Transformers: War for Cybertron

Recently I got to speak with Matt Tieger, the director of the pending Transformers: War for Cybertron game that is being developed by Half Moon Studios and released by Activision. The game looks to be a very fun and refreshing new entry into the franchise and I want to thank Matt and Kelvin at Activision for arranging the interview with us here at Skewed and Reviewed.

What is the background and setting for the game?

The game is set on Cybertron during a civil war. There is a conflict about ideals such as freedom, cast, ideas, and so on. Megatron wants to reset things to a Golden Age of Cybertron and will do anything he has to in order to accomplish this. The game takes place at the conclusion of the war where the Transformers eventually have to leave Cybertron but are not sure where to go. It is a prequel to the story.

What game engine are you using and what does it allow you to do that was not possible in previous Transformers games?

We are using the Unreal engine which is very powerful and is what we used on an earlier Bourne Identity game. Since Cybertron is an all metal world, this allowed for us to make very big levels as our characters need lots of space. It also allowed us to really feature a great multiplayer experience.

What can you tell us about the various characters and the weapons of the game?

The game has four character classes, Scouts (cars), Scientists (jet), Leaders (trucks), and Soldiers (tanks). Each has various weapons and powerups available. Gameplay is very important to us and we’ve added a ton of options. Each character has four abilities such as dash, prevent transform, ammo beacon and so on. A character can have a combination of weapons and power ups.

Weapons are mixed ranging from earth style weapons like machine guns and rocket to more sci fi type weapons which will still have a familiar feel to them. There will also be a variety of rays that players can use to perform various tasks.

What can you tell us about the multiplay in the game?

This is a huge part of the game because we have spent thousands of hours playing and refining the hardcore experience. Everyday from 5 to 6 the staff is required to play multiplay because we’ve put a lot of time and effort in it.

What forms of multiplay will there be and how detailed can players be with customizing their online character?

We have games like capture the flag, plant the bomb, and the usual multiplay modes but they all have a Transformers twist to them. Players can pick their chassis and paint color so teams can be color coordinated. The game is limited to 5 versus 5, the number we think works best.

You had mentioned that the online play really tasks players to use strategy so would it be fair to say that players will have to mix between transforming into a jet to get to a locale quickly rather than just coming in with guns blazing unless that is what works for them?

Exactly, the game will make players use skills that are familiar to them but they have to go with what works in order to be successful and each player will be able to craft their own strategy.

In past games, there was some issues with having to hold down a key in order to transform and for many this hampered the experience. Has the team addressed this in the new game and if so, how?

We are using a familiar control scheme based on gears which for me is the best system in the world and if it is not broke, why change it. If you have played third person shooters then the game and controls should seem very familiar to any player. L3 transforms and melee is on the right so we use the same set of controls in all modes. You can even do straffing the same as in Gears. The game has a one button push to transform and you can enter a sort of hover mode where the wheels are up and you are floating for example in a car. The fact that you are transforming still allows you to fight should the need arise. It is fast, responsive and you can switch faster than ever.

Who is doing the voice work in the game?

Peter Cullen is of course doing Optimus and we have been very lucky that in working with Hasboro we have been able to get some great video game actors. We had one character where it was just not working and we were able to go in and record all new dialogue for him. We have some really great talent on board.

Will there be any differences between the versions of the game on the different systems?

No, it will be the same across the systems. We did not want to shortchange anyone.

What final thing would you like to tell the readers about the game?

While game based on licensed material can be a tough road, if you are a third person shooter fan, even if you have never played or watched Transformers before, I would be amazed if you did not like this game. We have a great toolbox, great action, and great multiplayer, and it is lots of fun.