Interview: Cuz Perry, creative director of "Forged to Fight" mobile game
Two weeks ago Hasbro and Kabam announced a new Transformers based fighting game: Forged to Fight! This announcement included a striking introductory video (see below) and promised to deliver action blending both "Generations" and live action movie models into one narrative.
On December 5, 2016 I was given the chance to conduct a phone interview with Cuz Parry, creative director at Kabam, the gaming company behind popular games such as Fast & Furious: Legacy and Marvel Contest of Champions. The interview evolved into more of a discussion, so this write up provides a summary instead of the normal Q&A interview format.
Cuz Parry is definitely "one of us". He began his gaming career at Electronic Arts working on console games including the famous Skate series. In more recent time he has worked on projects including Fast & Furious: Legacy and Marvel Contest of Champions (now entering itsthird year). Mr. Parry was very enthusiastic about Transformers throughout the conversation and stressed that many of the artists working on the game were also "hardcore toy collectors" who used toys as the starting point for some of the CG models in the game.
The idea behind the game is to collect and build your dream team, mixing up characters from different eras. In this game the Transformers wind up on a mysterioius planet and there is a mystery to be solved in explaining just how they got there and why they are there. This is not a pure "Autobot versus Decepticon" game however. Former enemies can team up in this game making it (wait for it...) "More than meets the eye"!
Kabam worked with Hasbro on creating a self-contained storyline that would not touch on any other storylines such as IDW or "Robots in Disguise" (2015). The game will have a story mode despite being a one on one fighter game. There is an over arching story but there will also be smaller "spotlights" allowing shorter, contained stories to be told. This story is not considered "official canon", it is self contained to this game. Among the story elements that the designers kept in mind were distinguishing between N.E.S.T. and Earth Defense Command as well as Grimlock from G1 versus "Age of Extinction" (one would never let Optimus ride on his back, you guess which one!).
"Forged to Fight" will be a fighting game first and foremost. The Marvel Contest of Champions game was cited several times as the springboard for this game making "Forged to Fight" an "evolution of fighting systems seen in Marvel Champions". The game will involve fighting on a 3D plane (a la "Virtua-Fighter") allowing moves like side-stepping. The designers also felt meaningful transformation was very important, so alt-modes will play heavily into special attacks. Balancing abilities is important for eventually possible there may be both team and Alliance play.
Ore 13 will be introduced into the game as a leveling up tool. There is also a resource called "Spark essence". This helps to introduce an RPG element to the game. Shockwave's IDW Publishing "Ore 13" story served as an inspiration for this feature.
Kabam was given free reign to choose characters, but Parry noted that it made sense to align characters with the current toy line. Hasbro did not mandate any specific characters for the designers to use.
While there may be some voice acting, communication will primarily be via text so as not to distract from the actual game play itself.
From a development standpoint, it takes roughly three months from concept to animation to develop a model for this game. The transformation speed affects how battles will work, so the designers worked hard to create "real" transformations without using too many animation "chests" to convert the characters.
Ben's World of Transformers would like to thank Rogers & Cowan and Kabam for setting up this interview. "Forged to fight" is currently scheduled for a Spring 2017 release on all mobile platforms.