We spoke with Dave Cravens, Senior Creative Director, High Moon Studios about the new Transformers: Fall of Cybertron game. I saw the game at E3 and Comic Con and it looks amazing. I want to thank Dave for answering our questions and also Kelvin at Activision for setting up the interview.
What is the background and setting of the game?
Tranformers: Fall of Cybertron takes place at the tail end of the civil war between Autobots and Decpeticons on their home planet of Cybertron. When our story starts, the good guys have lost. The planet core is so damaged its shutting down. Energon, their life giving fuel, is in scarce supply.
Optimus Prime has just made the hardest call of his relatively short career as leader of the Autobots—that its time to leave their home forever. But Megatron, leader of the Decepticons, isn’t about to let that happen. He blames the Autobots for everything that’s happened to Cybertron and aims to wipe them out before he can set the world right again. The story takes place millions of years before the Transformers ever came to Earth, and does a great job of explaining why Earth is so important to them.
How many playable characters will there be?
A ton–each with its own distinctive personality and special power to really add a lot of variety of gameplay for the player. When I play as Starscream, I can cloak, jet around and take enemies from behind before they even know I’m there. When I play as Jazz, I have a grappling hook that gets me in and out of trouble.
When I play as Optimus Prime, I can call in artillery strikes and order my city-sized buddy named Metroplex to step in and shatter buildings. When I play as Bruticus I’m a combination of five transformers into one! And of course when I play as Grimlock, I’m a fire breathing space T-rex!!!! There is so much more, but I don’t want to ruin all the surprises.
What are some of the weapons as well as transformation options players will be able to select from?
In the single player we’ve added a lot of new weapons, each of which can be upgraded or swapped out in our Teletraan store that players will encounter throughout the campaign. Transformation itself is always a game changer. With the exception of Grimlock, who has to earn his transformation into a T-rex by building RAGE, players can transform at any time and any place. WHAT you transform into, of course, varies from character to character. Starstream can change into a jet. Cliffjumper can change into a speedy little hovercar. Megatron turns into a tank. Each vehicle has its own weapons, feel, and strategy as to how to best play them.
What forms of mulitplayer will the game feature?
Fall of Cybertron has everything you would expect from a great multiplayer game, but on top of all that we give you a powerful character creator. For the first time, players can really create the transformer they imagine in their head and customize it like never before. Head, torso, arms, legs, everything you would want to change you can. You can even dictate how much of a metallic sheen you want on your creation: old school G1 matte? Or sporty race car reflection? It’s all up to you.
Is it harder or easier to make a prequel game covering areas not seen in the films and games and why?
Not being tied directly to a movie can be very liberating. We’ve established a great trust with Hasbro over the years and they were great in allowing us to tell the story we wanted to tell, and make the game we wanted to make. They know we’re going to treat their characters and franchise with the utmost respect, as we’re fans of Transformers ourselves.
What game engine are you using and what does it allow you to do that was not possible in previous Transformers games?
We use Unreal 3 and have been for quite a few games now. With each game, we add a little more functionality to help our development process, a little more tools to allow for more iteration on ideas. It’s really about freeing up the team to try ideas out as quickly as possible, and then seeing whether those ideas are something worth pursuing or something to throw out. The better tools we give our designers and artists, the better game we can make in the time we have. Having used Unreal 3 for many years now and I think we hit a very good stride on this game that has paid off in dividends.
What have been some of your greatest challenges as well as triumphs in creating the game?
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again—I feel that we’ve created the DEFINITIVE TRANSFORMERS GAME OF ALL TIME. No kidding. We threw everything we had at this one, and then some. So to see it all come together in the end, that was very satisfying. Ultimately fans and critics will be the final judges, but I’m convinced we’ve got a shot to make some history with Fall of Cybertron.
Who is doing the voice work in the game?
We have several veterans voicing our game. Of course, Peter Cullen reprises his role as Optimus Prime. Gregg Berger, the voice of the original Grimlock from the cartoon has delivered a wonderfully more mature performance in our creation. Nolan North lends his great talents as Bruticus and Cliffjumper. There are so many, and they’re all world class performers. It’s been a real honor working with them.
What final thing would you like to tell the readers about the game?
If you’re a Transformers fan—THIS IS THE GAME YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR. Seriously, if you don’t believe me just download our demo and see for yourself. That’s just a hint as to what you’ll get with the full version. If you’re NOT a Transformers fan, but have always been on the cusp wondering—“Well it looks cool– maybe.” No maybe. THIS IS THE GAME YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR. We took a lot of care in crafting a story and game that both satisfies hard core fans, but also allows newcomers to experience and appreciate this wonderful franchise!