High Moon Studios Saved the Dinobots From Extinction

High Moon Studios Saved the Dinobots From Extinction

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The self-proclaimed "King of the Transformers" was nearly blacklisted by Hasbro.

In a modern media landscape littered with unnecessary franchise revivals and nostalgia exploitation, it's easy to forget that, yes, there are a few things from our collective childhood still left untouched. One such set of characters are the Dinobots, the reptilian Transformers faction famous for characters such as Grimlock, Slag, Sludge, Snarl, and Swoop. Now, if you're wondering why someone hasn't yet jumped on the idea of taking humongous, robotic, sword-fighting, fire-breathing, transforming, prehistoric creatures from outer space, and it to make gobs of money from twelve-year-old boys (and, admit it, the rest of us) the answer may surprise you: They've been shelved. Officially. Or, at least, they were shelved until one videogame developer's personal passion for the franchise convinced Hasbro, the ruling steward of all things Transformer, to resurrect the long-forgotten beasts.

At some point in the timeline of toys, TV, and Michael Bay movies, Hasbro chose to permanently retire the Dinobots, halting anyone (Mr. Bay included) from ever being able to use the characters or their storyline. Still, Matt Tieger, Game Director of High Moon Studios (which had previously made Transformers: War for Cybertron), travelled with his team to Rhode Island to pitch a game highlighting Grimlock, his favorite speech-impaired tyrannosaurus, without knowing the king lizard had been already been blacklisted from future canon.

"It was really easy for me to get behind Grimlock as a playable character ... for some very selfish reasons," Tieger said during a recent interview with Polygon. "He was a big fucking space T-rex. Who doesn't find that interesting? He [is] a story driver. You don't even have to like Transformers to be interested in this character."

Sadly, despite Tieger's enthusiasm, his pitch was rejected. Hasbro simply refused to allow the Dinobots back into the Transformers' story, telling Tieger, "That sounds really exciting - to you--but for us, it doesn't really work."

There were a few reasons Hasbro wasn't interested. Firstly, there was the origin story. According to canon, the Dinobots became Dinobots on Earth, and Earth is out of High Moon's jurisdiction for the Cybertron game series. The other issue was style; as Tieger puts it, "In some ways I think Steven Spielberg and Jurassic Park rethought what we think about dinosaurs. If you think about what [Dinobots] looked like in the cartoon, they were the traditional tail dragging ... King Kong style. And that's not what we think about them today." To put it simply, Hasbro wasn't convinced that the Dinobots could surpass the 1980s nostalgia factor, and kindle new interest from those not old enough to remember them.

Beaten, Tieger flew home.

Once back in San Diego, Tieger and his team decided to rework Grimlock instead of working without him, despite Hasbro's answer. Working with the studio's lead writer, he began to pore through old Transformer stories to see if there could be a solution that remained true to the spirit of the original story, without actually being the original story. Eventually, they decided on something conceptually relevant to the Transformers universe that also met Hasbro's confines: Shockwave, the "mad scientist" of the franchise, created the Dinobots.

With that problem hypothetically solved, Tieger went to work on Grimlock himself, updating the character's gameplay mechanics to help add variety to the upcoming Cybertron sequel (a common fan complaint of the first), while tweaking his character design for a more modern appeal. In the end, Tieger's team had created a Grimlock true to his roots, yet tweaked in personality, look, and abilities to allow for his return to an unfamiliar era.

"He's kind of the Hulk character in a lot of ways," Tieger said, "and we allow that to be part of the gameplay. In a game when you've been playing for a long time and can transform whenever you want to, having to rethink not just ranged combat, but transformation is pretty varied and is going to challenge you and push you in an interesting way. And it all wraps really nicely with the story about who this character is. It just innately makes sense."

Having addressed Hasbro's concerns, Tieger reformulated his pitch, and flew back to Rhode Island for round two. This time things were different. "They loved it," he said. "They were really thrilled that we had listened to what their concerns were and had solved the issues. We made them relevant." Thanks to the efforts and dino-passion of Tieger and his team, not only has High Moon Studios secured Grimlock for its upcoming Transformers: The Fall of Cybertron, but also added a new chapter in the Transformers universe and, perhaps, opened a path for a true return of the Dinobots.

Source & Image: Polygon

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One would think that Hasbro could have gone the Dreamwave route and given Grimlock a large vehicular form.

Or, as with things like Arcee (when Hasbro keeps making half-hearted announcements stating that the Transformers are genderless), decide: "Who cares? The fans want Grimlock and they will throw money at us for Grimlock."

