We talk with Behaviour Interactive's Creative Director about taking the Transformers series from the DS to the 3DS and much more.
The third Transformers movie, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, is headed to theaters at the end of June. The first two films were accompanied by Nintendo DS titles, created by Vicarious Visions.
Development responsibilities for the first Transformers 3DS title have been shifted to Behaviour Interactive. Unlike its predecessors, which were both third-person shooters, Dark of the Moon will be a vehicular combat game. We spoke with Dominick Meissner, creative director at Behaviour Interactive, about developing their first 3DS title while designing a unique Transformers' experience.
Nintendo World Report (NWR): How much time have you had to acclimate to the 3DS' hardware capabilities? Has it been a good experience for you?
Dominick Meissner (DM): We started working on the 3DS hardware last year in 2010. We spent awhile getting acquainted with stereoscopic 3D as it was brand new to us and adapting various game elements such as HUD as they required a new vision to achieve our desired results. It was exciting to work through all the new challenges that the stereoscopic 3D brought.
NWR: Will the 3DS version take advantage of any of the system's unique features (e.g. StreetPass, SpotPass, gyro sensor, AR, etc.)?
DM: Unfortunately not, we focused all of our energy on our new 3DS engine and pushing the limit of what we could achieve on the new machine.
We wanted to push the hardware as much as possible and deliver an identical experience on the 3DS and the Wii, which I am happy to say we were successful in doing.
It's like the van from the A-Team, but far more lethal
NWR: Vicarious Visions previously worked on the DS versions of Transformers games. Are you taking the series in a whole other direction, or are you taking the third-person shooter roots of the DS versions into 3DS territory?
DM: From the start we all decided to move into a unique direction for the 3DS and Wii versions of Dark of the Moon. We focused exclusively on the new Stealth Force mode to craft a vehicular combat game. Stealth Force is the new hybrid form that combines robot and vehicle mode and it’s a big reveal in the movie as well as a new Hasbro toyline.
Pictured: vehicular combat
NWR: What's the design process like when creating a Transformers game? That is, how much movie material do you have to work off of? How much freedom do you, as developers, have to "tweak" the character designs or abilities?
DM: All the Dark of the Moon titles take place after the second film and before the beginning of the new film, so it allowed us to work very closely with Hasbro and Paramount to craft a storyline that fit that time period.
All the titles worked together to tell the missing story leading up to the new movie. You can think of all the Dark of the Moon video games as a prologue to the new film. We will reveal some back story and some of the new characters featured in the movie.
NWR: Are there any goodies in the game that are directed to the long-time fans of the franchise?
DM: There will be a couple surprises but we cannot speak about those just yet!
Not your father's Bumblebee
NWR: Are the voice actors for the game the same as in the movies or will they be borrowed from other Transformers shows?
DM: We certainly have Peter Cullen in our games, voice of Optimus Prime! Some of the other VO actors who provided the voices for the robots in the film are also in our games.
NWR: Who is your favorite Transformer and why?
DM: I think it is safe to say that the team’s favorite character is now Lockdown. His hot rod car form with the spiky tire is so cool and he is a really tough dude. He’s exclusive to the Nintendo sku’s too! We want to see more of him in the future!
Thanks to Activision, Step-3, and Behaviour Interactive for the interview!