TA Interview with High Moon Studios

By Dave Horobin, 6 years ago
https://www.trueachievements.com/Transformers-Fall-of-C....htm makes its way to stores around this world next week, and Greg Agius from the game's developer High Moon Studios took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to TA about the game.

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DaveKinetic: It looks like you had a busy E3, with the latest trailer, the first details of Escalation mode and of course winning Game Informer's “Best of E3” award. How good does it feel when you finally get to see people playing your game on the show floor, and what kind of feedback did you get from them?

Greg: E3 was great, especially with the great platform Activision gave us. Seeing Fall of Cybertron alongside Call of Duty is a big honor. I don't think I saw one of our gamestations empty for more than 10 seconds. Gamers were playing constantly which is what you want to see. We got great feedback and were really impressed by the large number of War for Cybertron fans who came up to us. Our big hope is that we will get even more people into the game.

DK: Going back to 2010 when Transformers: War For Cybertron was released, how daunting a task was it to not only develop a Transformers game (knowing that the franchise had a large, and passionate fan base), but also try to convince gamers that it was a solid game, not just another quickly put together movie tie-in?

Greg: The passionate fan base has always been a pillar of support while working on Transformers. Its not uncommon for us to be inspired or motivated by direct interaction with fans. Certainly a huge number of fans had wanted a G1 based game for a long time. Certainly the less than stellar record of previous Transformers games created a big challenge. Brands are promises made to consumers over time. Clearly the strong quality of WFC has won us supporters that will help make Fall of Cybertron even bigger.

DK: How has the success of War for Cybertron affected your approach with this game? Are you going for more of the same or branching out into new territory, and does its success add even more pressure?

Greg: War for Cybertron gave us a ton of learnings and experience that have made our work on Fall of Cybertron that much better. Transformers brings up a number of tremendous challenges for game designers. Other shooters have spaces where you get to ride in a vehicle and sections where you can be on foot. In Transformers you can do both at any time. That ups the complexity factor big time. High Moon is able to pull it off because of the talent of our team and the passion they have for the brand.

DK: If people haven’t played War for Cybertron yet, will the story be easy to pick up, or would you recommend playing the first game before starting this campaign?

Greg: Fall of Cybertron stands in its own right. No matter how you became a fan of Transformers there is something here for you to enjoy. This is the definitive Transformers video game.

DK: How much freedom does Hasbro allow with your unique interpretation of Cybertron?

Greg: Tremendous freedom. Most licensed games milk off their respective IPs. For Fall of Cybertron, Hasbro has actually allowed us to inject history into the official canon. That is a special privilege.

DK: What was the decision process on which transformers to include in Fall of Cybertron?

Greg: The gameplay in Fall of Cybertron is all about variety. We wanted to include characters that offered unique gamplay. Optimus can shoot, Jazz can grapple, Vortex can fly, and Grimlock well...he can smash. We also wanted to offer characters that have never before been in a video game - Metroplex, Brutiucs, the Dinobots, etc.

DK: Did you base that decision from the popularity of that individual transformer or did you pick the transformers that you felt fit into the story that you wanted to tell?

Greg: Its a combination. You need characters that your fans want to play and you need to fit them into your story arch.

DK: What was it like attempting to balance so many characters and unique abilities within the confines of the single player campaign?

Greg: I don't think our dev team gets enough credit for the challenges they faced creating a game with this much gameplay variety. Shooting, transforming, driving, flying, cloaking, grappling, combining, and, oh yeah, Dinobots. We have so many gameplay mechanics and they all feel great. The team has huge depth allowing individual groups to focus on making each component great.

DK: In War for Cybertron, the Autobot and Decepticon campaigns were split into two separate things, but we’ve already heard from Matt Tieger that in Fall of Cybertron their will only be one, and you’ll swap sides throughout. What was the reasoning behind that?

