Following a highly anticipated teaser trailer during the 2014 Super Bowl, we’re finally receiving concrete details on Transformers: Age of Extinction – Michael Bay’s fourth Transformers series film. Along with first-look reveals at Toy Fair 2014, fans of the robots-in-disguise were also treated to the announcement of Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark – an upcoming sequel to High Moon Studios‘ mega-popular Cybertron video game series. Both Transformers: War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron were critical and commercial hits – with enjoyable Gears of Wars-style shooting mechanics and fast-paced vehicle action (as well as blockbuster storytelling) set on the Autobot and Decepticon planet. The studio’s Dark of the Moon movie tie-in received a significantly less enthusiastic response from gamers.
At first glance, the trailer for Rise of the Dark Spark resulted in more questions than answers – especially since the game features assets from both the Cybertron series and Bay’s movie universe. Now, Activision has released new details (and screenshots) for Rise of the Dark Spark – clarifying that the title takes place alongside Age of Extinction while also merging with the Cybertron game storyline.
In an official press release, the publisher clarified where the game fits – while also outlining the main storyline:
This third-person action adventure video game goes beyond the movie by uniting the universe of director Michael Bay’s Transformers movies with the ever-popular Cybertron universe. Players will choose from over 40 playable characters from the two different universes as they battle to secure the Dark Spark.
Serving as a follow-up to both the upcoming Transformers live-action film and Activision’s Transformers: War for Cybertron and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron titles, Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark jumps worlds and factions as it weaves the tale of the hunt for an ancient relic as powerful as the Matrix of Leadership – the Dark Spark. Players will be able to switch between the heroes of the noble Autobots and the nefarious Decepticons throughout the single-player campaign. Similar to High Moon Studios’ Cybertron entries in the highly regarded series, gameplay features nimble, fast-paced running-and-gunning combat paired with traversal and vehicle action across open battlefields for large-scale, dynamic conflicts.
Based on the press release, it sounds as though Rise of the Dark Spark could take place after the events of Age of Extinction – possibly helping to pave the way for further entries in the film series (which are expected to significantly expand the movie franchise in both scale and long term story potential). How exactly the series will tie-into the older Cybertron story is less clear – which, given that the universes are merging, definitely took place before the Autobots and Decepticons left their home planet and encountered Sam Witwicky on earth (at the beginning of Transformers).
As a result, it’s likely, though unconfirmed, that the Cybertron portion of the story could simply be flashbacks that setup the current (read: post-Age of Extinction) race to find the Dark Spark. It’s easy to imagine Activision crafting a prequel plotline where Optimus and the Autobot warriors attempt to secure a dangerous ancient relic (the Dark Spark) before Cybertron is destroyed – only to be thwarted by Megatron and the Decepticons who hide the weapon somewhere off-planet. A similar story would easily explain the Cybertron character designs and environments featured in the trailer – while setting the stage for a modern plot (and movie character designs) – as the Autobots attempt to recover the Dark Spark before Galvatron (now confirmed to be in the film) can use it for some galaxy-threatening purpose. For now, these storyline are little more than pure speculation but help to highlight how the game and film series might be merged.
Check out new images from Rise of the Dark Spark below:
Unfortunately, High Moon Studios is not returning to develop Rise of the Dark Spark – which will, no doubt, cast a decent amount of skepticism on the quality of this upcoming tie-in game. Even in High Moon’s capable hands, the Dark of the Moon tie-in was significantly less impressive than its standalone Cybertron counterparts – meaning that it’s hard to imagine untested Transformers developer, Edge of Reality (Loadout) will be able to crack the challenge of a quality movie crossover in order to deliver the best Transformers video game experience yet. As previously reported, the core Rise of the Dark Spark offering will be available on Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, and Nintendo Wii U – with a strategy RPG version launching on Nintendo 3DS (from WayForward Technologies).
Activision also confirmed that Rise of the Dark Spark will include a multiplayer component – borrowing heavily from High Moon’s four player “horde” mode, “Escalation.” However, this time, players that take part in the multiplayer component will also see benefits in the single player campaign (and vice-versa) – as XP unlocks new playable characters, abilities weapons, and bonuses for use in either mode.
Details are still pretty limited, and gamers should wait for further reveals before getting too discouraged – after all, the cross-universe storyline could result in an improved movie tie-in offering (albeit one that will likely still fall dramatically short of the kind of experience Cybertron series fans expect).
Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark does not have an official release date but look for the game, likely, around the time of Transformers: Age of Extinction – which hits theaters June 27, 2014.
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Source: Activision and Examiner