[UPDATE: Activision COO Lulu Cheng Meservey has since denied that the developer has misplaced the Cybertron source codes. The original story follows below.]
Much to the dismay of Transformers fans everywhere, Hasbro has officially confirmed that despite their interest in remastering the franchise’s Cybertron trilogy of video games, such a release is currently unlikely due to developer Activision having reportedly “lost” the titles’ original source codes.
Consisting of three proper entries and two Nintendo-console-specific tie-ins – the former category encompassing Transformers: War for Cybertron, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, and Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark and the latter a Nintendo DS version of War for Cybertron and the Nintendo Wii-exclusive Cybertron Advcentures – the third-person action Cybertron series allowed for players to experience the events of the series’ often-referred-to-but-rarely-explored Cybertronian Civil War from both the Autobot and Decepticon perspective.
(Fun fact: Rise of the Dark Spark, actually crosses over with Michael Bay’s live-action Transformers film series, with a dimension-barrier-breaking Dark Spark from Age of Extinction playing a role as the game’s central McGuffin.)
Initially released between 2010-2014 primarily for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles (with Dark Spark being the only entry to receive Xbox One and PlayStation 4 releases), the series was generally well-received by fans, with its core entries holding respective critic and audience scores of 75/7.6, 78/8.0, and 43/4.2 on review aggregator Metacritic.
Yet, despite the favorable opinion with which players still look back on Cybertron‘s first two titles, both Hasbro and Activision have remained completely radio silent on the series, with no public mention of it being made since online support ended for the games in 2020.
That was until San Diego Comic-Con 2023, when popular Transformers news site TFW2005 sought to finally get to the bottom of this long-standing mystery.
Speaking with the Hasbro Team following their July 20th ‘Hasbro TRANSFORMERS Generations Toy Panel’, the outlet first broached the topic of the shape-changing robots’ video game adventures by inquiring as to which figures would be included in the company’s newly-launched ‘Transformers Studio Series Gamer Edition’ product line.
“Pretty much all of it,” confirmed an unidentified Hasbro representative. “Think the clear winner will probably be, everybody wants some Devastation stuff, we need to figure out how to do some cell shading for it. Continuing from War From Cybertron [the first three figures in the Gamer Edition line were this game’s version of Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Barricade], I think Fall of Cybertron is on the table.”
“The team has even joked about doing Mystery of Convoy, doing some sort of dot deco or something like that,” they continued. We have the Ultra Magnus now and we have the Rodimus from Kingdom, it’s like why not. Why not some N64 Transmetals too? We can get some of that in there, there’s a lot of options. If it’s been in a video game, we have the opportunity to look at it, taking a little bit of a cue from what the Star Wars team did with their gamer stuff. There’s no licensing issues, we own all of that, it’s all on the table for us. But with the live action movie stuff, there’s always that stuff going on, you still have to deal with Paramount and the licensors.”
Taking note of the assertion that Hasbro “own all of that”, TFW2005 then pressed Hasbro on whether or not it was “possible to re-release the Activision Transformers games to coincide with Gamer Edition?”, to which Hasbro lamented, “Sadly, apparently Activision’s not sure what hard drives they’re on in their building.”
“When a company eats a company that eats a company things get lost, and that’s very frustrating,” said the representative. “Hope is that now that the deal is moving forward with Microsoft and Xbox that they’ll go through all of the archives and every hard drive to find it all, because it’s an easy Game Pass add. We want those games back up for people to have a chance to play.”
In light of this loss of the original Cybertron series files, the Hasbro rep revealed that Activision’s shoddy record-keeping had also negatively effected the production of the Gamer Edition figures.
“[Current Studio Series Design Manager] Sam Smith had to load up the games on older platforms because there were some deco details we couldn’t find – we have the CAD [comptuer-aided design], but it’s not colored,” they recalled. “So we had to find some of the character details within the games themselves.”
“Fall of Cybertron, we have everything,” the rep continued. “For War for Cybertron, we had to rip it ourselves, because they could not find it – they kept sending concept art instead, which we didn’t want, we need the CAD. So we booted up an old computer and ripped them all out from there. Which was a learning experience and a long weekend, because we just wanted to get it right, so that’s why we did it like that.”
As of writing, Activision has yet offer any public comment on the Hasbro team’s revelation.