It’s gotta be better than the movie, right?
X360: What did you think were War For Cybertron’s major problems?
Matt Tieger: I think of War For Cybertron as a flawed gem; something that was pretty special but had some weaknesses to it.
So, internally and to some extent externally – forums and journalists – we looked at what they expected more of in War.
We decided that their primary criticism would be this games greatest strength. The primary criticism of War was that it was repetitive with its gameplay and its visuals, and frankly we really agreed with that.
X360: But it did get a lot right; what are you hoping to maintain for the sequel?
Tieger: Controls are a big one because they always did feel right. I thought we brought forward the level of nostalgia into this; not more, not less but we love those nostalgic moments. We brought forward multiplayer, which I thought was actually pretty darn good. The problems we had; there were a couple of technical issues and the customisation wasn’t deep enough.
But the multiplayer itself was pretty strong. Escalation, same deal; people liked it, so we’ve evolved that, but that’s been our thinking across the board. We’ve improved so many things about the game and when I say it’s a flawed gem, I do think it’s a gem nonetheless.
X360: How do you design levels for characters that have so many different ways of moving about?
Tieger: Carefully! There’re a couple of things we do, one is ‘Have spaces that are story space’. We wanted to dedicate and commit to players not shooting, but unwrapping the story and we have a lot of these moments. The other one is being very cognitive of space and if you’re in a big space, what we do is give players choices that will ultimately funnel you down to a more claustrophobic space where we can channel the player. We’re being really careful about how long we do that for.
X360: Transformers has never been known for its story, has this been an issue during development?
Tieger: For a lot of people when it comes to story their like ‘Well, they’re robots, why do I give a shit?’ But what we try and focus on are universal themes and when you watch WALL-E, you feel something for him, right? And he barely even talks! But that works because Pixar focuses on things that we all understand.
And you can do that if the feelings are simple, like loyalty, love, things everyone can understand. By doing that, it allows you to accept what it is. Not some complex robot/human hybrid thing, just, here’s a feeling you can understand.
X360: What happens if the Autobots and Decepticons actually leave Cybertron, aren’t you writing yourself out of a sequel?
Tieger: I think because there are a host of characters that get left behind when they leave. And you know that they leave, but you don’t know how long it takes them to get to earth. So that’s a whole potential chapter and saga right there. When they go through the wormhole, just like in the cartoon it’s unstable and flashing and maybe the Autobots and Decepticons end up in different places, I don’t know. Yet. There’s a whole bunch of stuff to tell.