Transformers: Earth Wars debuts on iOS and Android in select markets around the world this spring. This free-to-play release is one more example of how brands are trying to break into the $30 billion mobile game industry by teaming up with successful “mobile first” game studios. It’s also part of Hasbro’s marketing for its cross-platform storyline over comics, games, and toys that cashes in on the beloved old-school designs and characters of Transformers, discarding the much-mocked “Bayformers” of the Michael Bay films.
Space Ape Games is known for original mobile games such as Samurai Siege and Rival Kingdoms. This is its first team-up with a well-known brand. Hasbro owns Transformers, and it also owns its own game studio, Backflip Studios, which will publish the Space Ape’s game. Backflip’s games have 33 million active users a month for games such as G.I. Joe: Strike (another Hasbro brand), Dragonvale, and Gizmonauts.
In Earth Wars, players will be able to battle as Autobots or Decepticons, fighting live opponents around the world. Characters include Optimus Prime, Megatron, Bumblebee, and Starscream — all favorites of fans from the 1980s. It features fast-paced gameplay and 3D animation. Players can join one faction or another, assemble a team of playable characters, raid enemy bases for energy (Energon) stockpiles, and build a Space Bridge to add reinforcements from Cybertron.
“The Transformers franchise is like no other. The story that has carried on through generations has drawn millions of fans who can’t wait for what’s next,” said Julian Farrior, the CEO of Backflip Studios, in a statement. “Working in conjunction with Hasbro, we’re bringing the Transformers franchise to life in one of the most popular game genres.”
The mobile game will use the writers and voice actors from the original Transformers. The story extends the Generations Prime Wars trilogy story across new platforms.
The game also features art inspired by the trilogy. Dialogue comes from Transformers comic creator Simon Furman, and voice acting is from Peter Cullen (the original voice of Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots) and Frank Welker, the original voice of Megatron (the ruler of the Decepticons).
“We are excited to join forces with Backflip Studios and Space Ape to bring our iconic Transformers brand to life in a new way through the launch of Transformers: Earth Wars,” said Mark Blecher, senior vice president of digital gaming and corporate development at Hasbro, in a statement. “Transformers fans and fans of combat strategy games will love the explosive action as they join the fight to control the fate of Earth.
“We’re delighted to bring one of the world’s most popular entertainment franchises to mobile devices in an explosive new gameplay experience,” said Space Ape cofounder and CEO John Earner in a statement. “We’re focused on making hand crafted games that fans will enjoy, and can’t wait to share what we’ve been working on with mobile gamers.”