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Transformers BLOG
Year In Review 2015 - The News: Good, Bad, And Memorable
ExVee - Wednesday, January 06, 2016


Of course no look back at the year in fandom would be complete without the news. Through 2015 we did our best to keep you up to date with the latest news items, and we've tried to select a few that most stood out to us. As a toy-based fandom, it's not surprising most of what we picked relates to toy news, but that certainly isn't everything that caught our attention this year. Keep reading to see our picks, and stay tuned for one more important announcement as part of our Year In Review!

  • Best, Most Unexpected Answer To "How Do You Follow Up On Combiner Wars?": Titans Return

    A conversation had among the RFC hosts during Botcon weekend went over the topic of "so, what can they do to excite us after Combiner Wars?" Such things come up when hanging out at the pool, you see. At the time, we had no idea what was in the works, and only vague hints to speculate off of on the banners mistakenly displayed at the Hasbro booth. Months later when Titans Return was officially revealed, well, there was the answer that we never anticipated seeing. The return to at least Headmasters and reviving neglected classic characters featuring that gimmick, plus incorporating new ones for the first time was very exciting. Plus the toys looked quite different from the (necessarily) rather self-same style among Combiner Wars. New molds, distinct styles, more gimmick play, fresh "Classics"-style updates. It’d be hard to not be enthusiastic given all that!


  • Best Botcon Panel: The Birth Of The Transformers

    The surprise hit of Botcon 2015 easily had to be Birth of The Transformers, a panel presented by Kojin Ono that detailed the background and history of developing Diaclone, Microman and more to form the backbone of the Transformers line, including design and concept art, TV commercials, and rare images of testshots and carved wooden prototypes. A wealth of information was revealed over the course of about an hour in that panel room, and for all who were lucky enough to attend, it was a true highlight of this year’s show.


  • The Triple-Surprise Award: Transformers: Devastation

    It was announced in June and released in October, which is amazingly short for any game’s hype cycle. The press was not provided with review copies before release, which is usually not a good sign. And the game, though fairly deep in terms of its brawler gameplay, is pretty short on a single playthrough. And despite all this, it turned out to be really good, and worth replaying a couple of times. It’s a very specific kind of game in the Dynasty Warriors vein, which promotes replay for better gear and improving stats. And if you’re into that kind of gaming, there’s something very satisfying about struggling your way up through Prime difficulty and then getting the (reference-heavy) weapons and upgrades that will ultimately make it a breeze.


  • Best Comics News: Optimus Prime Conquers Earth

    IDW’s Optimus Prime has been... well, not the most effective character in the four years I’ve been reading their comics. With the (very) soft reboot in to the current structure of the main books, Optimus immediately discarded his name and went on a long country drive to figure out what was next. And through Dark Cybertron and Combiner Wars, he may have gotten his name back, but not much more. But this year we heard for the first time what the next chapter in Prime’s Midlife Crisis is to be: He’s going to conquer the Earth, for its own good! All Hail Optimus begins with The Transformers #50, and according to the solicitations and occasional interview so far, everyone in universe recognizes just how bad an idea this is going to be. Which I can only assume will make for a thoroughly entertaining read!


  • Most Disappointing (Toys): Almost No New Molds For Combiner Wars After Wave 3

    One thing everyone expected when going in to Botcon last summer was a reveal of some fresh material in to the Combiner Wars line. By that point we already knew of wave 4 being just recolors and remolds, but surely the Hasbro panel would have good news for us! But apart from Brawl and Sky Lynx, we had no such luck. It was made worse by SDCC, when the only further thing revealed apart from boxsets was Scattershot. It was about then that people started realizing that the best of Combiner Wars was almost entirely behind us already - and we still had a good ten months left with the line.


  • Least Objectionable Reuse of Combiner Wars Molds: G2 Everything

    But of course, when you accept the reality that the line will majorly be molds used over and over, you have to look at best case scenarios for that. And nothing ended up feeling like a better case than G2 versions of Combiner Wars. As of this writing we already know three of the four planned original G2 sets are being reproduced, and it’s hard to believe Defensor alone would be left out before all is said and done. It may not be to everyone’s tastes, and that’s understandable. But I can’t help but see it as a silver lining to the cloud that fell over Combiner Wars.


  • Most Takara Thing Ever(This Year): Unite Warriors Grand Galvatron

    So after expressing our frustrations at the lack of new molds in Combiner Wars - so many G1 combiners left to do! - you might be surprised to see us happy with something like this. But if you’re going to use existing molds and characters that are not traditionally combiners, this is the way to go about it: crazy. And who better to embody an outburst of crazy than G1 Galvatron? Grand Galvatron is a collection of dead/lost Transformers from various timelines and continuities using their grudge energy to form a new body for the Emperor of Destruction last seen in Japan’s Headmasters series. Using such diverse characters as Armada Thrust, the corpse of Prime Breakdown, the ghost of Starscream, and IDW Rook, Grand Galvatron is the polar opposite of Optimus Maximus, who was pretty clearly created just to keep the 1984 Gang on shelves. As much as I want to see new molds, I’m content with Takara reusing Combiner Wars for as long as they can bring the weird.


  • Worst News For Your Wallet: Unite Warriors Exclusive Deluxe Groove

    Oh, the pain of demanding accuracy to three-decades-old media in your modern toys. For the fan who just couldn’t tolerate Groove as an auxiliary torso component rather than an arm or a leg, there was good news and bad news. TakaraTomy, in their amazingly crazy attitude this year, decided to fix that problem. But it wound up being exclusive to a full Protectobots box set, forcing a double-dip for anyone who’d already gone in for the Hasbro releases. And to make it just a bit worse, Unite Warriors Defensor was the first to sell as a TakaraTomy Mall exclusive at a higher base price than Superion and Menasor’s sets before it. Yes indeed, you could have your 1986-accurate Defensor eventually, but at no small cost.


  • Most Disappointing (Comics): RID Animated Ends

    Georgia Ball gave us a lesson in the harsh realities of the comics business as she explained the factors that went into Robots In Disguise not continuing beyond issue number 6. That was a pity on a number of levels. Its role as The Kid-Friendly Transformers Comic was something I welcomed and felt was long overdue - and as much as I love IDW’s Transformers output, how weird and sad is that? And more importantly, it was good and it was fun. Ball did explain that the last two issues were more or less "bonus" issues granted above and beyond the original pitch, and I’m happy to have them. But I hope that this isn’t the last we see of Ball’s writing, Priscilla Tramontano’s art, or kid-friendly Transformers comics at IDW.


  • Worst Movie News: Writer of Batman & Robin and Batman Forever Writes Transformers 5

    Granted, that’s not the entirety of Akiva Goldsman’s resume, but it’s the standout achievement... just not for any of the right reasons. There’s a few other entries on that list (Lost In Space, The Da Vinci Code) that are similarly cheesy, if not as manic. That said, his work on the genre series Fringe was very well-received. (Fringe is also an Orci/Kurtzman universe, so - for better or worse - that’s a style he’s used to working in.) It’s difficult not to prejudge this based on Goldsman’s history, but even moreso based on the history of the Transformers films themselves. The identities of the writers, and even whether or not a script was even in place before shooting started, are factors that have had fairly minimal impact on the resulting quality of Michael Bay’s Transformers films. So either Goldsman will have a minimal impact on the resulting film or he and Bay will just gel, and create something uniquely, enduringly awful.


  • Best Movie News: Mask, ROM, Visionaries & Micronauts Fans To Share Our Pain

    And the news gets better! Paramount and Hasbro were so happy with Goldsman’s work on Transformers 5, and as head of the Transformers Cinematic Universe Writers’ Room, that he was tasked with taking the bulk of Hasbro’s 1980s properties - GI Joe, Micronauts, ROM the Spaceknight, Visionaries, and MASK - and shaping them into their own interconnected cinematic universe. This after the TFCU Writers’ Room produced two viable movies - one animated, one live-action - after producing somewhere around a dozen scripts in the process. With a chance of possible outcomes ranging from Transformers, to GI Joe, to Jem, it’s a difficult thing to decide whether to congratulate fans of the rest of Hasbro’s `80s toylines or offer our sympathies. Why not both?


  • Disappointing But Unsurprising: Robots In Disguise To End With Season 2

    It was probably not a bright future for Robots in Disguise right from the moment it was relegated to the 5am slot on Cartoon Network in first-run US broadcast. So it’s not very surprising that it appears season 2 will be the last, and much like Transformers: Prime before it, possibly have a short season run with a concluding TV-movie. While the unfavorable timeslot surely limited its potential audience reach, those who did take the extra effort to watch the show hold it in a favorable regard. And so it simply ends up a shame that a decent show with good potential to be mined if given the chance will never see any of that realized. But we can’t necessarily lay all blame upon Cartoon Network; 2017 being a movie year, all involved parties may just want to clear the table and focus on media supporting that instead.


last 10 shown - scroll to view more   TFormers Member Comments
ExVee
2016-01-13
5:56 am

Hi everybody. Thanks so much for all your responses! We've loved hearing from you and seeing all the different answers everybody had to their top picks for the last year. As of now the entry period for the giveaway is closed, and only replies prior to this post will qualify to win one of the prizes.... read more 
Greenboy35
2016-01-13
12:26 am

Best Official Toy (Hasbro): Leader Class Ultra Magnus. ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 out of 4 stars. Extremely impressive transformation for a non-masterpiece figure. Best Masterpiece Toy: MP-18B Bluestreak. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Wait... read more 
NicodemusLegend
2016-01-13
12:09 am

Best Official Toy (Hasbro) - CarZap w/G.B. Blackrock Kreon (my screen name on *most* TF forums is G.B. Blackrock, so I kind of *have* to say that!)Best Masterpiece Toy - Blue Bluestreak (at last, it exists!)Best Toy Reveal - Nuremberg Toy Fair 2015, CW Devastator obscured by bald man 
Starscream369
2016-01-12
11:10 pm