Me am grimlock, me am relevant to Transformers franchise.

I don't have high hopes for the game. Its predecessor was a so-so third-person shooter that just happened to be faithful to a great franchise. However, I applaud their efforts and am quite happy to hear Grimlock and the Dinobots have come back to the fore of things.

I really liked the first game (though a big part of that was my love of G1, and playing the animated movie soundtrack during multiplayer through a usb stick), but the inclusion of Grimlock in the trailer for the second was what convinced me to preorder the second. Hasbro are nuts, the Dinobots were easily amongst the most popular Transformers. Happy to see High Moon are doing such a good job with the franchise.

Bitches, please. There is only one true Dinobot.

THANK GOD they left the Dinobots on the shelf for Bay to not turn them into some sort of hiphop-style-dinosaur-racial-slur-boy-band-one-liner-type-group.

He probably would of made the "Dinobots" turn into neon light smothered "dumsh,dumsh,dumsh" chavvy boy racer mess. Small mercy.

Oh yes Micheal Bay's interchangeable CGI abominations are fine, but a T-rex dragging his tail? It's SO UNREALISTIC!

And OF COURSE earth is of limits because how are we EVER going to make talking robots relatable without Shia-le-butfuck and bouncing tits and jingoism?

Seventh Actuality:
Bitches, please. There is only one true Dinobot.

Bah when the Dinobots made their depute in the G1 cartoon show, the other dinosaur robot you're referring to (pretty obvious from your avatar) didn't existed yet!
Either way this shouldn't suprise me despite Hasbro has treated Transformers fans better (Toy wise) as oppose to their other franchise they owned.

wooty:
THANK GOD they left the Dinobots on the shelf for Bay to not turn them into some sort of hiphop-style-dinosaur-racial-slur-boy-band-one-liner-type-group.

He probably would of made the "Dinobots" turn into neon light smothered "dumsh,dumsh,dumsh" chavvy boy racer mess. Small mercy.

Yea, and he would've had Grimlock voiced by Carlos Mencia.

Can you blame Hasbro for wanting to keep the developmentally disabled transformer hidden away on this side of the PC (politically correct that is) timeline. People could get away with a lot more in the 80s.
But I'm glad he's making a comeback.

Ignatz_Zwakh:
I don't have high hopes for the game. Its predecessor was a so-so third-person shooter that just happened to be faithful to a great franchise. However, I applaud their efforts and am quite happy to hear Grimlock and the Dinobots have come back to the fore of things.

Agreed, though War for Cybertron was a rather awesome game. I've only ever played the online multiplayer portion, but that was always a fun focus for when me and my friends hung out.

Hopefully since they don't have to work on a movie tie-in game now, they'll be returning a little more towards WfC instead of Dark of the Moon.

"and Earth is out of High Moon's jurisdiction"
Out of context this makes it sound like Hasbro wants to fire the entire development team into the sun.

That's funny because they certainly didn't stop "The Beast Within" from being made. Even if they did declare it non-canon later (which really means nothing against the lovecraftian horror that is Transformer's web of continuities).

So weird how Hasbro has absolutely NO clue on what could be a succes or not. I mean, they are the Dinobots! Probably the most popular Autobots of them all. How can they shelf that? Are they that scared to make money?

Well, while I'm not really interested in the game at all... this did remind me how much I used to love dinobots as a kid.
Good times, good memories.
I never really did like the vehicle ones. But I think my childhood revolving around the dino ones probably is the reason for that.

Ignatz_Zwakh:
I don't have high hopes for the game. Its predecessor was a so-so third-person shooter that just happened to be faithful to a great franchise. However, I applaud their efforts and am quite happy to hear Grimlock and the Dinobots have come back to the fore of things.

Allow me to change your mind...with 2 video's...

First, A video showing some gameplay

And now, a video showing Grimlocks gameplay.

I don't think the game will be good simply because of these 2 video's i think it will be good because they have addressed the problems of the first game, and are working on improving them to make this game the best it can be. Which is what any game developer should do.

Plus they are true to the franchise, so wont screw anything up :P

TitanAura:
"and Earth is out of High Moon's jurisdiction"
Out of context this makes it sound like Hasbro wants to fire the entire development team into the sun.

Hasbro are planning a HUGE continuity project, so far, High Moon have the Cybertron law, and The guys creating the Prime series have Earth.

The 2014 live action film is also meant to tie in with this Continuity.

Maybe this is why Grimlock fell off the face of the IDW planet after his arch was done...

