Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Transtech-nically speaking

Draxhall Jump concept art

Transtech was the cancelled follow up to Beast Machines that for some time was a hot topic in the Transformers fandom. From all descriptions it was to be a merging of sorts of classic G1 characters and beast era characters in an all new cyberpunk story. By all means it looked bad ass. It was canceled in favor of Hasbro wanting to simplify Transformers fictionally (almost 20 years of story telling is a bit much for a target audience of children, Star Wars does it, but that's with the benefit of individual eras) as well as do something different as Beast Machines didn't perform as well as Beast Wars for a variety of factors (Though Transtech did get used as a fan club setting, it was more of using the designs in a alternate dimension story setting than what was pitched). This lead to Hasbro importing Car Robots (as Robots in Disguise) as a placeholder while Armada was developed which returned the concept back to traditional Transformers that played more into the anime tropes that were all the rage at the time. Armada was a hit and we've had traditional themed Transformers back ever since then.

Now here's where I can already hear some of you huffing and puffing about the live action movie Transformers and how they look different than traditional Transformers. When the movie designs first leaked out, one of the things I thought was that they were similar to Transtech. Not the same obviously, but similar. It's clearly a mindset of something from another planet in the design. It's an alien from space after all and it turns into a vehicle of some sort.

I distinctly remember getting the Bonecrusher toy from the 2007 movie when my Target had put them out a little early. I opened that thing up and instantly felt like I was holding a Beast Machines toy. The same with the movie preview Optimus and Starscream. They were Beast Machines toys. They looked a lot like Draxhall Jump designs. Sure they didn't turn into animals (man, you say beast and people cut off the rest of the description before you can finish), but they had that same alien robot aesthetic. Sometimes I think Transtech could have worked out with that in mind. I mean, sure the beast era was over. As big of a fan I was of it, I was happy to see something different. It was time for something new and turns out what's old is new again.

But that design style obviously wasn't done yet as a decade of movie toys have proven, alien looking robots do sell (despite all those naysayers nayysaying) and those movies made a fortune. So I wonder if, and it's a big if, if something like Transtech came out now... would it be a hit? Cyberverse is traditional Transformers with a cartoon-ish flair. The upcoming War For Cybertron figures are Cybertronian designs, which is usually a mishmash of traditional robots and alien vehicles. But would alien robots with alien vehicles work? Would far out sell? Certainly nobody knows for sure. Big companies like Hasbro do all sorts of market research and testing before they try anything, so I'm sure they'd have a far better idea than me.  I just think it would be rad.

Draxhall Jump concept art.

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