The lights are on
Transformers as a brand has a broad demographic of fans, from adults who have fond memories of the 80s toys and cartoons, to young kids who love Rescue Bots. How is Transformers Universe aiming to appeal to such different tastes?
Horton: The Transformers brand means something to a massive portion of the world today; it’s staggering just how many people know what a Transformers character is. What that image of what the Transformers brand means depends on where you experienced them, be it the playground, your console, or the movies. We’re striving to create an atmosphere for the game that comes straight from the Transformers brand heritage but supports a game with our subject matter and an active online community made up of people who all have very different ideas about what a Transformers character is. The common theme is they’re all gamers and want to put their time into a fun game with online friends. We’re fortunate that people who like the Transformers toys and games are into cool entertainment in whatever form – games, graphic novels etc. There are a few different Batmen out there – they’re all cool. We’re not carving out ‘our’ version, but the audience and the game demand something original that provides a truly new way to experience the Transformers story. We’re trying to get that right.
Are there compromises that need to be made to enable Transformers Universe to run in a browser?
Coupe: Jagex is one of the pioneers in free-to-play, browser gaming and over the last 12+ years we’ve built up a great deal of expertise on how to build games that work in the browser, and we’ve applied that expertise to Transformers Universe. The entire game runs on a brand new, proprietary engine that we’ve built from the ground up to ensure that Transformers Universe looks best in class. We really feel it’s a step beyond most of the games out there that don’t require a client. All players will need to do to play the game is visit the website, click play and then you’ll be into the game.
How are you planning to monetize Transformers Universe?
Skelly: Transformers Universe is a fully free to play title with microtransactions. We’re conscious to avoid models that tease players by only giving them X, but in order to progress or get anything meaningful out of the game you need to spend money. You will be able to play Transformers Universe entirely for free, if you want to, as long as you’ve got the time to dedicate to it you’ll be able to get the same items as those that choose to pay. You’ll have no ability to buy game play advantages that affect the pay vs. free balance.
When are you hoping to release Transformers Universe?
Horton: We’re in closed Beta at the moment. People can sign-up to take part at the website: www.transformersuniverse.com the game its self will be launched in 2013 but if readers want to be in with a chance of experiencing the game before it’s full release they should sign-up for the Beta program.
Finally, above and beyond what we’ve already discussed, what new info can you share with Game Informer and its readers that is not yet known about the game?
Horton: One thing that we’ve not talked about yet is the importance that Energon will play in the game. Energon is the life blood of a Transformers character. The acquisition and management of this essential commodity is at the heart of game. It’s what powers the Transformers characters and their war machine. Our intention is to reflect this dependence in some really innovative and interesting ways throughout the game world. It’s not going to be some boring resource management element, but it is something you need to think about how you consume and what you use it for – are you a team player playing for the greater good, or is it all about you and your pursuit of glory. Your superiors are watching your every move.
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