themuffinman: So would you say that War for Cybertron follows more closely to Generation 1 than anything else?
Tresob: Well...that's a tough call. See, each iteration of Transformers tends to synthesize all of the previous iterations. It's part G1, part comics, part Bay, part Animated...
themuffinman: So each one that comes out is a sum of all the previous versions?
Tresob: That’s a reasonable way of looking at it...although I might call it more of a hybrid than a sum. It adds parts of one version at the expense of parts of another. For instance, Bumblebee “looks” like his g1 self...but he behaves like his Animated self...which is really just a talking version of the Bay version. You take the aesthetics of G1 and the characterization of a modern version...you have War for Cybetron Bumblebee.
themuffinman: But Bumblebee talked in G1, and he was kind of the kid in the group, which is the characterization we get from High Moon Studios.
Tresob: He did talk, and he was like a "kid"...but his immaturity in G1 manifested itself more as an insecurity. He also was not particularly effective in combat. Bumblebee’s major hang-up was that he wanted to be like the bigger fighters...
themuffinman: That’s very unlike WfC. So I guess High Moon depicts him closer to the animated/movie version of Bumblebee.
Tresob: Yeah. Now, he's like a yellow ninja with a spunky attitude. It’s like they took G1 Cliffjumper’s personality, Snake-eyes’ skills, and assigned them to BB.
themuffinman: So Iwonder what Cliffjumper's personality is going to be like in FOC.
Tresob: It looks like they are basing him on the Prime model. In the G1 cartoons, Cliffjumper was pretty much Scrappy-doo. In Prime, he's more like the Rock.
themuffinman: So he’s like a tough guy, and thats what they are basing him on.
Tresob: Yeah. Making them “tough guys” seems to be a trend with the current reboots. Take Wheeljack in Transformers Prime. Wheeljack used to be a mad scientist; now he's a ninja fratboy.
themuffinman: He was one of the guys who created the Dinobots in G1. That doesn’t sound like a fratboy.
Tresob: Exactly, although he only made the Dinobots in the cartoon version, not the G1 comics.
themuffinman: That seems to throw off some of the continuity. What other big changes did you notice between G1 and War for Cybertron?
Tresob: The biggest discrepancies are probably that some of the War for Cybertron characters don’t even exist before the Transformers left Cybertron. The Aerialbots, for instance, were made after the Autobots were on Earth. They did briefly time-travel into Cybertron's past to meet Orion Pax...so maybe you could retcon it...but, really, there should have been no Silverbolt or Air Raid. Same for the Stunticons, which would have cut out Breakdown.
themuffinman: What about Jetfire? He’s an Aerialbot in the game, right?
Tresob: I think so, but Jetfire techincally isn’t one of the G1 Aerialbots. In the cartoon, Jetfire was supposed to be best friends and research partners with Starscream when they were on Cybertron, but he crashed on Earth separately, before the Autobot/Decepticon war broke out. Starscream eventually recovered Jetfire after the Ark’s crash, and convinced Jetfire to join the Decepticons...which he did until he learned they were evil. Evil is bad.
themuffinman: So what parts of G1 do you think crossover the most with War for Cybertron?
Tresob: Mostly, the crossover is aesthetic...character names, character design...that kind of stuff.
themuffinman: So HMS is writing its own stories for the characters?
Tresob: The War for Cybertron game pretty much rewrites all of the origin stories, and most of the characterizations are either new or based on newer media. But I’d say the High Moon is sort of its own continuity. Hasbro keeps saying they are going to try to make one uber-continuity for all TF media...but I'm skeptical.
themuffinman: I doubt that, too. There’s too much variation now. But at the begining of WfC there are a bunch of Autobot ships leaving the planet. I thought that was similar to the story of G1.
Tresob: Not quite. In the cartoon, Optimus plans to scout new Energon sources, so he takes his team on the Ark to go speculatin’. Megatron intercepts the Ark and boards it with his Decepticons...causing a battle that leads the Ark to crash into Earth. In the Gg1 comics, Optimus takes the Ark to destroy an asteroid shower that threatens the planet, and Megatron siezes the opportunity to attack.
themuffinman: So they were never running away from Cybertron in G1
Tresob: Nah. This running away stuff is new. I think it was an attempt to cash in on Battlestar Galactica.
themuffinman: Really? How so?
Tresob: The BSG thing is just a hunch. Writers often try to tap into what’s new and hip, and BSG gets a lot of credit for being a mature, sophisticated rewrite of a pretty goofy 70s sci-fi franchise. For another example, the latest iteration of GI Joe, Renegades, is clearly based on the A-Team...and came out just after the reboot A-Team movie.
themuffinman: Well, it does make since if you think about it being related to Battlestar Galatica, with everything darker and people running away.
Tresob: Yeah, fleeing Cybertron started with the Bay movie. Optimus tells us in the opening credits that “something happened” to Cybertron. The new comics also play this card, suggesting that the Decepticon Darkwing apparently unleashed some kind of radiation, so everyone had to flee. Technically, though, the first "flee Cybertron" narrative would have been the Japanese Headmasters after Rodimus Prime...uhm...accidentally blew up the planet.
themuffinman: LOL. That sounds like something Rodimus would do. But you are saying WfC is based off in part from the movies, then?
Tresob: Oh, yes. The introduction of Barricade is perhaps the biggest nod to the movies. Barricade was not a big player in anything G1...and I can’t even remember him being in G1 (he might have been a very late release). Barricade was BB’s nemesis in the movies though. Likewise, Brawl was (eventually) the name for the tank in the first movie. Brawl was originally a G1 character as part of the Combaticons, but he stood on his own in the Bay films. My point is that Brawl is probably in the game because he was in the movie.
Or take Sideswipe...the movies introduced him in the second installment, Revenge of the Fallen...right when the game was in development. In G1, Sideswipe is most known for being twin brothers with Sunstreaker. The two are supposed to be inseparable. In the movies, though, Sideswipe fights alone...as he does in the game.
themuffinman: That’s also when they added those two other twins in the movies.
Tresob: Don’t get me started on the twins. They ruined my favorite TF.
themuffinman: OK, I won’t.
Tresob: G1 Skids is my favorite TF. They ruined him.
themuffinman: So you said.
Tresob: It was horrible.
themuffinman: I thought you didn’t want to talk about it.
Tresob: I don’t. It’s too horrible to talk about.
Tresob: So, yeah, W4C owes a lot more to Michael Bay than one might realize. It kind of takes a lot of the Bay movies, but puts a retro G1 skin overtop of it. Maybe that's a better way of thinking of it.
But it also was a set up for TF: Prime...the first season of which was entirely about Dark Energon. While the continuity might not stay totally consistent, it’s clear that Hasbro is definitely interested in cross-referencing the show and game and use different media to advertise each other.
themuffinman: Well, I thank you for taking the time out to explain this all to me. This gives me a lot to think about while I’m waiting to snipe you on the Rust map.
Tresob: Any opportunity to geek out about Transformers to a willing audience is time well spent in my book. ‘Til all are one!