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It's time to summon the Megazord… in the mobile game Power Rangers: Legacy Wars. In a new update coming to the popular fighting game from nWay, the Megazord from the 2017 Power Rangers movie will join the game's huge roster of playable characters.
The 2017 Megazord will be playable in the game's Megazord Mode, where players take control of their favorite giant robots from the franchise's 25-year history. It was a mighty task to pull off the port — due to this Megazord's intricate design and a comparably smaller amount of reference material, nWay endured as much a challenge as one of Rita's monsters.
"The biggest challenge was how to build off the source material," Legacy Wars combat designer Daniel Maniago tells SYFY WIRE. "There isn't much screen time to work from, and [in the movie] it's the Power Rangers' first time piloting. So their control is amateurish. Working through this required a bit of imagination."
Maniago says the developers at nWay had to take liberties in how the 2017 Megazord maneuvers and attacks. "What would the Megazord look like when piloted by veteran Power Rangers? The attacks would be more confident, deliberate. The swords would be a staple. Answering this question helped shape the vision of its combat and got us in the correct mindset."
Maniago and nWay also studied as much of the movie as possible. Directed by Dean Israelite and starring Becky G (A-X-L), RJ Cyler (Scream), Dacre Montgomery (Stranger Things), Naomi Scott (Aladdin), and Ludi Lin (the upcoming Mortal Kombat), the film rebooted the origins of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. In the epic climax, the film showcased a number of unique attacks that made the 2017 Megazord stand out from its 1993 predecessor.
"We used what we could from the source material, such as the punch and kick attacks delivered by Trini, Kimberly, and Billy, as well as the sword thrust used to finish off Goldar. The rest of the moves are exclusive to Legacy Wars, which are a mixture of martial arts attacks and sword attacks," Maniago says.
While the Brock Lesnar suplex the Rangers use against Goldar isn't in Legacy Wars, nWay felt the robot's swords were its real distinctive feature. "If the swords weren't used in the movie, this character would have been that much more of a challenge to work with," he notes.
Players of Legacy Wars will also find the 2017 Megazord leaner and faster than its boxier ancestor. "I think the main thing that sets the 2017 Megazord apart from the classic Dino Megazord is its agility," Maniago says. "2017 Megazord's aesthetic is that much more humanoid than its bulky and blocky peers, which lends well to a core focus on agility and maneuverability rather than your usual heavy weaponry and laser beams."
The design of the Megazord was also a challenge for Legacy Wars. As nWay artist James Pascual tells SYFY WIRE, the Megazord was designed for the big screen, not your smartphone. "Our challenge was to adapt the design and simplify some of the intricate details to stay within polycount budget while still keeping the overall look," Pascual says.
The alien design of the 2017 Megazord was a point of conversation for die-hard Power Rangers fans, and its inclusion in Legacy Wars will likely have message boards talking once again. "The 2017 Megazord is definitely a different take of the TV series Dino Megazord," says Pascual, who, as a fan himself, had some strong feelings.
"The movie visual designers went towards more of the alien look with the organic shape and humanoid proportions, which in a way lost the feeling of it being a giant robot," Pascual explains. "As fans of the 1993 Power Rangers TV series, we were attached to the original design of the Dino Megazord. We feel like the visual look could have been redesigned for the modern era but still keep the classic Mecha look of the TV version Megazord. It would have been cool to see how each individual Zord morph into different parts to form the Megazord."
But that's the fun of Legacy Wars. Fans can pick their favorites and duke it out. So, what do the game's own designers pick?
"The 2017 Megazord seems like it would be much easier to pilot given its make and model are much more current," says Maniago. "Does the Dino Megazord even have power steering or a built-in GPS?"
Chimes in Pascual, "The TV Megazord, because the young kid that grew up watching the show would definitely appreciate it more destroying Rita's giant monsters with the Mega Power Sword finishing slash."
While Power Rangers fans can battle on their phones in Legacy Wars, on consoles such as the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and soon Google Stadia, they can fight in Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid. Will the 2017 Megazord make it there too?
"We're always listening to our fans to make sure we're giving them something that they want," Maniago says. "I suppose anything is possible."
The 2017 Power Rangers will debut on SYFY on Sunday, September 15 at 9PM.