Activision has been showing off Transformers: War for Cybertron recently, and eyewitness accounts seem to indicate that developer High Moon Studios is onto a winner. At the very least, War for Cybertron looks like it has potential to be one of a handful of Transformers games that are actually good.
The artistic direction is terrific, the faithfulness to the G1 spirit is promising, and the gameplay is allegedly pretty damn solid. That said, this latest interactive interpretation of the robots in disguise has a few weeks to release yet, and that's a long time in this industry. High Moon's efforts still have a chance to either stand or fall, and we all want it to stand. With this in mind, we've put our Transformers-loving brains together and come up with several ways in which High Moon and Activision can ensure that War for Cybertron won't suck.
Don't overcomplicate the story:
It's already been announced that a few of the Transformers will receive a backstory, and the game itself is a prequel that Hasbro is already keen on adopting. We only ask, however, that the story does not become too complicated and convoluted. An overdrawn narrative is often the death of a franchise revival, as developers try too hard to be gritty and serious. Just look at what happened to Sonic the Hedgehog.
When it comes to Transformers, we only really need to know one thing: Autobots and Decepticons want to beat the metallic shite out of each other. Let's not get too bogged down in angst and morality. Even the original Transformers cartoon ended up jumping the Sharkticon and we don't need to go back to that.
Do Starscream right:
Starscream is a firm fan favorite, and with good reason. The screeching, manipulative, double-dealing Decepticon is an iconic character even outside of the franchise, and this author's personal favorite Transformer. Maintaining his duplicity, his rivalry with Megatron and, most importantly, his voice, is integral to War for Cybertron's success.
With original voice actor Chris Latta sadly deceased, it's hard to find a replacement, but one suitable candidate exists. His name is Tom Kenny and you'll know him best as the guy who gives voice to Spongebob Squarepants. He also played Starscream in Transformers Animated and did a surprisingly excellent job. Just check out this video if you don't believe us.
If War for Cybertron wants to do Starscream right, Kenny is absolutely the man for the role!
Steal vehicle controls from games that know how to do them:
Above: This shouldn't drive like shit
One major stumbling block for many Transformers games is the obligatory vehicular gameplay. It can be a significant challenge for developers, having to craft both a competent third-person shooter and deal with vehicles as diverse as cars, helicopters, tanks, jets and trucks. It's a lot of variety for one licensed game, and it's somewhat understandable that many developers find themselves unequel to the task.
However, why try and reinvent the wheel when there are plenty of games to pilfer from? So many titles have perfected vehicle interfaces that there really is no excuse to not borrow what works rather than tinker with something that doesn't. It seems that Transformers games like to build their vehicles from scratch, leading to loose and floaty vehicles that don't "feel" right. Take inspiration from games that have already sorted it out and worry more about making the combat work.
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