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Beast Wars

Bio-genetic engineering has allowed the Transformers to create a perfect cybernetic fusion between ferocious animals and mechanical technology. The result: Heroic Maximals vs. Evil Predacons! Robot warriors disguised as wild animals in an explosive fight to the finish!

Background:
In 1995 Hasbro realized that Generation 2 was doing very poorly, and that something drastic had to be done to save the Transformers property and get people interested in it again. In a bold move the property was handed over to Hasbro's newly acquired subsidiary company Kenner, with the instruction to come up with a good idea.

Kenner decided to move away from vehicles and give the Autobot and Decepticon factions a rest, and instead they created the Maximals and Predacons, two groups that transform into animals.
The intention was to let Optimus Prime (with the slightly changed name "Optimus Primal") and Megatron lead the new factions in a modern-day setting, but when the computer-animated cartoon started in April 1996 the background was changed - instead of being the original leaders Optimus Primal and Megatron become completely new characters, named in honour of the originals.

The cartoon became very popular and lasted for three years and 52 episodes. There was also a computer game for PC and Sony Playstation. Initially fans were very sceptical of the new concept, but after just 3-4 episodes of the show most were won over completely.

The story:
The story starts with the Maximal exploration ship, The Axalon, in pursuit of a gang of Predacon criminals who have stolen a golden disc with secret, historical information. The two ships travel through time and space, and eventually crash on a mysterious, pre-historic planet. It turns out that the planet has so abundant sources of Energon, the energy source that powers the Transformers, that the robots risk becoming permanently damaged because of excessive exposure to the fuel. So just like The Ark sent out a "Sky Spy" to look for suitable forms for the Autobots and the Decepticons in the original series, the two groups send out probes to scan for local life forms.
Transformer technology has advanced quite a bit in the years that have passed since end of The Great War between the Autobots and the Decepticons, so when the Maximals and Predacons adopt their new forms - mammals for the Maximal side, insects and dinosaurs for the Predacons - their outer skin is changed to appear completely organic.

Much of the series revolves around the Beast Warriors' exploration of the strange planet, their attempts to repair the ships so they can contact Cybertron, their attempts to neutralize the other group, and their quest to boost their own ranks. Maximal exploration ships often bring dozens of "stasis pods" containing "protoforms" with them, (protoforms are dormant Maximal bodies that have yet to be programmed with a personality and alternative form; they are brought along to allow the Maximals to quickly colonize planets they discover), and just before The Axalon crashed the Maximals jettisoned dozens of stasis pods. Now both groups tries to recover as many stasis pods as possible, to recruit more members to their own group.

Eventually Megatron discovers that they have landed in the past on a planet that will become important to the Transformers in the future, and that realization gives him the idea to try to change history...

Beast Wars in the Nordic Countries:
The Nordic countries got some 80 % of the Beast Wars figures as well as the computer game from 1998 to 2000, but because of an almost total lack of marketing Beast Wars became a flop in the Nordic Countries. The biggest shortcoming was that the cartoon was not broadcasted on Nordic television (when approached, the television companies claimed that the show was too violent), meaning that the majority of Nordic TransFans could never be won over like they had been in North America and other parts of the world.
Other factors that helped the toyline fail: in Europe the word "Transformers" was downplayed on the packaging, preventing many veteran fans from even realizing that the toyline was related to the original Transformers; Optimus Primal and Megatron, the two familiar names that could have alerted old Transformers fans to the relation, were usually referred to as "gorilla" and "T-rex" in advertisements and toy catalogues, and finally the European packaging was completely bereft of Tech Specs (the American packaging did have them), causing all figures to remain completely anonymous to the kids that did buy them.


This page was created by Lars Eriksson, groundsplitter@ntfa.net.
The last revision was made on Wednesday, September 10, 2003

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