2013 brought a year of endings and beginnings to the Transformers brand – not only was it the year that Transformers Prime ended, but it was also the year that saw several key members of the Transformers brand team, many of whom had worked on the brand since Transformers Armada or earlier, part ways with Hasbro – but not before unleashing the single biggest Transformer toy ever built. On the front of new beginnings, buzz and hype began to build for Transformers 4, and the Transformers Generations line transitioned to a new “comic pack in” style, bundling IDW’s Transformers comics with the Deluxe class toys. Production on Transformers 4 continued throughout 2013, with Jack Reynor being cast as the second main lead in January. He would be joined by Nicola Peltz in March, Stanley Tucci in April, and in May, Kelsey Grammer was cast as the lead villain, Harold Attinger. More casting news followed, and in late May, the new vehicle forms for Optimus Prime and Bumblebee were revealed, along with the addition of Hound to the cast of the film. On September 3, 2014, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura confirmed that the Dinobots would be appearing in Transformers 4, and that same day, the title of the movie was officially confirmed as Transformers: Age of Extinction.
Transformers Prime Beast Hunters opening credits. Uploaded to Youtube by NFSHOTPURSUITELITE[/size]
The Transformers Prime cartoon series, which had kicked off in late 2010 and run with a new season every year since, concluded in 2013 with a final 13 episode season. For its last season the show was rebranded as Beast Hunters, which was the original working title for Beast Machines. The third season picked up right where season 2 left off, with Optimus Prime’s fate uncertain and the rest of the Autobots scattered. The Autobots got some help though from a new ally in the form of Ultra Magnus, a by-the-book commander from the days of the war on Cybertron. However Megatron and the Decepticons had a reunion of their own, with the Decepticon scientist Shockwave, who had used his long isolation on Cybertron to breed a huge mechanical dragon, a Predacon, which was a beast from Cybertron’s distant past. The Autobots faced off against their foes and stormed Megatron’s fortress, Darkmount, but it was not until Optimus Prime – revived, reformatted and upgraded – arrived that the day was won and Megatron’s fortress toppled.
The remainder of the season progressed through two major arcs. The first arc concerned a hunt for Predacon fossils after it was revealed that Shockwave had cloned Predacons in the past and left some of them on Earth, where they had died out and become fossilized. While yet another “hunt the artifacts” plot, the show handled the story arc a little better than the one in season 2. This arc was resolved when it was revealed that the Predacon was much more than a mere beast, transformed into a robot and took the name Predaking for itself. This scared Megatron enough to order the destruction of the Predacon clone project which the artifact hunt revolved around, and frame the Autobots for the deed.
The final arc of the series concerned Synthetic Energon, introduced in the Season 1 episode Stronger, Faster. After the destruction of the Predacon clone project, it was revealed that Synthetic Energon could create “cybermatter” which could terraform Earth into a new Cybertron – or revive the original Cybertron. To produce Synthetic Energon Megatron had Ratchet kidnapped, but Ratchet escaped and drew the Autobots to the Decepticon’s warship, turning Predaking on Megatron at the same time. In the dramatic final battle, Bumblebee was slain, his dead body falling into a vat of cybermatter which promptly revived him and allowed him to kill Megatron. The series concluded with the Autobots using the cybermatter to resurrect Cybertron, although some threads were left open – not least that Predaking had survived his final battle with Megatron.
