Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Transformers: The Game Promotional Event, Santa Monica, CA

by: perceptor

Not unlike the Transformers Movie Preview Event in Feb of 2007, we were thrilled to receive a "Save the Date" invitation to a special event to promote the upcoming release of Transformers: The Game. It was held in Santa Monica, CA, very close to the Activision Headquarters and office of Michael Bay. We started the day meeting everyone at brunch. In addition to, the audience included representatives from Tformers, Vicarious Visions (makers of the Transformers Game for Nintendo DS, Step3, Allspark, Seibertron, collectionDX, planettransformers, Activision, tfarchive, and tfw2005. I thought you might enjoy this little video showing those in attendance to get an idea of the faces behind the websites...

That's me on the left.

more dinobot set props?

Autographed TF Game poster

The Game: development team members

Set props for TF2?

in disguise on

by Shia, Megan, Peter and Frank

"the press"

with step3

The event began at noon on June 6, 2007 at which time we were introduced to Daniel Suarez Executive producer of Activision. He began by assuring us that he would provide many new images and videos. True to his word, they did! The images you see above and below are of Transformers The Game as seen on Playstation 3. Each of the images below are links to larger full resolution images. Transfans, if non-other, you've got to check out the full size image of Jazz and Starscream (above left)! It absolutely rocks. Among many observations I made at the event, one thing that stood out is Starscream's size. He is HUGE and looks absolutely badass. Beyond that I will tell you that I was absolutely blown away by the level of detail I saw in every scene.

Following Daniel's brief introduction we were shown the computer animated introduction which will play on the PS3 Xbox360 and Wii version of The Game. Here's what I wrote in my notes, "WOOOOOOOOOOOOW!" It's narrated by Peter Cullen and contains footage of Cybertron, better than any Transformers cartoon we have ever seen. No kidding, it absolutely knocked our socks off. It began with Frenzy rummaging around a mountain of cybertronian wreckage, he is crushed under the foot of (presumably) Megatron as the story of the Allspark Cube is told. Wish I could remember more. Like I said, my notes are sketchy. I couldn't allow myself to blink, much less type notes!

To the right, you'll see pictures of the event itself. After further commentary on the game, we were divided into groups and allowed about 25 minutes to play each game. Shown below are 5 pictures of Transformers: The Game on XBox360.

playing "The Game" on PS3 on the left and Xbox360 on the right


C. Sonny exec director explains game play on PSP

Allspark member Daniel Ross, the voice of Starscream in TF game


Here are some random quotes I managed to get as the development team spoke.

* Transformers The Game has taken 18 months of production

* Development team worked closely with Michael Bay and Hasbro and given amazing access to all things confidential. They were even provided ILM models to reconstruct in video game form. I'll tell you now, these things look closer to the movie than the toys!

* Fans of Beast Wars Transformers will recognize the name David Sobolov as the man who voiced Depth Charge. He is also playing a role in the game as "Sector 7 Drones."

* "There are tons of hidden characters."

* Development team has been thrilled working with this project. They are fans and excited about the "redefinition of a franchise" and excited to fill in many of the blanks of the story not fully explained in the movie.

* Unlike other fan lines, they knew their work would be scrutinized. That's why it was so important to them that the developers themselves were Transformers fans themselves.

* Of the 12 movie Transformers characters, 9 are playable.

* Starts with play of bumblebee. Details unbelieveable, movie accurate and breathtaking level of detail.

* Careful attention to robot's scale. Bumblebee bumblebee 15 feet tall. Optimus is ~30-something.

* 3 pilars of the game: Environment interaction/destruction, scale and (transformation) modeling.

Below are more images of Transformers: The Game as seen on Wii.

* Unlockable comics also showed BB climbing building jumping from roof top to roorftop. Each level has 30 energon cubes. Each unlock special features.

* We were shown unlockable, G1 Optimus Prime! AWESOME, looked very much based on Masterpiece Optimus Prime self.

