Hasbro, the rightful owners of all things Transformers, claimed at one point that the Dinobots had been retired, meaning no more toys and no more appearances in television, films or games. When developing Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, High Moon Studios game director Matt Tieger wouldn’t accept that reality. He would not rest until his favorite prehistoric robot dinosaurs were in his game.
When the first teaser trailer for Fall of Cybertron was introduced, the hearts Transformers fans and of those who loved War for Cybertron skipped a beat when they saw the first glimpse of Grimlock in action. But what the fans didn’t know was exactly how hard it was to actually get Grimlock and the rest of his Dinobot buddies into the game. (Spoilers of course follow the tale of this story.)
Tieger had his sights set on Grimlock as soon as a sequel to War for Cybertron had been cemented with High Moon Studios – this would be one war he would not lose.
“It was really easy for me to get behind Grimlock as a playable character… for some very selfish reasons. He was a big fucking space T-rex. Who doesn’t find that interesting? He [is] a story driver. You don’t even have to like Transformers to be interested in this character.”
When Tieger first went to Hasbro to pitch the sequel, he brought along 10 sketches, only one of which was in color — Grimlock. With high hopes and huge ambitions, the sole intention was to get his metallic dino friend into the game. He had no other game plan in mind if he got rejected.
“If you don’t want to play a giant robot that transforms into a space T-rex that breathes fire out of your mouth, I don’t want to know you. That’s the way I think about it. You don’t want that, I don’t want to know you. It’s a fucking space T-rex. I mean come on!”
Unfortunately, the pitch was shot down. Summed up, Tieger said Hasbro only saw what he was interested in, not something that would fit into the elaborate back-history of the Transformers. That wouldn’t stop him. He was a man possessed with one end goal in mind, to get the Dinobots in this game. Not just for himself, but for the fans as well!
Before it was even mentioned in the pitch, Hasbro had already established that the Dinobots were locked away in retirement. Tieger must have shaken the foundation because they found something in his enthusiasm not to give him a concrete “no,” but still were not quite convinced the Dinobots were ready to come out and play.
Hasbro’s justification behind their “no” is sound — the Dinobots were alt-mode copies of dinosaur bones found on Earth. High Moon’s Transformers universe hadn’t even visited the planet yet, how could they have been established on Cybertron without obtaining copies of the skeletons? Tieger had to find a way to validate the Dinobots being on Cybertron before crash landing on Earth. How would he convince Hasbro?
Conscious of Transfromers lore, Hasbro couldn’t allow High Moon to bring back the Dinobots just because they were fan favorites. When going back to the drawing board, Tieger’s only requests when developing a new story, no time travel or alternate dimensions. Listening to critics and fans, the studio kept everything in mind for their rebuttal with Hasbro for the next pitch.
“And we came up with this idea … Shockwave made the Dinobots.”
In High Moon’s story, Shockwave is a mad scientist and protector of Cybertron. Through his space bridge technology, Shockwave was able to find Earth and replicate Dinobots out of captured Autobots that would assist him in his fight to rebuild Cybertron. Tieger explains it through the mind of Shockwave:
“‘We’re not going to leave Cybertron. I’m going to save it. I’m going to search the cosmos, find a world that is teeming with what I can covert into Energon (the Transformers energy source). And I’m going to suck that planet dry and… use it to reboot my home.'”
Keeping with the original mentality of the Dinobots, while trying to reintroduce them in a fresh new story, High Moon put a new twist on Grimlock, while keeping him recognizable to fans.
“I didn’t want to do the dumb Grimlock. I wanted to do an intelligent guy who was deeper than that… So what we did is we said: ‘Look, if Shockwave has done all this work to him and you imagine someone with a really debilitating stutter, that has nothing to do with how intelligent they are. It says nothing about how smart they are, it just means that sometimes it’s hard to get the words out.’ That’s our Grimlock.”
With this pitch in mind, Tieger headed right back to Rhode Island to Hasbro HQ, and this time they loved it. With that, the Dinobots were saved and were confirmed for the sequel! The rest is history.
Determination pays off and it’s nice to see that High Moon kept a level of integrity toward the history of the Transformers universe in order to complete their game. Had they not, the Dinobots would have likely returned to TV at some point and again in another set of toys, although we have no idea how long that would’ve been.
Grimlock can be seen as the featured character in the brand new gameplay trailer. To learn more about the story behind Shockwave and the Dinobots, the gameplay of Grimlock, and more quotes from Tieger, check out the rest of the interview at The Verge.
Ranters, if Tieger was this dead-set on getting the Dinobots into Fall of Cybertron, which Transformers would you like to see him obtain if another sequel were to be made?
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron releases August 28, 2012 on the PS3 and Xbox 360.
Follow Tyler on Twitter @TyRawrrnosaurus.
Source: The Verge