Transforming the Fall of Cybertron

Developer High Moon Studios is transforming War for Cybertron's weaknesses into strengths and rolling out a new adventure in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.

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Transformers: War for Cybertron had issues. Developer High Moon Studios isn't afraid to admit that. It's proud of what the game accomplished, but it also recognizes its faults. With the upcoming Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, the developers are aiming to turn those weaknesses into strengths. That means more variety, a better camera, and plentiful ammo. At this year's D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas, we got the chance to sit in on a hands-off demonstration and see some of these changes in action.

Vortex has the right transformation for any situation.
Vortex has the right transformation for any situation.

Nothing says variety like a helicopter that transforms into a jet. The first sequence featured Vortex, a Decepticon that could transform in just such a way. Its mission was to scrap a massive bridge being guarded by the Autobots. To traverse this battlefield quickly, Vortex would start in jet mode and zip between Autobot encampments. Next, it would switch to helicopter mode for a few strafing runs. Finally, it would end in robot mode to mop up any hard-to-reach survivors. The entire sequence was very bombastic, with a constant rumbling of radio chatter, explosions, and the death throes of dying Autobots.

The next scene was something completely different. Jazz, an Autobot, was locked in a frantic sniper duel against a pack of long-range Decepticons. The area itself was a collection of towers, which Jazz would hop between using a grappling hook. Green laser sights from the enemy units crisscrossed the arena, and Jazz had to move fast to line up a shot before the beams converged on him. It had a very hit-and-run pace, as staying in one spot for too long meant being surrounded by a half-dozen foes.

Jazz can charge his sniper shots for extra damage.
Jazz can charge his sniper shots for extra damage.

A few scenes later, we finally set eyes on Optimums Prime. Things haven't improved for the leader of the Autobots since the last game. To put it bluntly, the Decepticons have won. For the Autobots, that means getting off Cybertron as quickly as possible in the Ark, which is a massive starship. Thankfully, Prime still has some powerful allies; chief among them is the hulking, city-sized transformer Metroplex. As Prime, you could direct Metroplex--seen stomping around in the background--by targeting enemy buildings, ships, and whatever else got in its way. Metroplex would respond in kind with a healthy dose of lasers and/or missiles.

The final snippet swapped gunplay for melee combat with Grimlock. High Moon figures if a giant, mechanical dinosaur that breathes fire can't get you excited for Fall of Cybertron, nothing can. Because Grimlock brings a sword and shield to a gunfight, its main method of ranged attack is hurling enemies at other enemies. This tactic was demonstrated in a clever scene that involved Grimlock hurling the devious Starscream into a computer console. In combat, the mechanical brute could unleash its primal side after crushing enough foes to fill a special meter. Once in full-blown dinosaur mode, it had a time limit on wreaking havoc and chomping down on enemy robots.

Grimlock likes his Insecticons severed up extra crispy.
Grimlock likes his Insecticons severed up extra crispy.

Multiplayer in Fall of Cybertron is also seeing some changes from the previous game. The cooperative campaign is out, but in its place, the developers are promising some new additions to the competitive side. While they weren't ready to talk specific modes, we did get a peek into character customization, and there's a lot of it. Arms, legs, chaises, color schemes, and more were all available, but High Moon was most excited to show off how all these parts still transformed fluidly no matter what combination was selected.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron will be available on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 later this year.

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