Generally, the video game adaptation is at the end of the line. Most multimedia companies know that video gaming is big business, but they're unwilling to let games actually drive their properties forward. As an example, Telltale's Game of Thrones title is canon with the HBO show, but you won't be seeing those events filtering back into TV. The Legend of Korra game fits into the timeline as a lost side-story, but it's a story with no stakes to it. Games are big money, but the games are frequently forgotten.
Hasbro is looking to change that with an epic story experiment. Entitled the Prime Wars Trilogy, this new storyline will bring together the Transformers toy line, comics, and games together in a single unified tale. The Transformers films remain a separate thing, but building a cohesive storyline for those films has opened up the possibilities for the rest of the Transformers line-up.
"We decided to initiate the creation of a bigger deeper worlds," David Erwin, who heads Hasbro's Transformers story team, told the Hollywood Reporter. "The fan reaction was really good. And that's when we decided we wanted to make this a trilogy and really make this immersive. And when we say immersive, that means to create that experience across all different platforms, to take it across everything that we do."
The Combiner Wars is the first of three chapters in the Prime Wars Trilogy and it's been growing this entire year. First up, there were the Combiner Wars line of Transformers Generations figures, focusing on great updates of Autobot and Deception combiners Superion and Menasor. Then there were the IDW Comics: First Strike (Transformers #33-38) and Combiner Wars (Transformers #39-44 and Transformers: Windblade #1-3). The Combiner Wars crossover ended in June, with Hasbro and Machinima then announcing the Combiner Wars web series a month later.
That storyline continued in Transformers: Devastation, which then fed into the October toy release of Battle Core Optimus Prime, a version of the Autobot leader that could combine with the Wave 4 Deluxe Autobots to form Optimus Maximus (Not to be confused with Ultra Prime). Basically, the comics, web series, games, and toys all feed into one another now.
This storyline continues into the second chapter, Titans Return, which kicks off after Combiner Wars finally finishes in Summer 2016. While Combiner Wars focused on the interconnected Combiner toys, Titans Returns will feature the return of the Headmasters toys first released in 1987. That story will continue with new figures, more IDW comics, and potentially more Transformer games from Activision.
"Activision's Transformers: Devastation console title presents a game specific prequel story that dovetails with the expanded Combiner War story arc told in the IDW comic book series," Activision said in a statement to Eurogamer. "As the Transformers story and franchise continue to evolve, Activision will continue to collaborate closely with Hasbro in exploring where to take the Transformers video game franchise."
Hasbro expects that the whole trilogy will end in late 2017 or early 2018, but I guess that if this connected universe works out for Hasbro, we'll be seeing more in the future. It's good to see the game adaptations being taken seriously when it comes to the entire franchise, especially considering that Hasbro is telling a more "adult" story with the Prime Wars Trilogy. Sure, they've chosen the older, more iconic 80's looks for the Transformers themselves to bring lapsed fans in, but the story has been ongoing in the IDW series, focused on the realities of the Transformers ongoing war. It's a great series and if you're a Transformers fan, you owe it to yourself to pick up the comic.
This is the kind of thing that gets me excited as a hype beast consumer. I'm the guy that buys the additional graphic novels, comics, novels, toys, and whatever. I love that stuff, especially if it matters to the overall tale being told. So, bring it on Hasbro, IDV, and Activision.