Transformers Prime got a straight to DVD sequel (also broadcast on Hub Network) titled Predacons Rising. Predacons Rising was set shortly after the end of Beast Hunters and saw the Autobots on a revived Cybertron. Optimus Prime and Wheeljack set out into space to recover the lost Allspark, to complete the revival of Cybertron and truly restore the world to life. But on Earth, Unicron stirred and seized on the body of Megatron to continue his campaign of destruction. The newly revived Unicron Megatron tore a path through Cybertron, with every other character joining forces to stop Unicron, mostly in vain. In the end it was Optimus Prime who defeated Unicron, by sealing his dark essence in the same vessel that had once contained the Allspark. But in order to do this, Optimus Prime had to take the Allspark into himself, and so to revive Cybertron, Optimus Prime had to give up his own life. After Optimus’ sacrifice, a shower of sparks erupted from the Well of All Sparks, and the spark of Optimus Prime, released from his body to be reborn anew, briefly hovered before the Autobots, as if saying goodbye to his friends. Megatron, freed from Unicron’s influence, lost his taste for conquest and repented his old ways, while Starscream planned to rebuild the Decepticons in his own image – only to be confronted by Predaking and his new Predacon subjects, Darksteel and Sky Lynx, who had originally been cloned by Shockwave for Starscream. Starscream’s fate was left ambiguous as he cowered before the three dragons.
This represented the end of the Transformers Prime saga. The final season was much improved from the second season, and provided good closure on most of the character’s stories, as well as revisiting ideas from the earlier episodes. Some of the themes of the ending – and of Predacons Rising – had a lot in common with Beast Machines, particularly in how Optimus Prime in the last sacrificed himself to release Sparks so that Cybertron might have a future and so that an evil force trying to consume the source of the life might be sealed for good. The series was a CGI tour de force with impressive visuals throughout – some of the best ever shown in a Transformers series – and both the series finale and Predacons Rising were satisfying finales for the series. However, while the story of Transformers Prime might have ended, the saga will continue, with a sequel series in production and set to arrive in 2015.
The Transformers Prime series was capped with the release of the Covenant of Primus, a large hardback book with a deluxe case which tells the story of the original 13 Transformers created by Primus and fleshes out much of the history of the Aligned Continuity’s universe. It is thought that this book might well be the same as the so-called “binder of revelation” produced by Hasbro’s Rik Alvarez when setting out the initial foundations of the Aligned Continuity – it does, in any event, establish a lot of background on various characters and finally reveals the identities of all 13 of Primus’ original creations.
A selection of the new designed toys released as a part of Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters, including the Predacons Predaking, Skystalker, Grimwing, Lazerback, and Ripclaw, along with Ultra Magnus, Smokescreen and Shockwave[/size]
Beast Hunters was accompanied by a toyline. Many of the Autobots and Decepticons in the line were remolded versions of their earlier Transformers Prime toys, extensively so, with many panels sporting added spikes and fins as if the line was suddenly a crossover with Mad Max. The Beast Hunters line also added some new molds into the mix, including a Deluxe version of Smokescreen in his initial season 2 deco, and Voyager class versions of Predaking, Shockwave, and Optimus Prime’s new body. Like the animation model on the show, the Optimus Prime from the 2012 Transformers Prime mainline was remolded to give Ultra Magnus a toy. In addition to the Deluxe and Voyager class toys, a pair of larger “Ultimate” versions of Beast Hunters Optimus Prime and Predaking were released. These larger figures featured more special features and Predaking also sported light up “fire breath”.
Beast Hunters also boasted a selection of non-show characters, mainly to get more than one Predacon on the shelves. There were four more Predacons molds released, three Deluxes and one Voyager. Ripclaw, one of the Deluxes, was a female character, whose design featured in the IDW Rage of the Dinobots miniseries as Ser Ket. Each Beast Hunters release was accompanied by a story chapter included with the instructions of each toy, which explained the role each character played in the wider Beast Hunters story, although these stories are not in continuity with the cartoon series.
The Beast Hunters Cyberverse line added Transformers Prime characters like the Air Vehicon, Airachnid, Smokescreen, and Hardshell into the mix, along with new season 3 characters like the powered up Optimus Prime, Shockwave and Predaking. The five member Abominus combiner was a highlight of these releases[/size]
The Cyberverse series continued through Beast Hunters, with a decent number of new molds, some of which filled out gaps from the Prime line, such as releasing a Legion Airachnid and Smokescreen, along with Commander versions of Hardshell and Shockwave. Other releases included an Air Vehicon and Optimus Prime’s new body. In addition to a Commander Class Predaking, five Legion class Predacons, all based on the Generation 1 Terrorcons, were released – and true to their heritage, the five could merge into Abominus. The final combination was a little awkward – Hun-Grrr, the core of the combination, looked disproportionately small compared to the limbs – but it was a cool feature, and crucially all five individual toys did a good job of being good and functional toys in their own right, unlike so many combiners which make sacrifices to make the combination happen. In Abominus’ case, the sacrifice was on the combined mode alone.
Vehicle playsets also continued with the Beast Hunters Cyberverse, with the first releases of the line including a second mechsuit like the Bumblebee battlesuit, this time themed around the Decepticon Breakdown. The other release of the line was the Skyclaw, which was based on the Decepticon Dreadwing’s spaceship but it was marketed as an Autobot set and included the only toy released to date of Smokescreen’s blue and yellow Beast Hunters colors. The third vehicle in the series was almost not released at all, but finally appeared at retail in the US in 2014. This set was an Autobot themed redeco of the 2012 Decepticon driller set with Bumblebee.
Transformers Go added some new Japan only molds, as well as redecoing some of the Beast Hunters toys for Japan. Shown here is the Transformers Go Hunter Optimus Prime redeco of Beast Hunters Optimus Prime, side by side with Optimus Exprime, the bullet train Optimus Prime who was the line’s final release in 2014. The Samurai team are shown individually in the front of the image, with the Shinobi team in their Gogekiso combination at rear[/size]
Japan did not get the Beast Hunters series in 2013, but Takara-Tomy instead forged their own path. They released many of the Beast Hunters toys with decos more accurate to the original characters (except Ratchet who ended up green, and a Decepticon). The line was named “Transformers Go!”, but the release of the Beast Hunters toys in the line was just a warmup to the real line, which featured seven all new, Japan exclusive toys. The first three were released in June of 2013, and were collectively known as the Samurai team. Their allies, the Shinobi team, were released at a rate of one per month in July, August and September. Each three member team could combine to form a single large robot, but like the Multiforce in Transformers Victory and the Transformers Energon Autobots, the combined mode configuration could be varied to provide three different combined robot modes. The seventh release, who came out in early 2014, was Optimus Exprime, who could combine with Kenzan of the Samurai team and Gekisomaru of the Shinobi team in two different ways to form two more combined forms.
Opposing these heroes in the Transformers Go! Line were the four non-show Predacons, who all got new head molds and were collectively referred to as the Predacon Four Oni. Their leader was Predaking, referred to in Japan as Dragotron. The Ultimate Predaking was redecoed in red and released in the line to represent the “awakened” form of Dragotron.
The story of Transformers Go! was chronicled in a series of DVD animations which were given away with Japanese publications TV Magazine and TV-Kun / TV Boy. The series blended CGI for the robots with cel animation for the humans, in a similar style to the Transformers Cybertron series. Slightly disconcertingly, the robots mouths did not move when they talked. The show was standard super robot anime fare – the Samurai / Shinobi would combine when facing the enemy of the episode and unleash one or more of their flashy special attacks in order to win the day. It was a fun and inoffensive series of animated shorts to promote the line, with each episode clocking in at between 10 and 15 minutes long.
Many Masterpiece Transformers were released in 2013, with Masterpiece Soundwave and his cassettes closely followed by Masterpiece versions of the Autobots Prowl, Bluestreak and Smokescreen[/size]
The Transformers Masterpiece series produced new releases a prodigious rate, with more new Masterpieces released in 2013 than any year before. The year of Masterpiece releases kicked off in earnest with Masterpiece Soundwave (MP-13) in January, followed in March and April by two two-packs of his cassettes, dubbed MP-15 and MP-16 (MP-14, Red Alert, was released the previous year). Soundwave was a very cool release because not only was he completely show accurate, and Soundwave, but he could fit up to three cassettes in his chest at once. He could have Laserbeak perch on his shoulder or on his arm, as seen in the cartoon, and even came with a gun mode Megatron. The individual cassettes were tiny examples of engineering wizardry, being fully detailed and articulated, but no bigger than the original cassettes – Laserbeak and Buzzsaw even had the “engine” parts on their backs which were originally separate accessories built in! Masterpiece Soundwave and all five cassettes saw a release in the US later in the summer of 2013, along with a Masterpiece version of the one-note character Acid Storm.
