I've said this before and I'll say it again, MMOs really aren't my cup of tea, but I've got to admit that I'm more than a little bit interested when it comes to Transformers Universe, although I'm still a tad wary considering the last few games and movies have been decidedly average or just plain awful. However, things look like they're shaping up nicely when it comes to this one and I'd certainly like to see more after hearing a few details at a sit down with Project Lead, Kris Jones, Principal Writer, Kelly Vero, and Community Manager, Eddy Dew.
Jagex definitely have a history when it comes to MMOs seeing as they've been running RuneScape for approximately 10 years now and their aim with this one is to provide the best possible experience to fans of the franchise in conjunction with their partners Hasbro. Transformers Universe will be a free to play, browser based game and the developers are hoping to get millions of people playing, who'll be able to enjoy the experience provided for over a decade, well that's the plan anyway.
The game's set in the Transformers: Prime universe but it's been roughed up a little bit to give it a gritty edge, so don't go in expecting it to be the same as the cartoons. Whilst the game begins on Earth you'll eventually be able to visit other worlds, including Cybertron, and you'll be able to interact with a number of key character such as Optimus Prime and Megatron. A few old characters like Prowl and Barricade have been redone and you can expect to see some fan favourites who didn't make it into the recent movies or comics too. It's also possible that the Dinobots might make an appearance at some point but they won't be around when the game launches.
Jagex took the RuneScape engine, ripped it up, and then rebuilt it, however they were careful not to get hung up on what's come before, instead they decided to make something a little bit more action based that caters for all types of players. They've also taken measures to prevent people from using bots, which was one of the major problems they faced with RuneScape. If you want to explore on your own there are plenty of solo activities to take part in as well as team based missions, and of course there will be PvP battles between Autobots and Decepticons, so you might want to think about which side you're going to join now before the game comes out. Of course, as you'd expect from an MMO, there's a levelling up mechanic to give you an incentive to keep playing.
Lastly, the developers wanted to make transforming an integral part of the gameplay (well there's a surprise!) including combat, where the timing of switching from one form or another is incredibly important. Primary combat will occur in your robot form, however you can move into stealth mode for tricky situations, and when you're in your vehicle form it's also possible to inflict damage, for example guns can be sprung from hidden panels on cars, etc.
Unfortunately, there wasn't much to see in terms of gameplay, but if Jagex can pull this one off it's got the potential to be something that really shouldn't be missed especially if you're a Transformers fan who's always wanted to design your own courageous Autobot, or a malevolent Decepticon who's hell bent on destruction.
Transformers Universe will launch later in the year around about December time.