One of the most divisive franchises in Hollywood, the Transformers films have raked in billions at the global box office – but remain a source of enduring frustration for many longtime fans of the “Robots in Disguise.” After it was first announced that the Cybertronians would be headed to the big screen with Michael Bay at the helm, it quickly became clear that Paramount Pictures’ live-action film series would be a major departure from the animated series that made the franchise a household name in the 1980s and 1990s.
However, even as Paramount is preparing a Transformers shared movie universe, diehard fans of the comic books and animated TV series got their fix in High Moon Studios’ Cybertron game series (War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron) – which drew heavily from iconic Transformers characters and lore, while delivering fun third-person driving and shooting gameplay. Yet, when High Moon Studios shifted focus to work on Deadpool and support Destiny development, fans were left without a triple-A Transformers game series. That is, reports began to surface that Platinum Games (Bayonetta) was working on a new Transformers game.
Now, thanks to E3 2015, we’re getting our first official look at Transformers: Devastation in a brief teaser trailer (which you can see at the top of the page). The announcement video is short on details; instead, relying on showcasing the game’s beautiful cel-shaded graphics, G1 Transformer designs, and vehicle-robot combo-fighting mechanics – all of which should be a welcome return to form for established fans.
Fortunately, where the video only offers a sneak peek at the fundamentals game, Platinum Games has taken to the PlayStation Blog to provide players a better idea of what to expect from the actual gameplay.
In the post, Devastation director Kenji Saito, indicates that the new Transformers title will allow players to take control of five different Autobots: Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Wheeljack, and Grimlock. While the studio could, potentially, add DLC down the line allowing fans to play as Decepticons, it sounds as though (for the first time in several games) that players will be limited to the Autobot side only. The lack of a Decepticon campaign will likely be disappointing for fans of Starscream, Megatron, and the rest of the series’ malevolent baddies, but in exchange, Saito is promising “an electrifying comic book-inspired story” – taking place on both Earth and Cybertron. The video only features one Earth setting (an urban city locale) but, without a doubt, fans will be eager to see how Platinum Games has tackled recreating the iconic G1 Cybertron.
As for how the game will actually play, Platinum Games is known best for over-the-top brawler/shooter action – though, based on the new video, it looks as though Devastation may be more the former than the latter. As Saito suggests, and the video shows, Platinum Games appears to be wholeheartedly embracing the franchise’s vehicle/robot mechanic – with combat that outright links the two in combos.
Saito lists some fun possibilities, a few of which are also shown in the video:
Send an enemy flying with a punch in robot mode, switch to vehicle mode and slam into it, then finish by unleashing a huge attack. Accelerate to top speed in vehicle mode and switch back to dropkick the enemy. Switch modes again to evade the enemy’s attack, counter, and follow up with a relentless combo.
Dedicated Transformer fans will also be excited to hear that the developer has, like High Moon Studios before, enlisted the help of top-tier voice talent to ensure that Devastation is as true to its G1 roots as possible – with Frank Welker (who originally voiced Megatron and Soundwave, among others), Dan Gilvezan (Bumblebee), and Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime) on board for the game. Even though players won’t be able to play as Decepticon characters, Saito insists that “electrifying” story will feature several classic hero versus villain match-ups – which, based on the footage, could rival the Cybertron series for memorable cinematic moments (such as the epic introduction of Constructicon combiner Devastator).
That all said, players hoping for a game that’s as big as the High Moon entries may want to temper their expectations a bit – given that Platinum Games appears to be doing something different (not worse/not necessarily better) with the property, when compared to the Gears of Wars-like gameplay approach of the War for Cybertron game series. Time will tell where Devastation falls on the spectrum of Transformers game titles – but with a strong pedigree of success in prior games, Platinum Studios should bring some interesting ideas to the franchise, not to mention some genuinely fun nostalgia for longtime fans that haven’t captured the attention of die-hard Transformers fans.
Transformers: Devastation does not have an official release date (yet) but will arrive on PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Windows platforms this fall.