Think about the savage rivalries in entertainment history. The Rebel Alliance versus the Galactic Empire. Batman versus the Joker. The New York Yankees versus the Boston Red Sox. Heavy stuff, yet almost every single one of those pales in comparison to the biggest, most divisive conflict of our age: Transformers’ heroic Autobots, and their ongoing struggle against the villainous Decepticons.
Those two factions have battled it out for centuries – or at least since 1984, when the first Transformers cartoon first hit American airwaves – but finally, Nintendo and Hasbro have teamed up to put the issue to bed. In a couple of weekends, Transformers takes over Splatoon’s recurring Splatfest – which previously tackled hot-button topics like cats versus dogs and roller coasters versus water slides – allowing fans to decide among themselves which of the two robot armies is the best.
The Splatfest, Splatoon’s fourth, hits at 9 PM (PDT) on August 28, and runs for 24 hours. As in previous Splatfests, players will be able to choose which side they’ll support ahead of time; registrants will receive a special in-game t-shirt that shows where their loyalties lie. During the event itself, players will earn points for either the Autobots or Decepticons by winning Splatoon matches. The overall winner will be decided via a combination of victory points and total votes cast – so even if players can’t log in during Splatfest, they’ll be able to contribute by choosing a side before the matches start.
This is the first time that Splatfest will feature branded content, and the timing is a little puzzling. The next Transformers game, Transformers: Devastation, doesn’t come out until October 6, and isn’t coming to either of Nintendo’s platforms. The most recent animated series, Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, debuted in February (the season finale airs on September 12, although it’s been available on iTunes for months).
Still, with its neon-soaked late 80’s/early 90’s vibe, Splatoon’s already aimed squarely fans who grew up with Sunbow’s animated toy and game spin-offs (see also: GI Joe, My Little Pony, and Dungeons and Dragons). It’s weird, but Transformers and Splatoon might just be a natural fit.
Besides, if players haven’t checked out Splatoon yet, there’s no better time than the present. This weekend, the Splatoon Testfire demo event returns, letting Nintendo fans who haven’t tried the multiplayer, ink-spraying shooter enjoy the game for a couple of hours. Splatoon was a little light on content when it launched, but Nintendo’s been rolling out updates all summer, slowly transforming Splatoon into one of the Wii U’s must-own games. Mario Maker is poised to move a lot of Wii U consoles; anyone who’s picking one up should consider snagging a copy of Splatoon as well. It’s worth it.