* Game also include other G1 throwbacks, for example, we saw a scene with “Seaspray Fish and Chips" billboard!

* Developers saw a great opportunity to incorporate best components of video games: excellent combat play, can drive as car and also a ~flight simulation when playing as most Decepticons which are aeronautical.

* Goal was to make anything and everything in the game environment fully destructible. This a “bull in a china shop" scenario. Showed bumblebee picking up trees, whacking Barricade.

* Showed Jazz fighting Starscream. Aerial Decepticion characters have "afterburners" and cars have "nitro" to boost speed in vehicle mode.

* We heard Jazz voice after he defeated Starscream, "If I were you I would’ve called for back up too." Although I couldn't immediately identify actor, it had a definite very cool, african american sound.

* Worked new 4 new toy characters Dreadwing swindle...

* While Jazz in play, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) narrating throughout.

* Unlockable characters: special attention to G1 fan wish list, unlockable G1 Optimus G1 Megatron. Important to create a game about the movie but still cater to the masses of G1 enthusiasts.

* We saw G1 Optimus fighting Shockwave a triple changer: turret cannon, helicopter and robot, but still looked very G1 Shockwave like.

After having an great time playing on all of the higher end systems, I had a chance to play on the new portable hand-held game systems Nintendo DS and PSP. Each has it's own unique game play and graphics (Images below). Then, it was another knock our socks off moment, we were brought into another room for a Q&A session with special guests including Peter Cullen and Transformers Movie producer Tom DeSanto along with Daniel Suarez Executive producer of Activision, C. Sonny Executive Director of The Game for PSP, and Rob Caminos (sorry if I've misspelled!) Executive Director of The Game for Nintendo DS.

Unfortunately, we were not allowed to video or audio record the session so again, here are some a compilation of the notes taken during the Q&A session:

Q: Were you fans of Transformers prior to taking on this project?
Artists are huge figure fans of Transformers, C. Sonny described a scene at their office where he literally couldn't navigate to a desk of of one of his designers because it was SO full of Transformers, new and old, forign and local domestic! When it came his turn, Peter Cullen jokingly replied, “No, but I have a few gobots!"

Q: Having seen the film/game, how do you thin it turned out?
Tom: Desanto. It works on 2 levels, whether you're an uber fan or not. And you can tell you the thought and care that went into every moment from start to finish. Daniel Suarez talke about earning the trust of Michael Bay. That concern was high that info or images would leak out... Once trust established they had unfettered access and how instrumental this was to the final product.









Q: What issues did you run into that you didn't expect.
A: Complexity of transformation. Blow us away… Also not knowing things like, who’s doing voice of Megatron… Despite being receptive to being open, took awhile to get info because for a long while only the mind of Michael Bay knew...

Q: For Peter how was it working with Frank Welker again?
A: Incredible talent, funny… When we’re both together it’s like a fuse… in a great way. Great to bring back memories of working together, a trip down memory lane. Every day was like that. The guy’s a genius.

Q: I don't remember the question, but the answer from Tom DeSanto was great!
We see this story (Transformers Movie) as so good, it could be the representative of films for this generation's. We had Star Wars, they will have/think of Transformers. And that's really what it's all about! Sure, we need to appeal to the longtime classic Transformers fans, but to make this franchise the success it can be, we feel it must (and does) appeal to a very road range of age fans. The goal here should be to to create a whole new generation of fans

Below see images of Transformers the Game, as seen on Nintendo DS

Q: What about this project fires you up?
A: I believe it was Daniel Suarez who talked about how Transformers property makes great sense as a video game! He compared it to Ratatouille. Sure, that may be a great movie but think about trying to develop a video game about a rat in France who wants to become a chef?! Versus all that transformers has to offer...

