Most major video game franchises that offer multiplayer support have dipped their toes into the world of eSports. Whether it’s been the large scale military combat of the seemingly never ending Call Of Duty saga, right down to the one-on-one duels of Street Fighter, there seems to be something for everyone. But for a time, even Transformers could have been a part of this global phenomenon…
eSports For Everyone
When you hear the term eSports, most automatically think about the aforementioned CoD or group FIFA tournaments. But there’s a lot more to it than that. Most of us who play games today on modern consoles or PCs will have played multiplayer titles at least once. There’s no getting away from the fact that these games add an extra level of excitement. Knowing that you’re pitting your skills up against real people from across the globe. Or even better working in teams.
But it can be just as entertaining to watch esports matches online too. I’m sure most of you reading this will have watched gamers streaming on Twitch. I know I do regularly myself several times a week. While I did originally because of the people who were streaming (a few professional wrestlers I’ve been fans of for several years), I’ve enjoyed watching their solo gaming streams as well as their more competitive multiplayer gaming… essentially the basis of eSports.
Enter Transformers Online
But what about Transformers? Now this is something of a confusing beast. So far there have actually been three games with the Transformers Online name. Two of which have since been closed down by the companies behind them. And those two were both exclusive to the Chinese market. But those are the ones that are significant when it comes to eSports and Transformers.
Both were MMO games, the first being developed by Netdragon. However, it was the second of these created by Tencent that had the most potential. Created as a first person shooter set in the Transformers universe it centred around arena based combat and featured most of the familiar fan-favourite characters.
A Missed Opportunity?
Offering players the chance to take control of characters like Optimus Prime and Bumblebee amongst its extensive roster drawn from several eras of the franchise including G1 and the Michael Bay movies. Offering players a team gameplay system that drew elements from online classics such as Overwatch, this would have been a perfect contender for eSports play.
Combining the ability to use characters in both vehicle and robot modes, it appeared to offer everything a Transformers fan would want from a game. Add in weapon and character upgrades and it seemed like the perfect candidate not only for great online action but also eSports.
What Went Wrong?
Unfortunately, the game was closed down with very little warning at the beginning of 2020, leaving players of the Chinese exclusive title without an online game for the second time in a decade. A transition to eSports would have been ideal for this game, even more so if Hasbro had been involved as an official supporter adding credibility to an official league – either for teams or individual players.
A new online game is in development by Certain Affinity, scheduled for release this year (also currently called Transformers Online). And following the withdrawl of the license from Activision this is set to be the only Transformers game on the market. Planned to be a third person shooter (similar to the War For Cybertron series) it could have eSports potential so there’s still hope for us yet…