How to make sure Transformers: War for Cybertron does not suck

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.


  • zigs - June 7, 2010 11:25 a.m.

    "The Touch" was released as DLC for Guitar Hero, so hopefully that means Activision either has the rights to include it in War for Cybertron, or that it'll be easy enough to get the rights again.
  • Heyexclamationpoint - June 6, 2010 11:30 p.m.

    Add another vote towards "The Insecticons were never as cool and awesome as the Constructicons." Oh, and one more piece of advice for the developers: nothing about Beast Wars, please? captcha: urinals to urinals to what?
  • Zeb364 - June 6, 2010 11:05 p.m.

    I'm not a transformers G1 fan at all but I am a bit interested in this game thanks in no small part to One of Swords (a.k.a. Mr. Dan Amrich). He's been doing so many interviews and stuff for it that I couldn't help but be intrigued. Then I saw that Jim Sterling wrote this article and I had to read it. You know that at the very least it will be good for a laugh.
  • Spybreak8 - June 6, 2010 10:16 p.m.

    I really don't care who they have to vocie the bots as long as the game plays good and fun. I've seen a lot of good stuff about this game but you never know until the masses get their hands on it. Seriously though my money is tied up with Starcraft 2 CE.
  • slimjim441 - June 5, 2010 6:58 p.m.

    Why are there so many spam comments tainting this holy article?! And I agree with TheVoid, the Constructicons are better the Insecticons. Especally considering Shrapnel's stupid echo thing is retarded. But they are better than the Dinobots, because all of their voices are even worse.
  • Shrimpandwhitewine - June 5, 2010 3:28 a.m.

    Hahaha this was a fantastic article. "Michael Bay abortions that ruined everyone's lives" - couldn't have been put better :D
  • TheVoid - June 4, 2010 9:35 p.m.

    So I have a question. If in Transformers The Movie (the only one that matters, to be clear), Hot Rod ulimately became Rodimus Prime, does that mean Optimus Prime was originally Hot Opt? Scary thought, right there. Rodimus Prime...ugh. As much as the animated movie towers over Bay's horrifying turds (much like Devastator over the Insecticons - BOOM!), the movie's "future" toy line really sucked, didn't it? I mean, seriously, after watching the movie, who was going to run out and buy Kup? Or Wreck-Gar? Mind you I have no qualms with the "modern day" line up released around the same time. The likes of Ultra Magnus and even Perceptor get a pass in my book.
  • AgentHonor - June 4, 2010 9:32 p.m.

    2 words for the driving/ vehicle car combat: Twisted Metal, just rip the control scheme for that and your set, and they dont need to adjust the controls too much because the button layout is already good.
  • TheVoid - June 4, 2010 9:22 p.m.

    Jim, you have made my day. Regarding controls - the TalkRadar interview with one of the developers revealed that the robot and vehicle controls would be nearly identical, which kind of makes sense, but then again might suffer too much from "trying to cram a square peg into a triangle hole" syndrome. Hopefully they test the crap out of it before release. As for your Insecticons comment, allow this G1 fanboy to counter with another subgroup that both figuratively and literally stands taller: The Constructicons! Are you seriously going to try and tell me that the Insecticons - cool as they are - could rival the sheer might of Devastator!? Although the Insecticons did have that cool echo voice thing going on, I suppose... Regarding "The Touch", what more can be said other than the fact that your having worked this into the article clearly means you have both the Touch *and* the Power. I remember shitting my pants when that song surfaced quite unexpectedly in Boogie Nights. However I personally think that "Instruments of Destruction" would have worked better for that Gamestop ad, although the fact they they enjoyably referenced the beloved original movie at all is commendable. It is as if Gamestop themselves decided to join in on the "finally, someone has the balls to break this beloved franchise free from the grasp of Michael Bay and move it back into revered territory" celebration. Expectations are running quite high on this one, aren't they? How cool would it be if High Moon actually delivered? I guess we will just have to wait and see. Although I suppose the simple fact that they are trying to do the franchise justice while blantantly painting over Bay's molested versions definitely counts for something.
  • SausageLozenge - June 4, 2010 9:07 p.m.

    Dare! Dare to believe this game can be good!
  • lttsy - June 4, 2010 9:06 p.m.

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  • AA95mp - June 4, 2010 7:36 p.m.

    i hope this game is as amazing as it looks and G1 ftw!
  • Geminiman82 - June 4, 2010 5:03 p.m.

    Jim... I agree 100%! Growing up with the original show, I have high expectations but I believe High Moon will be successful
  • zoestone20 - June 4, 2010 3:08 p.m.

    Who cares!!! My boyfriend thinks the same with me. He- is eight years older than me, lol. We met online at an age gap dating site[_www. A G E R O M A N C E com_]---a nice and free place for Younger- Women and Older Men, or Older Women and Younger Men, to interact with each other. Maybe you wanna check out or- tell your friends
  • VercettisShirt - June 4, 2010 1:09 p.m.

    Starscream is my favourite. He'd better be playable.
  • Seabread - June 4, 2010 12:55 p.m.

    Forget The Touch, it's all about Dare!
  • TedZeppelin - June 4, 2010 10:37 a.m.

    They should get Dani Filth, the lead singer from Cradle of Filth to do Starscream's voice. He soulnds exactly like the G1 version in some of their songs.
  • StefanGrey - June 4, 2010 3:48 a.m.

    Tom Kenny does a good jobn of getting the spirit of teh character right, but his voice will always carry too much Sponge Bob to be worthwhile. GO with Doug Parker, who voiced Starscream in his Beast Wars cameo, or just find a really good impersonator.
  • CH3BURASHKA - June 4, 2010 3:42 a.m.

    I do hope you actually send your articles off to the developer, otherwise you're wasting your time. We all know none of these changes will be implemented. PROVE ME WRONG HIGH MOON.
  • DaBadGuy - June 4, 2010 3:36 a.m.

    That ad made Soundwave a badass. Not to say he wasn't already badass, but his badassedness has quintupled and his badassery is nigh unmatched, except for Arcee, for whom there is no equal. Oh, and yeah, if they don't have the Touch, or at least Dare in the game, that would suck, how else would I know that I can fly if I try leaving the past behind. captcha: solar ginger, lol

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