying to make this more of a Transformers game and less of a movie tie-in is by revamping how the transformations themselves happen. The motion is now very fluid and actually essential to the gameplay. We saw a sequence where Ironhide, an Autobot, is leading a human assault team in Shanghai. He quickly moves from robot to vehicle form to start careening through the streets. A Decepticon is perched high on a building; Ironhide builds up speed as a vehicle, then transforms, leaping with the momentum he already has, and lands right in front of the villain, ready to take him down. This kind of quick-switch will open up new ways to play and when mastered should make the experience unique to Transformers. It’s not just for show, either, as advanced maneuvers and combos will fill your “overdrive” meter. When full, it unleashes mass destruction as a ridiculous onslaught of weaponry pours out of your chosen character.
There are melee, charge melee, combos, primary and secondary weapons, plus special abilities unique to each bot. These are all upgradeable, along with the standard set of stats, and all upgrading is done between levels, back at the hub. There’s no ammunition count in the game; instead, a meter shows when your weapon is overheating, similar to how many shooters handle turrets. Speaking of turrets, that’s an example of a special ability; Ironhide can drop turrets to do Starscream hovers and shoots in Bot modesome of the fighting for him, a feature especially useful in the new multiplayer mode.
The announced multiplayer modes so far are the ‘ole standards; Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag were given with more modes promised to be revealed later. No numbers were given as far as how many players could fight at once, but huge Autobot vs. Decepticon battles were teased.
To close things out, the developers showed us the largest bot ever seen in Transformers mythos: Devastator. He’s an überbot, Voltron-style, made up of several (looked like about 50 or 60) smaller vehicles. It moved like a gorilla, and was big enough to use buildings as throwable objects. While the giant enemy thing has obviously been done before, the more-than-screen-filling scale of this one was pretty cool to look at and enticing to play.
The idea in a recession is to appeal to the largest base possible, the more “casual” gamers. To appeal to the hardcore fanbase, secondary and even tertiary challenges will be included in each mission. There will also be copious amounts of unlockables. The only things Activision was willing to confirm so far were concept art and covers of comic books from every era of Transformers. They did tease that they were working on more substantial unlockables for longtime fans, but wouldn’t confirm or deny if that meant episodes of the classic cartoon or something similar.
Optimus Prime fights in the Wii VersionThere will be a Wii game called Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, but it won’t be the same thing previewed here for 360, PS3, and PC. Krome Studios is developing the Wii game separately, with a heavy focus on “instant action and co-op” suited to the system’s unique style.
From this early preview, it looks like Activision will be releasing a capable third person shooter/driver/flier this summer, transforming the first “quick, pop out a game to go with this movie” into “hey, this is a cool property, why don’t we try to actually make it fun?” The early preview has us optimistic that they’ve learned from the mistakes of the first game, and are ready to deliver a fast-paced action-packed Transformers experience.