The Masterpiece releases continued through the summer with the release of MP-17, Prowl, and MP-18, Streak aka Bluestreak aka Silverstreak. MP-19, Smokescreen, came out at the end of the year, rounding out the trio. All three of these Masterpieces used a common base mold – much like the original Generation 1 toys – but each one featured a different head mold, based on their animation models from the Generation 1 cartoon. Smokescreen naturally was remolded to match the rally car design of the original Generation 1 toy, but went further with the remolded design sporting new shoulders and different shoulder guns, all as a complete reflection of the Generation 1 design. Like the Masterpiece Sideswipe, all these new Masterpieces were wonderfully detailed and solid releases, with excellent looks and designs.
Takara-Tomy also revisited the realm of Alternator / Binaltech styled die-cast cars with detailed and realistic interiors with the Transformers GT series. The Transformers GT series extensively remolded the Alternity Nissan GT-R convoy into the rally version of the GT-R. Four versions of the mold – each with unique accessories and alternate heads – were released. The first two released were based on Optimus Prime and Star Saber. The third release was a version of Megatron, with the fourth (third announced) being Fortress Maximus. All four toys were packaged with Microman figures modeled after the “race queens” seen at rallies. At least these ones did not look underage like the ones included with the Kiss Play series…
In March 2013, after literally years of speculation and hope, Takara-Tomy reissued what was, until this very year, the largest Transformer ever made. The Encore series Fortress Maximus was a re-release of the Japanese version of Fortress Maximus from 1987, so he included the gigantic sword accessory as well as all the other parts from the original release. Fortress Maximus up until this point had been an increasingly hard toy for many fans to add to their collections due to his size and the difficulty to track down some of his parts, so the reissue was warmly received. It currently stands as the last release in the Encore reissue series.
Transformers Generations Metroplex, the first and to date only Titan class Transformer, is currently the tallest Transformer of them all. Photo by Tony_Bacala[/size]
Fortress Maximus may have been for the longest time the biggest Transformer ever released, but June 2013 saw an even bigger Transformer get released. Following on from Metroplex’s central role in the Transformers Fall of Cybertron game, Hasbro released a gigantic Metroplex toy in the Generations line, that stood close to a whole two inches taller than Fortress Maximus (though Fort Max retains the title of having the greatest overall mass of a Transformer toy, height notwithstanding). Featuring lights, sounds, voice clips, three modes and gigantic sticker sheet, Metroplex formed the centerpiece of the rebranded Transformers Generations line in both the US, which shifted from being a vehicle for Fall of Cybertron toys to releasing more general Classics toys – and all branded with a “Thrilling 30” logo – Hasbro kicked off the 30th anniversary celebrations a year early, having learned from how Revenge of the Fallen overshadowed the 25th anniversary.
Transformers Generations: Thrilling 30 series releases from 2013 included the Voyager class triple changers Blitzwing, Springer and Sandstorm, Deluxe class Bumblebee and his Goldbug variant, Goldfire, Trailcutter (aka Trailbreaker), Orion Pax, Megatron, Dreadwing, Skids, Waspinator, Thundercracker and Hoist. The new Legends class included an Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Megatron and Starscream, all modeled on past and present IDW comics appearances and scaled to go with Metroplex[/size]
More Generations “Thrilling 30” releases included a new “Legends” series. These Legends were closer to Cyberverse Commanders or Scouts than Legends or the Legion class, though. They kept the two-pack format from the Fall of Cybertron data disks going, with each set including a smaller partner figure with a simple transformation. The partners were effectively Micromasters crossed with Targetmasters – they could switch between robot, vehicle, and weapon modes for the larger toys.
