Transformers Universe First Details - An Interview with Steven Huckle

Posted Thu, Aug 25, 2011 by B. de la Durantaye

Earlier this year Jagex announced its latest MMOG project, Transformers Universe. Details were still a bit thin so Ten Ton Hammer caught up to Art Director Steven Huckle on the show floor at gamescom this year to see what more we could find out. As it turns out, Steven was happy to answer our questions.

TTH: How long have you been developing Transformers Universe?

Steven Huckle: We started in earnest in January, but there was a build-up before then.

TTH: Are you talking about a persistent world where everybody is a transformer, an autobot?

Steven Huckle: Yes. Essentially, it’s more self-contained, I want to say it's a traditional MMO but it’s not. It’s combat based because you have 30 foot robots going around smashing the crap out of stuff. It’s going to be good. We have some very unique things other than traditional vehicles or class mounts that get you from A to B. Here, the mounts are you.

Character progression is something that we really want to get right. If we get too complicated, people don’t know what we’re doing.

TTH: Are you using a proprietary engine?

Steven Huckle: No, it’s our own design. We have a whole new graphics engine for it. Runescape is what we’re built on. We’ve got a lot of experience with engines. With Transformers, we’ve got something more.

TTH: So it's going to be browser based?

Steven Huckle: Yes, it is. It's more accessible. It makes it easy for people to get their heads around it.

TTH: Obviously, there’s going to be some PvP?

Steven Huckle: Yeah, it’s going to be a mixture of PvP and PvE. I think, again, it’s that broad audience we're after. We want to give players the opportunity to do both.

TTH: Now when we were talking about the universe, are you looking at the modern universe or at the classic universe?

Steven Huckle: That’s a difficult one to answer. Transformers had 11,000 transformers in the last 25 years so we’ve got a lot to choose from. Obviously we have the big names in there. We want to give something special to the fans and we’ve got a couple identifiable characters that we’re not really talking about at the moment.

It’s set in the Prime Continuity because that’s what is on the latest TV show now that the films are out of the way. We’re kind of conscious that there’s a big world of wealth of transformers to choose from so we’re going to take cues from everyone. It’s an MMO, we’ve got ten to twenty years hopefully so over that time, we’ll be able to add lots and lots of stuff into it. We feel like kids in a candy shop and sometimes have a hard time which bots we're going to choose.

TTH: Sometimes picking up a large IP like Transformers can be somewhat restrictive by trying to stay true to the canon and all. Do you find it restricting at all or do you find it just so invigorating that you just want to do it?

Steven Huckle: I think that it’s a combination of both. We knew that we couldn't make Optimus Prime pink for example, so I think certain restrictions were kind of set.

With the character customization, and the fact that we’re creating our own and we’re designing the world and making it for the players to use, we have a lot more freedom there. We’re restricted in some ways, but more free in other ways. Which works out really well. It makes our life very, very easy. We can actually focus on making it look good and play well as opposed to battling over smaller details.


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