CUZ: I’m going to start by giving Piero a little introduction. He is a Character Designer. He comes up with cool abilities, attacks, and secret stuff for the bots to do. I also like to think of him as my own personal sub-Reddit…but a bit friendlier;) I go to him to get the lowdown on what Bots do which ones work best against certain mods or buffs. So, Piero, give us some intel on Soundwave? We already know he’s cooler than cool, but why?
PIERO: Thanks for the introduction, Cuz! Really excited for this Bot release. Soundwave is one of my favorite Bots so far, and for his abilities, we wanted to give him some exclusive mechanics that would honor how beloved he is in the Transformers universe.
With his design, we really wanted to incentivize the player to use his cassettes, so whenever blasting the opponent with Laserbeak or Ravage, Soundwave quickly gains the Power to use his Special Attacks.
But that’s not all! Whenever he gets a Power Bar, his Signature ability “Sonic Shield” activates. I heard you had some trouble fighting against it? That made me really happy.
CUZ: I’m stoked you gave the Decepticon legend his due, but I must admit, I wasn’t so stoked the first time I ran into his Sonic Shield in a big boss fight at the end of Act 2. I was all cocky going in with a maxed out Iron Hide. I threw my Special 2 thinking he’s dead meat. Then I watched my projectiles “Reflect” back and smoke me. Curse you, Soundwave! I digress. Lazy non-reading types like me need more intel. What Mod would you use to defend your base with Shockwave and who would you use both with and against him. Give us some pro tips here, Piero.
PIERO: Well, definitely don’t use Iron Hide! Soundwave is a Tech Class and has the advantage over Iron Hide who belongs to the Demolitions Class. Ranged Attacks are essential to most players, but when going against Soundwave everybody will have to re-think their tactics.
I personally love using Windblade against him. When Windblade converts to her Jet mode while doing a Heavy Attack, her agility causes the opponent’s projectiles to miss, so I usually just sidestep to get closer to the opponent without dashing and use Heavy Attacks while Soundwave’s Sonic Shield is active.
For Mod combos, my pick would be the Superconductor-2000 or Robot Resource. They both provide extra Power, enabling his Sonic Shield to stay active for almost 100% of the fight. This surely will be one of the most deadly combos in the Raids game mode.
CUZ: So, Nick, you’re in charge of making things look flashy and explodey, right? What flashy and/or explodey thing were you most stoked on when doing Soundwave?
NICK: Yup, I bring the boom! Soundwave is obviously a unique character because of his cassette decks, but he also has a little known about head based circular beam effect that he can use. To give Soundwave a way to get involved himself was exciting for me.
CUZ: “Involved himself?” Is that some sort of Cybertronian euphemism I don’t know about?. Oh wait, I get it. You mean get in the fight more. Cool. Don’t want to let Laserbeak and Ravage steal all the thunder. I know when fighting against Bots, some effects are so cool you don’t mind getting them unleashed on you. Laserbeak’s laser shot does that for me. Are there any other Soundwave effects that do that for you?
NICK: Actually it’s interesting you ask, because although it’s a simpler effect, I also like Soundwave’s ranged laser attack. It’s our first purple ranged shot. I tried to match the color from the original 1986 Transformers movie (which I own on DVD). I hope to use that laser shot on more of our G1 Decepticons.
CUZ: Sweet FX and solid plug for the 30th(ish) anniversary edition of the classic movie DVD. Hasbro will be pleased 😉
CUZ: It looks like you’re the animator that drew the lucky straw and got to animate the master of espionage and audio interference, Soundwave. How did you come up with his moves? Are you like a method animator…you know, you try to get inside his head and really get in the mindset of a Boombox that spews cassettes?
LOUIE: For Soundwave we didn’t have to dig too deep for reference. Just from memory alone he was one of the coolest characters with a pair of pets and rowdy little buddies. We wanted to do a tag team beat em up kind of animation. I wanted to nail his classic button push pose and work around that. Also, when I was a kid I always wanted to see him blast something from his shoulder cannon.
CUZ: Glad you called them pets and not minions. The minions thing might raise the ire of animal rights groups. We wouldn’t want that. Are you happy we went with the pets instead of having Soundwave turn into a boombox? What was your back-up plan if we decided he’d do his special attacks as a boom box? Quit?
LOUIE: Haha, actually yah. There were a lot of jokes whether kids today would know what a boombox with tapes is and the obvious scale difference once he transforms into a boombox. He would look strange being so small next a giant robot that could step on him or kick him off screen and end the match instantly. I’m very lucky that I have a strong talented creative team and I’m confident that we would have thought of something cool and clever that would make the fans happy
CUZ: So you’re saying there’s a chance for Blaster…? Thanks, Louie!