Given the way the story developed... Grimlock should be dead... but they never mentioned it or cameo a corpse or anything.

I've been wondering about that ever since. I wonder if he'll return to the comics.

How can anyone be stupid enough to shelve the Dinobots?!

arc1991:

Hasbro are planning a HUGE continuity project, so far, High Moon have the Cybertron law, and The guys creating the Prime series have Earth.

The 2014 live action film is also meant to tie in with this Continuity.

Ugh...

Draconalis:
Maybe this is why Grimlock fell off the face of the IDW planet after his arch was done...

Given the way the story developed... Grimlock should be dead... but they never mentioned it or cameo a corpse or anything.

I've been wondering about that ever since. I wonder if he'll return to the comics.

How can anyone be stupid enough to shelve the Dinobots?!

arc1991:

Hasbro are planning a HUGE continuity project, so far, High Moon have the Cybertron law, and The guys creating the Prime series have Earth.

The 2014 live action film is also meant to tie in with this Continuity.

Ugh...

Ugh, all you want :P but to be honest, Transformers Prime is an Excellent cartoon,
For example.

Hell Airachnid mentions Regulon 4, which was mentioned in the "The Rebirth" (the last episode of the G1 cartoon) by Kup!

Also, the Cybertron Games at least keep to the general law of Transformers, i am however worried about the 2014 film...

arc1991:
Snip

Watched the clip in its entirely... the character designs are atrocious and it disturbs me that this is supposed to tie into the established continuity... and I can't even make out who the hell these bots are supposed to be.

I like the "We can't get Soundwave's voice right, so we'll make him mute" touch though... wait... no I don't.

I remember Tieger's passion from the earliest development logs of War for Cybertron. That guy has the potential to elevate the videogame portion of the Transformers franchise to true greatness.
Seeing how the first game was my GotY of 2010, I'm understandably nutty-bananas excited for Fall of Cybertron, and with all the extra gameplay variety thrown into the mix, the presence of the Dinobots is really just the icing on the cake. Delicious, delicious icing. :D

Draconalis:

arc1991:
Snip

Watched the clip in its entirely... the character designs are atrocious and it disturbs me that this is supposed to tie into the established continuity... and I can't even make out who the hell these bots are supposed to be.

I like the "We can't get Soundwave's voice right, so we'll make him mute" touch though... wait... no I don't.

It's actually quite easy to make out who is who...

The Red one = Knock Out

The big one next to him = Breakdown (After Cybertron he beefed himself up, and i believe he is no longer part of the Stunticons, however i dont know...

The female, A new Character called Airachnid

And Soundwave doesn't become mute till Earth, he has a voice actor in this game and

They got his voice just fine ;)

Don't get me wrong, if you can't tell who they are then fair enough, your post just seemed to be a bit...hatefull...like your not even giving it a chance, although judging by your picture your a G1 fan... :P

arc1991:
snip

Of course I'm a g1 fan. It's the standard by which I judge all transformer products as well. Beast wars was the only other transformers show that didn't suck.

Also, I played the game, I know what he sounded liked like there. If nothing else it makes the Prime version look even worse for it.

Draconalis:

arc1991:
snip

Of course I'm a g1 fan. It's the standard by which I judge all transformer products as well. Beast wars was the only other transformers show that didn't suck.

Also, I played the game, I know what he sounded liked like there. If nothing else it makes the Prime version look even worse for it.

There is a reason why he doesn't speak in Transformers Prime, he is an Intelligence officer, he gathers information, and is good at it. The only reason he is good it is because he doesn't have emotion, he got rid of it so he could get information better, without caring why, or who it ends up killing. So taking away his voice means he can do it even better, as he doesn't need to reply, or divulge in conversation, he gets his orders, and he does it. Usually with Laserbeak. It makes perfect sense to be honest, however there is rumours he will speak in one of the new episodes, so we will see.

I'm not saying G1 is bad, if you watch G1 then that's your business :P however it does have ALOT of errors, especially continuity errors. and is half the reason i believe there are so many continuities of the show. G1 is always in my heart, But Armada and Prime take the cake easily. less errors and is generally more fun to watch. All i ask is try not to burn something to the ground before you give it a proper chance :P

arc1991:

There is a reason why he doesn't speak in Transformers Prime, he is an Intelligence officer, he gathers information, and is good at it. The only reason he is good it is because he doesn't have emotion, he got rid of it so he could get information better, without caring why, or who it ends up killing. So taking away his voice means he can do it even better, as he doesn't need to reply, or divulge in conversation, he gets his orders, and he does it.

