Movie tie-in video games rarely make a splash as must-buy titles for hardcore players. Instead, the games are often marketed to the broadest audience possible for an easy cash grab – one that requires modest development and can, generally, be ported to a wide range of gaming platforms. For that reason, it should come as no surprise that Activision is (once again) publishing a Transformers movie tie-in – set to expand on the events of Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction.
However, following an underwhelming response to High Moon Studios prior Transformers movie game, Dark of the Moon, the publisher and new developer Edge of Reality are attempting to up the ante – unifying their mega-successful (and critically acclaimed) War for Cybertron series with Paramount Studio’s live-action movie universe in Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark. While some gamers have viewed the mash-up as a hollow marketing move, others were intrigued by the idea – and remain curious to see whether or not the studio can actually thread the two properties together.
Check out the Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark cover artwork below (click for the full version):
Rise of the Dark Spark story details are still scarce but Activision has launched a new press release that nails down when exactly gamers will get to play the cross-medium mashup – along with revealing GameStop’s “Weathered Warrior Pack” DLC pre-order bonuses:
All title pre-orders through GameStop will gain access at launch to new characters and weapons in Escalation, the game’s wave-based, four-player cooperative multiplayer, survival mode.
Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark is expected to be available on June 24, 2014. GameStop pre-orders will earn the “Weathered Warrior Pack” DLC, which includes two awesome characters — Thundercracker and Skywarp — both fearsome masters of combat in service of the Decepticons. The collection also delivers two powerful new weapons: the distortion field-generating Glass Gas Cannon and the long-range, kinetic projectile-spitting Electro Bolter. These potent weapons will also be available for players’ use in the story-based Campaign and Escalation modes once they are unlocked.
Note: A Rise of the Dark Spark game will be available on the Nintendo Wii U (and 3DS in the form of an action RPG) but the “Weathered Warrior Pack” only applies to the PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC platforms. Similarly, it’s certainly possible that the 3DS game will arrive in (or around) the same launch window but Activision has yet to provide official confirmation of its release date.
Since Transformers: Age of Extinction arrives on June 27th, 2014, it shouldn’t be a major surprise that Rise of the Dark Spark has been confirmed for launch in the same week. After all, what good would a movie tie-in game be if it didn’t arrive when buzz for the latest Transformers film is at an all-time high? Since the Cybertron series (and character designs) play a part in Rise of the Dark Spark, elements of the movie tie-in story will serve as a prequel to Age of Extinction but Edge of Reality isn’t stopping there – as the game allegedly includes threads that hint at where the live-action narrative could go in future installments. For that reason, gamers who play Rise of the Dark Spark may want to proceed with extra caution – since some of those threads will be tied to events depicted in Age of Extinction.
Check out images of the movie and Cybertron series character designs featured in Rise of the Dark Spark (click to enlarge):
As for the GameStop pre-order bonuses, fans of “Seeker” jet-style Transformers should be excited about the inclusion of Thundercracker and Skywarp. The characters are fan-favorites among Generation 1 fans, two of Starscream’s deadliest aerial bot allies, and should offer fun variations for players that take part in Rise of the Dark Spark‘s online component. That said, the pack is somewhat limited (since it includes only two Decepticon Seeker designs) leaving gamers who prefer non-aerial class types (or Autobot character affiliations) without much incentive – especially after Fall of Cybertron pre-orderers received a G1 Optimus Prime. The bonus weaponry, a Glass Gas Cannon and Electro Bolter could help mix things up online but, without knowing where exactly they fit into the larger arsenal, it’s hard to say whether they will be welcome additions to a player’s arsenal or underpowered afterthoughts.
The press release doesn’t necessarily indicate that the unlockables are exclusive to the “Weathered Warrior Pack” – and won’t be available as in-game unlockables. Given the wording, “gain access at launch to new characters and weapons,” it’s possible that the weapons, as well as Thundercracker and Skywarp, could just be multiplayer level unlocks – and that players will simply be allowed early access (at launch) via the pre-order deal.
Either way, gamers who cannot pre-order at GameStop can probably expect the “exclusive” pack to be made available down the line as a standalone digital store purchase.
Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark is scheduled for release on June 24, 2014 – ahead of Transformers: Age of Extinction — which hits theaters June 27, 2014.
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Source: Activision & GameStop