QJ exclusive interview: Transformers: The Game
With several days left before the new Transformers flick hits town, QJ.NET caught up with Activision Producer Callum Godfrey for an exclusive interview regarding their Transformers: The Game project. Callum reveals what’s in store for the next-generation consoles as well as some of the things they’ve accomplished that he’s really proud of.
Callum faces more QJ questions after the jump. Transform and roll out the full article!
With several days left before the new Transformers flick hits town, QJ.NET caught up with Activision Producer Callum Godfrey for an exclusive interview regarding their Transformers: The Game project. Callum reveals what’s in store for the next-generation consoles as well as some of the things they’ve accomplished that he’s really proud of. Read on and find out more:
QJ.NET:The Transformers franchise is coming on in full force with a movie and a multi-platform release this year. What demographic are you guys targeting exactly? Are you doing this to rekindle that flame in the old fans who have grown up or are you seeking to start a new generation of robot-crazy kids?
CALLUM: We are looking to capture the same target audience as the movie, so teenagers and upwards. Within this cross section we see a number of different sub categories Â– new adopters, die hard fans, summer movie goers, and more Â– all of whom we feel would enjoy the game and would be converted Transformers fans going forward.
QJ: Did the creative minds behind the Transformers movie have any input on the game’s production? Also, what voice talent will be appearing in the game and how did you come to the decision to have Frank Welker reprise his role as Megatron rather than go with the movie casting choice of Hugo Weaving?
CALLUM : The development of the game has been a close partnership between all parties. We had the chance to meet with Michael Bay and he gave us some useful insight into his vision for the movie that meant we were able to adjust the game to better fit the film in some key areas.
As far as voice talent goes we have Peter Cullen who was the voice of Optimus Prime originally in the cartoon and who will also be the voice in the movie. We have Shia LeBeouf who plays Sam and Megan Fox who plays Mikaela doing the main human voices, and as you mention we have Frank Welker doing the voice of Megatron. With this last one we really wanted to be able to hold true to the Transformers fans, and once you hear his work in the game it’s hard not to be impressed.
QJ: Why do you think games with movie tie-ins have generally received lukewarm critical response, and how did you approach development on Transformers: The Game to ensure the best product possible in that regard?
CALLUM: We looked at the IP as a gaming IP in its own right and not just as a movie tie-in. From this we identified what features made Transformers a string video game concept and built the rest of the game around this. Features such as transformation, destruction, scale and interaction are all at the forefront of what we are trying to achieve.
QJ: What kind of things have you been able to do from a technological and creative standpoint on the three next gen platforms that you’re really proud of?
CALLUM: What we are really proud of is having made a game which allows you to be a giant robot fighting other robots one minute, then seamlessly switch to being a car and driving off at high speeds, switching back to scale buildings as a short cut before picking up a parked car and throwing it at your enemy. Regardless of the platform I feel that the game is offering something new and exciting to the player, and as we have planned well for next gen each version of the game plays up to the strengths of that console.
QJ: How are you taking advantage of the unique strengths of each of the next-gen consoles? For instance, how do you control a robot with a Wiimote? Any plans for Xbox Live? Did the graphics chip away at some of the untapped potential the PlayStation 3’s Cell Processor and RSX?
CALLUM: The Wii version of Transformers: The Game allows users to aim using a simple point and shoot mechanic, with key actions triggered by gestures. Simplicity was the goal, with a handful of well-implemented gestures rather than a swathe of badly implemented ones.
The next gen graphics are really something. The robots are incredibly detailed, full of inner workings and moving parts. The environments are large, and have to cope with all of the games destruction and interactive elements. I think we have pushed parts of the hardware pretty hard and on the graphics side when you think how many moving parts go in to making up a Transformation sequence then you can see how we might be getting close to that potential you mention.
QJ: How have you found working on the three different versions of the game, especially considering the differences in architecture between the 360 and PS3, and the Wii’s computational and graphical prowess relative to the other two?
CALLUM: We took a very proactive approach early on and instead of trying to treat all next gen development as one block of work we separated out the PS3 and 360 engines so that we could get more out of both of them.
The Wii was also handled like this. It sits in its own unique slot for almost everything so the only way we could approach it was to treat it as its own entity and the game bears the fruits of this.
QJ: We’ve seen Transformers games come and go on earlier consoles. What makes this game different from the ones that came before it and how do you feel it adds to the franchise as a whole?
CALLUM: This Transformers title gives players a reason to be a Transformer. The dual modes that should be at the heart of the franchise are realized in the game like no other before it. The robots feel big, powerful and dangerous, and to them our world is like a play pen; full of objects they can use in amazing ways. Add on to this the amazing new visual direction that the movie is taking and I think this is the definitive Transformers game to date.
QJ: Thanks, Callum.