Tag Archives: Limited number of characters

Why are the Autobots Always Outnumbered?


Hello, Transformers Writers!

Today’s title gets the ball rolling. Lately ‘reboots’ of the Transformers’ genre have the Autobots as the minority in the war for Cybertron – and later, on Earth.


To my mind, there are three answers.

First, you think this is the price the Autobots have to pay for being principled combatants. Since they are less ruthless in battle they are therefore more likely to be killed by the murderous (in some cases bordering on psychotic) Decepticons. Autobots don’t kill needlessly. Decepticons slaughter Autobots in droves, but you write the story so that the Autobots will not respond in kind. This leads to fewer and fewer Autobots while somehow the number of Decepticons either remains stable or continues to grow.

Second, you perceive the Autobots’ principles in the same way as the Decepticons – as weaknesses. Therefore, you have Autobot casualties in direct proportion to their ethics. After all, if an Autobot will not stab a Decepticon in the back then what’s to stop the ‘Con from doing that to him when he (the Autobot) turns around? (A good knock on the head works pretty well from what I’ve seen.)

Third, you consider the Decepticons to be stronger. Therefore you write that they get control of more resources than the Autobots, build bigger and more powerful weapons, and subsequently destroy more Autobots. The Autobots, who largely want peace on Cybertron, would consequently pursue strategic positions and weapons of war in a more ‘principled’ manner than the Decepticons.

These ideas, fellow writers, are false. War is a battle for survival. If either side wishes to survive, they have to fight for it and fight for it aggressively.

This makes the decimation of Autobot forces seem a bit out of proportion, doesn’t it? Being a principled people does not mean that the Autobots would not inflict massive casualties of their own on Decepticon forces. While many Autobots would indeed be more inclined toward peace, that does not mean that they would be willing to forfeit their lives in some delusion that the Decepticons would spare them for that desire. If anything, it would prompt the ‘Cons to finish them on the spot.

War inflicts heavy casualties, but not necessarily to one side. If the two forces are equally matched, and I see no reason why the Autobots would lack either the weaponry to battle the Decepticons or the will power to do so, then the Autobots would not become nearly extinct in the fight for Cybertron as you have portrayed. Their numbers would nearly match those of the Decepticons.

Unfortunately for us Autobot fans, the same would go for the Decepticons. They would not suffer near total annihilation either. Both sides should be able to meet as equals in the number of combatants and the potency of their weapons. If the Autobots want peace, then it stands to reason that they will fight for it. Anyone who wants something enough is usually willing to work hard to get it. The Autobots are, and should be, no exception.

If there are an equal number of Autobot and Decepticon warriors in a story, that means there would be a greater number of sales for merchandise resulting from the shows. One thing that can be guaranteed in any story is the viewers’ desire to be a part of it. Many children have armies of toys of their favorite ‘Bots and ‘Cons, which they send into battle whenever they get the chance. If there are as many Autobots in a story as there are Decepticons, then those armies of toys can only get larger.

So, to quote a well-known Transformer line, fellow writers, “Autobots, roll out!”


Mithril (An Exasperated Fan)