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Transmedia starts with film: Transformers

A case study: Transformers

This network of intertextuality has also been seen in the wake of the now-famous Transformers (transforming robot) toys that, after being introduced to the market, eventually became part of a an larger narrative surrounding a battle between good and evil.

Unlike other works in the science fiction genre, where robots are typically machines operated by humans, these new transforming robots were life-forms from a distant planet called Cybertron and were immersed in a great war of their own. Through the movies and an animated series, the Transformer toys became phenomenally popular. And from the robots’ origins to the details of their intergalactic conflict, their personification provided the background for Transformers (2007), a story with human protagonists that helps audiences understand the inner psychology of both the humans and robot characters.

Prior to the film’s release, the graphic novel Transformers: Movie Prequel (2007) was published, providing context for the upcoming movie. A prequel is typically a work that prefigures a later work, meaning it addresses events that predate a film’s original story. Transformers: Movie Prequel takes place in the robot world’s physical setting, Cybertron, where the robots are engaged in a battle of absolute good versus absolute evil. The four-part series provide interesting insight for those wishing to better understand the story of Transformers either before or after viewing the film.

The film’s release also brought on the debut of a video game, Transformers: The Game, which reached store shelves in Korea approximately three months before the movie’s release. Though the game’s premise was a direct reflection of the story in the film, it still offered the experience and control over the trajectory of the story. Depending on which narrative the gamer chooses, one can become an Autobot that fights to save Earth, or a Decepticon that seeks to destroy it.

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Transmedia Storytelling

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