Year In Review 2015 - The News: Good, Bad, And Memorable

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.

Member Comments...

Last 10 comments - ( Read All Posts )
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. We're going to start going through the entries and make our selections which will be announced live during the broadcast of Radio Free Cybertron on January 13, which you can watch embedded on the front page here at TFormers, or at Afterward we'll be contacting the winners via private message here on the forum to arrange for delivery of the prizes.

Thanks again to everyone who contributed, and we hope we'll continue to see you around the forums!

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. ???????? Waited most of my life for this and got the perfect Transformer.

Best Unofficial (third party) Toy: MTRM-01 Cupola. ??????1/2. Always wanted a Chromedome with working elbows and knees,

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 Primal

Best Toy Reveal- Titan Return Fort Max

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 made some awesom stuff this year, but one that caught my attention was the Blackarachnia toy. It's just too nice to see a screen accurate version of the character being produced.

Best Toy Reveal:

The entire load of reveals we got in 2015 was fantastic, but the Leader Class Blaster from Titans Return just blew me away, I never expected to see a Blaster that now only would turn into a boom-box, but also have a cool gimmick like headmasters and also be compatible with the new spy tablet figures.

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 favorite Hasbro toy, but then the first three of my favorite things would've been Magnus... So I put Magnus as Takara's best toy since it had a superior paint job in my opinion.

Best Masterpiece Figure: Blue Bluestreak! He's blue and the Masterpiece Prowl mold... Need I say more?

Cybcouncil - 2016-01-10 @ 3:21 am
Best Official Toy (Hasbro) Leader Class ThundercrackerBest Official Toy (TakaraTomy) Legends LG15 Nightbird ShadowBest Masterpiece Toy Masterpiece Blue BluestreakBest Unofficial (third party) Toy GundogBest Comic Issue Or Storyline Sins of the WreckersBest News Item (any category) Choosing who is next Omega, trypticon or scorpyBest Toy Reveal Titans Wars Fortress Maximus
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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