The meat of the Generations series remained the Deluxe and Voyager releases. The “Thrilling 30” Voyagers included some excellent releases in the form of new triple changers Springer, Sandstorm and Blitzwing, all of which were very well received among fans. The assortment diversified and celebrated other eras of the line with the release of Rhinox from Beast Wars, who accurately recreated the design of the gentle giant from the Beast Wars cartoon series. Pleasingly as the Generations line diversified to include characters from other eras of the brand’s long history, the packaging reflected their various insignia, from Maximal to Predacon, from Generation 2 Decepticon to Mini-Con.
The Deluxe class of the 2013 Generations was the backbone of the line. Kicking off the year was an assortment which redecoed the five Combaticons as the five core members of the Wreckers, including the first toy ever of Impactor. Following this the Generations Deluxe assortments started to adapt characters from the IDW comics, and included comics featuring those characters as bonus pack-ins (at least in the USA). These were not mini-comics, like in the Transformers Armada days, but full-blown 22 page comics by IDW, which were also published individually as a part of the main run of IDW’s More than Meets the Eye, Robots in Disguise, and Transformers Spotlights series. Figures released in these assortments included Bumblebee in the new body he received in the Mike Costa ongoing series, Megatron in his stealth bomber body from the same series, a new version of Waspinator, a new version of Autobot Targetmaster Scoop, a new Deluxe-sized Transformers Armada Starscream, and the first-ever figure of Optimus Prime before he was Prime, Orion Pax. The classics line was reborn, and it covered a wider scope than ever before.
The Generations line was released in Japan by Takara-Tomy under the same name, Transformers Generations. The Japanese Generations line, as was by now a trend, featured metallic paint on its releases. There were a handful of releases which were Japan-only, including a very different take on Skywarp to the one that Hasbro released in 2014.
The Kre-O series continued in 2013, introducing a small number of larger sets based around Beast Machines. The Kre-O series was by now all about the Micro Changers, though, which got two more waves of blind-bag releases. The Micro Changers series also expanded with the introduction of the Micro Changers combiners – sets of four Kreons which could transform individually or be combined using the additional parts in the sets to form a single larger robot. The first releases in this series were Superion, Devastator, Bruticus and Predaking, all based on the Generation 1 combiners. The fifth members of each team were included in the blind bag assortments and a little ingenuity was all it took to incorporate them into the combined forms. Later Micro Changer combiner releases carried on and brought forward more sets based on the classic Combiners.
In addition to the ongoing Kre-O series, Hasbro introduced a second “building system” based around Transformers, Transformers Construct Bots. The Construct Bots were designed with customization in mind, with the toys capable of being dismantled down to the smallest components and plenty of potential to mix and match accessories between sets to create new and unique designs. The best part was that the fully assembled figures could transform without being disassembled – effectively make the Construct Bots a “custom Transformers construction kit”.
The inaugural year of the Transformers Collectors Club Figure Subscription Service featured Breakdown, Slipstream, Jackpot, Ultra Mammoth, Scourge and Circuit
Also in toys, 2013 was the debut year of the Transformers Collector’s Club Figure Subscription Service. The club released a series of six exclusive toys at a rate of one a month, to those who had bought in when the subscriptions were offered in late 2012. The inaugural six were: Classics Robots in Disguise Scourge, Transformers Prime Slipstream, Movie universe Circuit, Classics Breakdown, Animated Jackpot, and Beast Wars Ultra Mammoth. The mixture of styles and series meant there was something for everyone – which unfortunately also meant that most fans found one or two releases they were lukewarm to.
IDW carried on apace with their Transformers comics, though notably no Movie themed comics were released in 2013 – the first year since the movie’s release in 2007 where no movie comics were released. IDW continued with their mainline More than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise series, along with Transformers Regeneration 1 and a digital-first sequel to Autocracy titled Monstrosity. Lastly IDW also published a pair of Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters tie-ins, which took up the story of then Dinobots and tied in with the story arc of Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.