Sounds more like Shockwave than Soundwave... but losing your voice doesn't increase your effectiveness logically for most things... specifically not information gathering. And that's not Soundwaves character, which is the whole reason I take issue with these terrible terrible products, which leads me to:

arc1991:

I'm not saying G1 is bad, if you watch G1 then that's your business :P however it does have ALOT of errors, especially continuity errors. and is half the reason i believe there are so many continuities of the show. G1 is always in my heart, But Armada and Prime take the cake easily. less errors and is generally more fun to watch.

Regardless of how error filled and continuity distorting the original series was, it established characters that my generation grew up loving.

Taking those names, and virtually nothing else, slamming them into some vague concept and shoving it out the door does not appeal to me in the slightest.

There are plenty of Transformers comics that have taken liberty with character design and personality. Grimlock was a tank on Cybertron during the "War Within" continuity, but that didn't change the overall feel of Grimlock. They made him intelligent with a speech impediment, and still, looking at him... he was Grimlock.

It's essentially the same as taking the names of... what's a beloved series about something... I don't watch TV anymore... so this might take a while.

Shit... I'll stick with a classic because I don't know what's popular anymore

It's like taking Bambi, but instead of a deer, he's a duck, and he's trying to save humanity from an evil plague.

They got his name right, and they got that he's an animal right, but everything else is so very wrong... but still they try to portray it as THE Bambi.

I do not approve.

And I've watched more than enough of Armada to know just exactly how terrible that show is.

Edit:

And if I ever see a fucking mouth on Optimus Prime... I will call it Bayized and hate it till the day I die.

Draconalis:

arc1991:

There is a reason why he doesn't speak in Transformers Prime, he is an Intelligence officer, he gathers information, and is good at it. The only reason he is good it is because he doesn't have emotion, he got rid of it so he could get information better, without caring why, or who it ends up killing. So taking away his voice means he can do it even better, as he doesn't need to reply, or divulge in conversation, he gets his orders, and he does it.

Sounds more like Shockwave than Soundwave... but losing your voice doesn't increase your effectiveness logically for most things... specifically not information gathering. And that's not Soundwaves character, which is the whole reason I take issue with these terrible terrible products, which leads me to:

arc1991:

I'm not saying G1 is bad, if you watch G1 then that's your business :P however it does have ALOT of errors, especially continuity errors. and is half the reason i believe there are so many continuities of the show. G1 is always in my heart, But Armada and Prime take the cake easily. less errors and is generally more fun to watch.

Regardless of how error filled and continuity distorting the original series was, it established characters that my generation grew up loving.

Taking those names, and virtually nothing else, slamming them into some vague concept and shoving it out the door does not appeal to me in the slightest.

There are plenty of Transformers comics that have taken liberty with character design and personality. Grimlock was a tank on Cybertron during the "War Within" continuity, but that didn't change the overall feel of Grimlock. They made him intelligent with a speech impediment, and still, looking at him... he was Grimlock.

It's essentially the same as taking the names of... what's a beloved series about something... I don't watch TV anymore... so this might take a while.

Shit... I'll stick with a classic because I don't know what's popular anymore

It's like taking Bambi, but instead of a deer, he's a duck, and he's trying to save humanity from an evil plague.

They got his name right, and they got that he's an animal right, but everything else is so very wrong... but still they try to portray it as THE Bambi.

I do not approve.

And I've watched more than enough of Armada to know just exactly how terrible that show is.

I...what?

Its not like Taking Bambi, and turning him into a duck, More like taking Bambi, and making him an older deer...

A Franchise like Transformers, the characters need to be changed a little, unless it would just be boring. The characters really haven't changed all that much, Appearance, yes, personality...no. Blurr in the Animated cartoon, generally acts like his G1 counterpart, if a bit smarter and less of comic relief. Same with Bumblebee in many ways. (However even i hate he loses his voice in Prime)

I suppose we all like different continuities, and why we like them. I just hate it when people think G1 is the best version of Transformers we will ever get, which shuns down shows like Prime, and even the Animated series.

arc1991:
Snip

Without even touching Bay's atrocities on the franchise

Grimlock, as seen on "Robots in Disguise"

Bumblebee, as seen on "Prime"

Cyclonus, as seen on "Armada"

I could go on... but I don't feel like subjecting myself to any more...

At least Bumblebee is yellow though.... right? /sarcasm

There are good ways of taking the series, and there are bad ways. The comics go the good route, the shows go the bad. Simple as that.

 

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