Q: Has the role of Optimus Prime changed from G1 to the new movie?
A: Peter Cullen answered, Optimus became more human, increasingly more believable… more of a sense of humor. Otherwise, the same character we know and love. Peter loves the design, absolutely blown away but it.

"I think working w/ M Bay is incredible and thrilling to work w/ such talent…having the confidence just a sense of human with I thin the believability factor is huge. All the original character is there. I think it’s going to be a remarkable experience."

He continued to discuss his experience working with Michael Bay, "I have tremendous respect for Michael and people he works with. I was open to any creative approach, he just wanted me to do my thing.

"There are some new angles, but by and large the orginal character (O.P.) is not frayed or stretched in any way. In fact he’s more powerful and grasps a human experience better than the original.

...This game is is mind boggling! I mean geez if I had access to that when I was a kid, I wouldn't have got anything done!

Q: Difference between working for Michael Bay versus Wally Burr (voice director for G1 animation):
A: W/ Wally 14 of us in 1 room. The challenge was trying to keep control… With Bay, worked singularly and in front of the screen. "This guy, wow if he had a uniform on he could run an amy!"

Below, see images of Transformers The Game as seen on the personal hand-held PSP.

Q: I asked Tom DeSanto, how well this film has to do in the box office to insure that there'll be a Transformers 2?
A: I essentially got a non-answer, if it does well, there will be more movies... (no surprise).

Q: Can we expect any TF hype post 7/4?:
A: Yes, Post July 4, momentum downloadable Xbox, continue adventures w/ games, DS and advertising.

Q: I asked, how long did each work on their respective projects?
A: Peter Cullen answered his personal experience on the movie only about 11 days, rehearsals. Short. They teased him because about taking an extra day because he insisted on only only red M&Ms!! (I think they were joking, although not entirely sure.)

Tom I’m the fan boy who snuck under the fence started w/ X-men, then to Galactica. I’ve been tracking Transformers, so the release of this film will be the completion of a dream started years ago.

...Even the jaded bunch at ILM kept mentioning Jurassic Park … goal to put forward their must unique and never before seen fottage of any film they have ever done...

Activision and Hasbro joined forces mid to late ’05. That’s when pre-production began. Started in Nov in 05 and things progressed. Fascinating watching ideas start and evolve… All the different perspectives and compromises.. . Hardest thing, Developing trust. Activision developoing becoming part of the inner circle (of Bay's) and made life so much easier. Making us get a better product.

PSP hit full steam then Dec of ’05 about 10 months of full time development…

Nintendo DS took ~8 months. " Jamming all of us so committed to the property. We’re put in a lot of love and care. No one asked us to put in the weekends then the 16 hour days, we did it because we’re all such huge fans of Transforemrs and we’ll be damned if it doesn’t become the best thing we’ve done..."

Q: How about DVD extra features.
A: (Tom DeSanto)
David Prior iis putting together the fantastic package. Can’t give anyway but was asked specificially about High Def... he said, keep your fingers crossed!

Before concluding, Peter Cullen, in true Optimus Prime fashion expressed his sincere gratitude. He asked us webmasters of Transformers fan sites to extend to everyone his sincere gratitude,

"...You guys went to bat for me and it’s touched my heart and I want to make sure you know how much it has meant to me..."

And that about wrapped things up!

After the Transformers The Game promotional event, I got my movie poster signed then my wife and I went out and had a little fun. Walking along the beach in Santa Monica the next day provided another nifty little surprise. Can you tell I'm an uber fan? Ah, yeah. Who else would get so excited about a garbage can, just because it's got the face of Optimus Prime and Megatron on it! So, have you ever wondered what 50+ Transformers the Movie promotion garbage cans would look like all in the same place? Wonder no longer fellow fans, because now you'll know! Hope you've enjoyed the report.

"Keep our Beaches Clean!"

Surf's up in Santa Monica, CA

more still

That's me, fired up about a garbage can! HA!


I count 43 altogether!

Lukis Bros.
Transformers Collector Site