Transformers Prime: Rage of the Dinobots issue #3 cover, showing Shockwave and his creation, Ser Ket[/size]
The first of the two IDW Transformers Prime miniseries was titled Rage of the Dinobots. Rage of the Dinobots was set in the past, during the final days of the Fall of Cybertron, where the majority of the Autobots and Decepticons were relocating off-world. The Dinobots clashed with The Forged, a race of Cybertronians who were followers of Shockwave, along with two of Shockwave’s Predacon clones (one of whom, Ser Ket, was a female character and shared a design with Ripclaw from the Beast Hunters toyline). Ultra Magnus also appeared in the series, foreshadowing his joining the cast of the cartoon series. While he left Cybertron, the Dinobots stayed behind.
The further adventures of the Dinobots on Cybertron were then chronicled in the eight issue series simply titled Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters. The series was set many years later, in the present day, and revealed that those Cybertronians who stayed behind on Cybertron had taken refuge beneath the planet. The series focused its attention on all of the Dinobots – starting with Sludge – and the other characters who inhabited the underground cities. The finale of the comic series took place shortly after the end of the Transformers Prime TV series and showed how the revival of Cybertron was not necessarily such a great thing for those beneath its surface. The finale ended showing the Dinobots reuniting with Bumblebee, Arcee and the rest, and finding a new place for themselves on a Cybertron at peace.
Transformers: Regeneration 1 issue #91 cover[/size]
Regeneration 1 continued apace, with the series’ second story arc concerning Scorponok, Grimlock and Nebulos. Scorponok had been revived on Nebulos following the death of the original in Generation 1 #75 – and he had discovered a way to “unlock” the violent impulses of all Transformers with a gene key – which took the form of a literal key. He attempted to “liberate” Cybertron with a huge version of his gene key, but he was defeated when Grimlock sacrificed himself to atone for his mistakes, and the two plunged into the abyss of the canyons lining Cybertron’s surface. The third arc in the series concerned the arrival of the Decepticon War World – commanded by Bludgeon, who had been operating in the shadows ever since the beginning of the series. Amid Bludgeon’s assault of Cybertron, Hot Rod went on a quest which led him to witness a glimpse of the multiverse and several key events in a special “zero” issue – the result of which led to Hot Rod evolving into Rodimus Prime. With Bludgeon defeated and a new Prime ascendant, the final arc of the series began with the arrival of Jhiaxus – all the while with a greater evil lurking in the shadows.
Monstrosity was IDW’s second digital-first series, once again with 12 eight-page issues, this time also collected in four 22 page comics when the run was approaching its conclusion. The series followed on the end of Autocracy, chronicling the early days of Optimus Prime as leader of the Autobots, and a coup by Scorponok to seize control of the Decepticons from Megatron. The series introduced the planet of Junk into the IDW continuity and marked the first time that Quintessons and Sharkticons played a role in the IDW continuity – although they were hinted at in Spotlight: Wheelie. The series title, Monstrosity, referred to the ongoing internal battle within Grimlock, as well as Megatron’s development into a more savage warrior under Quintesson tutelage (a thread that seemingly was picked up from the incomplete War Within: Age of Wrath series).
Spotlights made a comeback in 2013 with a series of six new Spotlights released, covering Orion Pax and Thundercracker in a flashback stories set in the distant past, Bumblebee and Megatron during the events of the Mike Costa penned ongoing, and Trailcutter and Hoist during the events of More than Meets the Eye’s early issues. The six comics, which were included with the initial six Generations Deluxe toys, served to set up various key plot points in the Dark Cybertron crossover, with Metroplex being a running theme through most of the issues. The six issues collectively are known as the Dark Prelude.
Transformers: More than Meets the Eye issue #17 cover, showing the core cast of the series[/size]
Last but by no means least, John Barber and James Roberts pressed ahead with their ongoing series. In More than Meets the Eye, the year kicked off in a big way with the return of the fan-favorite big bad from Last Stand of the Wreckers, Overlord. Overlord’s origin was explored in the 14th issue of the series, explaining a little of what made him the way he was, before he broke loose of his cage concealed on the Lost Light and went on a kill spree which would haunt the cast going forward – one major character’s sacrifice was especially heart-wrenching, more so after a major scene in issue 16, and continues to reverberate in the series to this day.
