The Transformers toys have been around for decades, but over the last few years they’ve gotten a lot less, well, transformable. So why are those toys so complicated nowadays? Blame Michael Bay.
Bay gets a bad rap for a lot of things these days, and though he brought about some unprecedented popularity for the classic cars-to-robots franchise, he’s also the man responsible for making them infinitely more complicated.
While transferring the franchise to the big screen, Bay took advantage of shiny CGI to create some truly epic transformation scenes. But that big-screen magic pretty much screwed the toy designers. Josh Lamb, senior Transformers designer, told Gizmodo that the toy design team faced some major challenges to match the new toys to the more complicated movie versions and still make them accessible for children.
But after watching countless kids (and adults) give up on turning Optimus Prime back into a semi truck, they’re trying to tone down the designs and recapture that classic simplicity:
"The reference style is so phenomenal in the movie tie-ins, we got more complicated than we had to. Right now, there's a big effort to get back to simple; and more than simple, intuitive ... Bay and ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) work it pretty well. But they also do some magic.
With the movie, for the first time, Transformers wasn't about a whole line of characters, it was about two characters, Optimus and Bumblebee. And you'd really like the billions of kids out there to be able to pick up any Transformer off the shelf and just pick it up and start playing with them."
Have you played with a Transformer lately? Were you able to figure it out?