Greg: We came to the realization that most Transformers fans like both the Decepticons and the Autobots. Players want a great story told from both sides. The single campaign allows us to tell a deep story with more gameplay variety. It's just the better way to go.

DK: What was it like working with such a star-studded voice cast and the orginal Optimus Prime voice actor Peter Cullen and Greg Berger who was the original voice of Grimlock?

Greg: Amazing. When it comes to Peter Cullen, he's just a wonderful man. He embodies Optimus Prime and his love of the fans is truely inspiring. Gregg Berger is just hilarious; he has the utmost respect for the character he helped create. Don't get me started on Nolan North, that guy is a star.

DK: What led to the decision to drop the competitive and co-op campaign?

Greg: We wanted to offer characters and gameplay that we did not have in War for Cybertron. Metroplex, Combiners, Grimlock - these would not have been doable in a co-operative campaign. Lots of shooters have co-op, but the characters are usually very similar. We are confident that for Transformers fans the uniqueness and quality of Fall of Cybertron are can't miss. And then you can still play Co-Op Escalation with your friends!

DK: Can we expect multiplayer achievements in Fall of Cybertron, and will they require a similar level of dedication to the ones in War for Cybertron, or are you making them a little easier and quicker to earn like in https://www.trueachievements.com/TRANSFORMERS-3-xbox-360.htm?

Greg: We do have a host of fun and challenging achievements in Fall of Cybertron multiplayer. We have a strong and dedicated community that plays these games for the long haul. We want to give them the opportunity to showcase their skill.

DK: What kind of variety can we expect to see with character creation in multiplayer, and has the multiplayer system undergone any major overhauls such as more perks, or redesigned classes?

Greg: The classes and other basic gameplay are more or less similar to War For Cybertron. However, the create a character system is a complete game changer. This is the build a Transformer feature you have always wanted. Millions of combinations of parts to create your own Transformer.

DK: There were a lot of nostalgic nods to the G1 series in War of Cybertron, especially in the achievement names. Can we expect more or the same, and will there be equally awesome music playing over the credits?

Greg: Yes and yes. I don't want to give away any spoilers. We have so many. Our G1 Optimus (and Megatron gun) pre-order unlock of course. Personally I can't wait to see the 1st person flying around with Starscream's crown.

DK: Hasbro revealed that a toy range is being launched based on the in-game character designs. How proud does that make you all feel?

Greg: Its about as cool as it gets. We don't play with toys anymore, but we proudly display them on our desks.

DK: Knowing how dedicated Transformers collectors are, did you never consider releasing any special collectors' edition of the game?

Greg: We have received loads of request from fans wanting a special edition. Certainly the game is special edition worthy. However, we feel strongly that our players all deserve the same experience no matter how much they spend. The super fan certainly has options to invest in to show their love with the amazing toy line and IDW art book.

DK: Can we expect to see something from High Moon in the future outside of the Transformers universe, or are you going to stay within that for the foreseeable future?

Greg: We are lucky to have two talented teams here at High Moon. Our other team just recently revealed their new title, https://www.trueachievements.com/Deadpool-xbox-360.htm at San Diego Comic-Con. Deadpool is the most unique character gamers will every experience. We can't wait to bring him to consoles in 2013.

DK: Finally, we can't let you go without asking which Transformer is your favourite character and why?

Greg: Not to sound cliche, but Optimus Prime. I grew up with him as a model for what leadership is. He's courageous, he sacrifices for his people, and he never asks anyone to do something he would not do himself. Plus he's a giant truck painted like America, what could be better!

It's been a real pleasure to talk to Greg about Fall of Cybertron and I'd like to thank him for taking time out of what must be a hectic schedule right now to answer our questions.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is scheduled for release on this coming Tuesday in North America and Friday in Europe.
Dave Horobin
Written by Dave Horobin
Dave is the TrueAchievements Social Manager and has been a Newshound since 2010. When he's not chasing developers and publishers for early review copies, he can usually be found on the TrueAchievements social pages discussing all things TA related.