🎨 Of repaints and retools

Funny thing. When you are making toys you want to sell a lot of them. Makes sense right? So when you’ve got a set of toys, it’s a bit silly to cast them away next year to be replaced with new ones. Why, all that design work could be put to good use again.

And lo! You simply bring out the same toy in different colours; it’s a repaint. Or you change some minor parts of it slightly so it’s different enough to be a new toy; it’s a retool.

Repaints and retools have been pretty much the essence of Transformers. Whether you are talking about the infamous Seekers (you did know Starscream, Thundercracker and Skywarp were the same toy, right?) or Optimus Prime being painted white with a few modifications to be called Ultra Magnus, it’s all good. After all, it makes sense for robots to share ‘molds’.

The funny thing in question is that game development uses the same technique. Whether we are talking ‘repainted’ sprites in Final Fantasy VI or ‘retooled’ enemies in God of War III, it makes sense to use a set of variables and tweak them into multiple assets.

Now to complete the trinity, this is exactly what Transformers: War for Cybertron is doing. So in a massive twist of irony, fan service and common sense, the multiplayer part of a game based on a toy series allows you to build your own ‘Bot or ‘Con by recycling parts of the already present characters and repaint them as you see fit.

Some players may scoff at the idea, personally I’d call it poetry. Pure poetry.