Much-Anticipated Giant Robot Fight Was Staged, Took 3 Days to Film
We’ve been primed by TV and movies to expect that one day, giant fighting robots will exist. It seemed recently that the era of giant robots was upon us when US-based MegaBots Inc. challenged Japan’s Suidobashi Heavy Industry to a battle. Both companies had a giant mech-like robot, so it seemed like a perfect match. The battle took place last week, streamed from an abandoned steel mill. Except, we’re now learning that it didn’t. Not only was the fight pre-filmed, it was also staged over the course of three days. (Everything I believed in was a lie – Ed)
There were three robot combatants in the two bouts streamed last week. On the Japanese side, there was a 13.5-foot mech weighing in at 6.5 tons called Kuratas. The American MegaBots team had a ranged-attack robot called Iron Glory that was 15 feet tall and six tons in weight. The second US robot was Eagle Prime, a 12-ton robot designed to lift and saw things.
That all sounds very cool, but reports following the match made it clear it was all smoke and mirrors. According to Motherboard, the two matches were filmed over the course of three days, and there were frequent breaks to repair and troubleshoot the robots. MegaBots co-founder Matt Oehrlein admits the fight was scripted with the aim of creating something entertaining to watch.
WRONG PRIME. EAGLE Prime. EAGLE Prime!
Anyone who watched the stream (you can see a replay below) won’t be surprised by this revelation. The action was clearly planned in such a way that neither robot was taken out of commission before all the necessary footage was filmed. The robots took turns showing off, like when Eagle Prime pulled down a camera rig with its claw and pointlessly spun it around to fend off a nonexistent attack from Kuratas. And then there was the paintball cannon, which obviously had no effect on a 6.5 ton robot. (In fairness, this seemed downright strange from the start. Ditto the “rocket launcher” mounted on Iron Glory 2 – Ed).
When you commit to having people inside the robots, there’s only so much you can do. A weapon capable of damaging a giant robot could also cause serious injury to the pilot. Still, the robots’ movements were pre-programmed anyway. The pilots just had to press a button to activate the program.
This all goes to show you building a giant robot is hard. Even with years of prep, the machines were so fragile it took days to get under 10 minutes of usable footage. Maybe one day we’ll have real fighting robots, but for now it’s more like robot pro wrestling. (Where do I sign up to see robot Andre the Giant take on robotic Hulk Hogan?)