More than Meets the Eye wrapped up the story arc of the first 21 issues – which James Roberts referred to as “season 1” of the series – with a five part storyline called Remain in Light. The Lost Light crew found their way to the long-lost moon of Cybertron, Luna-1 – and found themselves facing Chief Justice Tyrest who had gone insane and was seeking a way to Cyberutopia. On his side was the zealot, Star Saber, the mad doctor Pharma, and a host of robots called Legislators. Revelations abound during the plotline, which was highly regarded along with much of the rest of the More than Meets the Eye run.
Robots in Disguise meanwhile kicked off the year with a similar large plotline, the five part Return of Megatron. Megatron, missing since the end of Chaos at the end of the Mike Costa ongoing series, made his grand reappearance in the series and reignited the simmering tensions between the Autobots and the Decepticons. Heroes fell, and a major revelation revealed the true nature of one of the major Autobots. And although Megatron was defeated, the effects of the storyline echoed far and wide.
Transformers: Dark Cybertron issue #1 cover
The next issues of Robots in Disguise served as a prologue to the Dark Cybertron event, and provided more backstory to Shockwave, Soundwave, and Starscream. Dark Cybertron kicked off with a vengeance in November 2013, crossing over the casts of More than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise for the first time since both series launched at the beginning of 2012. Nova Prime and Galvatron of the Dead Universe were back and allies again, and with Shockwave as their agent on Cybertron launched their masterplan for domination – but Shockwave had plans of his own. The storyline split and followed three plot threads, each one drawn by a different artist. The first concerned Bumblebee, Starscream and the rest of the cast on Cybertron as they faced Galvatron, Shockwave and their allies, including the gigantic Necrotitan.
The second thread followed the crew of the Lost Light as they journeyed to an aquatic world in search of Metroplex and faced a cast army of alien robots aligned to Shockwave called Ammonites. The third thread concerned Orion Pax, the former Optimus Prime, Rodimus, Hardhead and Cyclonus as they journeyed into the Dead Universe to face Nova Prime. The crossover’s plot was met with a mixed reception; while the plot delivered a decent number of twists, the feeling was that the story moved too slowly and lacked some of the charm of More than Meets the Eye or Robots in Disguise – there were also grumblings that the casts of both series did not get to meet right away.
Like the six new Spotlights, several of the Dark Cybertron prequel comics and all of what would eventually be 12 parts of Dark Cybertron were included as pack-ins with the Generations Deluxe toys.
A new mobile videogame, Transformers: Legends, launched on iOS in 2013 after its Android launch in late 2012. The game, published by Mobage, is the electronic equivalent of a collectible card game. Players can assemble a deck comprised of various cards in different categories ranging from common, to rare, to ultra rare. Players then proceed through campaign levels or challenge other players with their decks to rise through the ranks. Regular events provide new limited edition cards and a chance to win powerful new cards to further increase the power of a player’s deck. The game has been well received and has a dedicated fanbase, although some criticise the gameplay as being tedious, and the fact that through microtransactions some events become a “pay to win” affair.
A sad moment in 2013 however was the news that Aaron Archer, who had worked on the Transformers brand since the Transmetal 2 era of Beast Wars, had parted ways with Hasbro. Aaron Archer had served as lead designer on the Transformers brand through Transformers Armada, Energon and Cybertron. He had played a similar role on the Transformers Alternators line, and was one of the ones responsible on the Hasbro side for bringing about the Transformers live-action movie. As you might be able to appreciate from reading the last dozen entries in this series, Aaron played a key role in the modern transformation of the Transformers brand from a toyline into a full multimedia franchise, and it is in large part thanks to him, and his other fellow designers who tirelessly contributed to the brand, that we can celebrate 30 years of the Transformers. This series of articles is dedicated to all of those who have contributed to making the Transformers brand what it is today – bravo, good sirs!