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The Transformers Aligned Universe was an experiment developed by Hasbro in an attempt to consolidate the modern Transformers brand into a collective whole, rather than juggling a new Continuity Reboot every 2-3 years. All of the new sub-franchises of Transformers will be connected together in Broad Strokes to give a reinforcement to the themes that have been with Transformers since 1984 and provide some sense of backstory continuity between the different series. The stated intention was to be an Adaptation Distillation of everything people love from the series while stretching off into new story possibilities. To manage this, a large 354 page Series Bible was created with the intent to guide different projects for the foreseeable future called the "Binder of Revelation." The new universe officially began with the launch of the book Transformers Exodus in June 2010 with the "primary" fiction being appropriately named Transformers Prime. The universe includes:
- Transformers Exodus - Novel, with sequels Transformers Exiles and Transformers Retribution.
- Transformers: War for Cybertron - Video Game.
- Transformers Fall of Cybertron - Sequel to WFC.
- Transformers Prime - CGI Cartoon series airing on The Hub.
- Transformers: Robots in Disguise - Sequel to Prime.
- Transformers Rescue Bots - Another, non-CGI cartoon, aimed at a younger audience.
- Transformers: Rescue Bots Academy - Sequel to Rescue Bots.
- Transformers Universe - An MMORPG that languished in Development Hell for ages before eventually being cancelled.
As far as more background information, the decision to create this new expansive universe came not only because of the frequent continuity reboots but because there has been a massive Continuity Snarl in the Transformers Mythos with regards to the Multiverse. The comics had established that all of the Transformers Series we have seen up to that point are connected, with certain characters like Unicron, Primus, Vector Prime and The Fallen as being universal constants (existing within all the different Universes). Eventually, Hasbro would declare that this universe was part of the multiverse, but that it had been separated from it for a while, before it simply did away with the concept of multiversal singularities.
Problems have risen because the actual multi-verse story has been largely contained within the comics, and many other continuities are written without any intent of following that story. Even with the idea of Alternate Universes it is difficult to keep any sense of consistency with all of the projects being written independently. Thus the Aligned Continuity (an unofficial term, used loosely by Hasbro but adopted by the fans to describe the continuity family) is merely providing a core to work from while the individual projects still have room to move, they have openly stated that the story takes precedence over the details. While there are some discrepancies already between the various series, they are still working off the same themes coming from the general backstory.
These themes include the following:
- The primordial gods of Primus and Unicron, who waged a battle between each other long ago. The entire Cybertronian race is descended from Primus, as well that Primus embodies the core of the planet Cybertron itself.
- The Thirteen Original Primes- Warriors created by Primus to tip the balance of the battle against Unicron. Originating in the comics, the exact backstory and personality of these characters were vague and undefined until now. Incredibly powerful, they have descended into myths and legends by the time of the main characters. The current title of "Prime" is a respect to those original beings.
- The Cybertronian Civil War- Cybertron had become aggressively segregated into a caste system that kept the citizens oppressed. A gladiator calling himself Megatronus started gathering followers for his crusade to eliminate the caste system, joining his cause was a well respected data clerk named Optimus . But Optimus sought equality and freedom while Megatron's cause was largely a smoke screen for his rise to power. As Optimus gained favor with the ruling government Megatron's true intentions were revealed and the people of Cybertron split into two factions, the Autobots (for desiring individual autonomy) and the Decepticons (for their deception of their facist nature).
- Cybertron as a Dead World- The Civil War eventually corrupted the core of Cybertron itself, requiring the planet to shut down for millions of years. This means the planet was slowly depleted of it's once abundant energy resources and the majority of Cybertronians were forced to wander through space in exile. After time there was little reason for even a few pockets of civilization to remain, but the Cybertronian Civil War continues among the stars as resources become scarce.
- The Matrix of Leadership- An artifact from the time of the Thirteen Primes, it was given to Optimus by the core of Cybertron (Primus) to keep an element of their home planet with them wherever they go.
- Depleting Resources- All things Cybertronian run off a vital fuel called Energon (it's assumed other forms of energy like electricity and gasoline can be substituted, but are far inferior in all important respects). With the core of Cybertron shutting down Energon becomes more and more scarce, other planets have been used to seed raw Energon crystals that can be grown over a long period of time and harvested, but it is a long and labor intensive process.
- The existence of Dark Energon, a powerful, unstable and corruptive form of the regular Energon, which is rumored to be the "blood of Unicron."
Though the continuity was initially hugely successful and popular, problems arose in 2015 with Robots in Disguise's more kid friendly tone and apparent disconnect with the rest of the continuity. Then word leaked that the Binder of Revelation was rarely ever utilized in the production of Prime and other pieces of Aligned media, with most writers having never seen or heard of it.
As a result, once Robots in Disguise ended, Hasbro opted to try again with Transformers: Cyberverse, which once again acts as an Ultimate Universe for the Transformers brand. The Aligned continuity isn't dead however, as Rescue Bots Academy still airs.
- ↑ one of the inconsistent details, Optimus either always had his first name or had his entire name changed from Orion Pax to Optimus Prime