Best Official Toy (H): CW Superion   Best Official Toy (TakTom): UW Devastator   Best Masterpiece Toy: Star Saber   Best Unffocial Toy: Maketoys Cupola   Best Storyline: Sins of the Wreckers    
Megops7
2016-01-12
10:48 pm

est Official Toy (Hasbro) - CW Rook Best Official Toy (TakaraTomy) TFA Supreme Optimus Prime Best Masterpiece Toy- MP Wheeljack Best Unofficial (third party) Toy- MMC Sphinx Best Comic Issue Or Storyline- Last Stand of The Wreckers Best News Item (any category) Masterpiece Beast Wars Optimus Pri... read more 
mtma
2016-01-11
3:59 am

Best Official Toy (Hasbro):  CW Devastator: I really, really didn't expect to like Devy so much. I bought him expecting disappointment, however was met with great articulation, cool bot and altmodes and a magnificent combiner.   Best Official Toy (Takara/Tomy): I must admit that Tak has ... read more 
Erimus Prime
2016-01-10
10:48 pm

Best Toy Reveal: Magnus, since I was in shock to see the IDW body with Minimus Ambus! Best Hasbro toy: Combiner Wars Bruticus, because I like all the Combaticons separate and combined, but I cannot wait for the Unyte Warriors still! Best Takara Toy: Legends Ultra Magnus. I would've put Magnus as my ... read more 
Cybcouncil
2016-01-10
3:21 am

Best Official Toy (Hasbro)  Leader Class Thundercracker Best Official Toy (TakaraTomy)  Legends LG15 Nightbird Shadow Best Masterpiece Toy Masterpiece Blue Bluestreak Best Unofficial (third party) Toy  Gundog Best Comic Issue Or Storyline Sins of the Wreckers Best News Item (any categ... read more 
Quaternion
2016-01-10
1:12 am

Best Official Toy (Hasbro) Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus Best Official Toy (TakaraTomy) Unite Warriors Groove Best Masterpiece Toy Masterpiece Tracks  
Chaos-core
2016-01-09
1:24 pm

Best official toy (Hasbro) - Bombshell Best MP toy (Takara) - Mp Star Saber Best official toy (Takara) - Unite Wars Devastator 
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More Transformers BLOG News
2017 was a year. It occupied 12 pages of a traditional calendar, or even more if you had a weekly or even one of those fancy-learnin' word-a-day calendars! And during that year, things relating to the Transformers happened. Some more positive than others, or more fondly looked back on. Not everything was a winner, after all. Thus, I'll memorialize the year that was with some of my best remembered times in Transformers - in no particular order since I'm bad at chronology sometimes as well as weighing priority of a memory over others. I am literally the best at lists.


We learned late this afternoon that both Steam and Playstation Network have delisted a number of Transformers video games from their store pages. Affected by this are War For Cybertron, Fall of Cybertron, Rise of The Dark Spark, and Transformers Devastation. None of these titles can be purchased digitally on the named platforms as of today, though users who have purchased them previously are still able to download and install the games. At last report, the XBox Marketplace had not followed suit in removing them. We can only speculate right now whether this is due to an elapsed license, or some other factor at work, but as of right now, tracking down physical media, where applicable, seems the only option now for obtaining these games.
The BBC and The Guardian are both reporting on a new development with the UK arm of Toys R Us that's putting serious pressure on the retailer. While the recently discussed bankruptcy protection proceedings of Toys R Us here in the US is not directly impacting other regions, Toys R Us UK is nonetheless investigating solutions to deal with its own financial problems, but with an added wrinkle: If the company cannot contribute £9 million (about $12 million) to its pension fund at least one state agency, the Pensions Protection Fund may vote against its current restructuring proposal, which could ultimately lead to all the UK stores shutting down. Keep reading for more.


We reported about a week ago on the possibility of a merger between Hasbro and Mattel, initiated by Hasbro themselves. We have word via Reuters that this effort did not proceed very far, and as of the current time the dealings are not moving forward. Reuters reports via confidential sources that part of the failure to deal at this time was due to what Mattel indicated was an "undervaluing" of the company by Hasbro. We don't expect much more to develop on this anytime soon, but as this wasn't the first time Hasbro has put out feelers, we're also sure it won't be the last. Find a link to the report in the full article below!
I'm ExVee; my name is Chris. If you read Gizmodo, or know people that do, you probably heard about a photo of a small piece of deco work on the brand new Power of The Primes Jazz, which says in a Cybertronic font "MAGA". It's a font whose development is credited to longtime super-fan Jim Sorenson, and which has been used on Transformers toys here and there for a while now. One notable use was on Titans Return Seaspray where it was used to inscribe the name Alana inside the forearms, referencing Seaspray's love interest from an episode of the G1 cartoon. What you may not know is, I'm the one who took that original photo, with only the best of intentions. But, we all know where that can lead you. Keep reading...












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RADIO FREE CYBERTRON






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