Fight shoulder-to-shoulder with the Autobots at Universal Studios Singapore’s latest attraction, Transformers The Ride.
Contributed By Yong Yung Shin
Even those who are not fans of the movie franchise will likely be enthralled with the new Tranformers ride launched at Universal Studios Singapore on Dec. 2. As the world’s first theme park attraction based on the popular Transformers franchise, Transformers The Ride is a showcase of just how far immersive entertainment technology has come, and could very well be a foreshadow of the cinema-going experience of the future.
For one, it is the first attraction at USS to fuse large-format 3D photo-realistic high-definition imagery with roving motion simulator technology for a ride that is as realistic as can be—one that includes zipping through subway tunnels, sailing through city streets and across rooftops while dodging pulverizing hits and explosions, with a few multi-sensory surprises to boot.
The four-minute ride transports guests into the Transformers universe as new recruits of N.E.S.T., fighting alongside the Autobots to protect the Allspark shard from the evil Decepticons. The ride’s vehicular star is Evac, a new Autobot character created specifically to transport guests “at hyper speeds.” Each ride vehicle seats 12 persons.
“The hyper-realism of this ride will make it the ultimate one-of-a-kind immersive experience. Included in this ride are many of their favorite larger-than-life characters, including Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, and this brings the brand to life in a whole new way,” said John Frascotti, global chief marketing officer of Hasbro, Inc.
A side attraction of the launch came in the form of Transformers film director Michael Bay himself, also the creative consultant for the ride, which took four years to design, engineer and produce. In town for the opening of the ride, he fielded questions from the press on his favorite moment of the ride—in free-fall from a building, trying not to hit the ground. Asked if there was going to be a Transformers 4, he replied that there was nothing conclusive at the moment and that he was going to “do a tiny movie first.”
According to Thierry Coup, senior vice president of Universal Creative, the ride was simultaneously developed in Hollywood and Singapore, but it launched in the latter location first because the structure and facilities were already in place.
“Transformers The Ride is one of the most complex and technically challenging projects we have ever worked on. Creating a seamless and imperceptible blend between the incredible physical sets and our computer-generated imagery was a real challenge,” said Jeff White, visual effects supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic, a division of Lucasfilm Ltd. in Singapore which was chiefly responsible for creating the visual effects. “It pushes the state-of-the-art in ride technology and computer graphics with the results being something that we are very proud of.”
The project was developed simultaneously with the production of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the most recent Transformers movie released earlier this year. “This provided much synergy in the process and also provided the ride with unmatched authenticity in the sets, action scenes and characters while telling its own unique story,” White added.
To usher in the new year, Universal Studios Singapore will also be launching its Hollywood Dreams parade on Dec. 31, while new developments in Phase Two of the integrated resort, including two new luxury hotels, the Marine Life Park and an ESPA Complex, will open progressively in 2012.