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Syfy launches the next generation of arena combat when 12 state-of-the-art robots and 24 courageous contestants enter the ring in the hotly-anticipated new competition series, Robot Combat League, premiering Tuesday, February 26 at 10PM ET/PT. Each week, Robot Combat League, hosted by Chris Jericho, the wildly popular WWE superstar, features tournament-style battles between eight-foot tall humanoid robots controlled by a human fighter ("robo-jockey") and an engineer ("robo-tech"). Robot Combat League is produced by Smart Dog Media, with Craig Plestis serving as executive producer.
"Giant bi-pedal robots fighting in an arena has been a dream of ours for a long time. After some painstaking research and development, the technology is finally advanced enough to make it a reality." said Mark Stern, President, Original Content, Syfy and Co-Head, Original Content, Universal Cable Productions. "This is truly a first for reality television, and a state-of-the-art showcase of advanced technology at its most thrilling."
Users of both the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Roku will get a special, early look at the first episode of Robot Combat League one week before its television premiere. From February 19th through the 26th, the series premiere can be streamed - for free - through the Syfy app for on Xbox LIVE* and the Syfy channel in the Roku Channel Store.
In the premiere episode, "Rise of the Machines," the contestants are paired into 12 teams, comprised of a robo-jockey and a robo-tech. Each team is then introduced to its own unique robot, which they will control using a high-tech exo-suit that translates their exact movements to their robot. The contestants take control of the robots for the first time in a timed challenge to earn their rankings for the fight tournament. The top-ranked team and the bottom-ranked team then fight for their life in three rounds of non-stop mechanical carnage.
The robots of the Robot Combat League were designed and created by robotics expert, Mark Setrakian (Hellboy, Men in Black), a leader in the sport of robotic combat. Through groundbreaking engineering, Setrakian has fused a human's fighting spirit with a powerful robotic machine built for destruction. Meet the robots of Robot Combat League:
A.X.E.: The head of this robot is shaped like an axe, which can be used to SMASH other robots. Cameras mounted in two holes on either side of the blade capture all the action during combat. The robot also features heavy armor to protect it during close range attacks. However, the heavy armor restricts range of motion and ground speed.
BRIMSTONE: Steel and leather are the materials of choice for this robot -- a mechanical brute with unstoppable pummeling power. The all-important brain/computer is housed inside a triple thick hammer-finish dome that is three times tougher and heavier than the armor of any other robot in the league. The gleaming gloves and thug boots are made of the same heavy steel alloy. For speed and agility, its arms and legs are protected by tough leather armor, which is light and flexible to offer excellent mobility. The smooth surfaces of the robot are made to deflect attacks by causing them to glide off the body armor. But an exposed mid-section allows opponents to open gaps and possibly damage internal mechanisms.
COMMANDER: This robot is the mechanized infantry of the future. Commander is a heavy-armored trooper rigged for combat, featuring tank tread feet for extra traction on the floors inside the ring -- which are often slick with the oil-blood of opponents. The head pans and tilts on a servo-actuated neck mechanism, and includes a helmet-cam similar to those used by the US military. This robot has superior overall protection and strength, but its extra armor and pack limits speed and range of motion.
CRASH: Crash features a shock-mounted roll cage which can absorb high impact attacks. Its smoked titanium panel and roll cage armor is lighter, but still offers good range of protection. Light and fast, this robot is ready for rough action, but the roll-cage can restrict range of motion, making Crash more prone to attacks.
DRONE STRIKE: Based on bleeding-edge military hardware, this robot is the most tightly engineered of the robot fighters. Features include stainless steel armor laminated with ballistic nylon in a digital camo-pattern, giving this robot a distinctive appearance. The midsection includes shock-suspended armor bands that completely encircle the critical valve and hose assemblies, while the large multifunction head/turret pans and tilts. Unique to this robot are the barrel weapons, which are devastating to opponents. With a strong center of gravity, this robot has great balance and is extremely difficult to knock around. However, some of the armor features create mobility issues.
GAME OVER: The skin for this robot was built using steel that has been stitch-welded together. The robot also features a 24" video monitor embedded in its upper torso, with a screen protected by a clear Lexan panel. The heavy armor of this robot offers excellent protection and is designed to allow for a wide range of motion, resulting in better attack mobility. However, an opponent with a high degree of accuracy can attack open gaps and destroy internal mechanisms.
MEDIEVAL: Inspired by the valiant knights of a bygone era, Medieval is built from steel with chain mail coverings and metal crests that create additional layers of protective armor during battle. One of the robot's Unique Features is its shield, which offers superior defensive capabilities and a possible strategic advantage against opposing robots. Heavy armor makes Medieval one of the strongest and best protected robots in the competition, but the added weight limits speed and range of motion.
ROBO HAMMER: Built for speed using reclaimed parts from top of the line vehicles, Robo Hammer is fast and fierce with devastating acceleration. A variety of exposed hoses and non-vital mechanical parts on the body armor lessens the impact of opposing robot hits without allowing damage to internal structures. While the lightweight body armor on Robo Hammer lets the robot move freely and deliver lightning-fast punches, it also leaves the robot open and vulnerable to attacks.
SCORPIO: This robot is built from fiberglass and aluminum. Like a real insect's spike-like hairs, Scorpio features metal spikes that are firmly fixed to its skeleton. These spikes can be used to deflect its enemies' blows, and at the same time turn its entire body into a weapon. However, its lightweight armor makes the robot more prone to attacks.
STEAMPUNK: Although more crudely constructed than its counterparts, Steampunk's over-sized shells help it withstand attacks to any part of the body. This is possibly the most versatile robot on the show, and can endure attacks to any part of its body. However, its heavy armor slows its rate of attack.
STEEL CYCLONE: Sleek and deadly, the shell is 18" gauge steel with a high quality automotive finish. The low profile circular head, which houses a camera and high intensity light that scans side-to-side, makes it the shortest of the fighting robots at just over seven-feet-tall. This robot is sleek and light, making it fast and deadly with a dynamic range of motion for increased attack poses. And without an exposed head, it is more difficult for opposing robots to land attacks. However, it can only rely on its speed and strategy to overcome a stronger adversary.
THUNDER SKULL: Thunder Skull's tight-fitting body armor has been stitch-welded together to offer great overall protection and power. This robot has a clear resin dome that covers a tiny "skull," which can be seen moving around with a life of its own. However, even with a protective dome, the head is vulnerable to opposing robot attacks. In addition, the hulking upper body of the robot makes Thunder Skull more top heavy, which could create issues with center of gravity and balance during close-quarters combat.
Competing for a $100,000 cash prize, the robo-jockeys and robo-techs come from a myriad of backgrounds including a racecar driver, an Olympic athlete, a National Guard helicopter pilot, professional fighters and an impressive array of qualified robotics experts and high-tech engineers. The Robot Combat League contestants are: