How a Doctor Who Game CAN Work
Guest contributor Charlie Murray investigates some possibilities for future games.
In the past Doctor Who video games have been a bit of a let down. For some strange reason the TV series just doesn’t really translate well in the gaming world. Most likely because of the Doctor’s pacifist nature, the witty comments, the running and the story which keeps the viewer engaged. In a game, you’re supposed to do things. So what exactly can you do in a Doctor Who game that keeps you engaged, but still feels like the franchise?
Well I think there’s two solutions to how a Doctor Who video game could become successful:
A) Get Telltale Games, known for creating fantastic franchise games such as The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, and soon to be Game of Thrones.
B) You create a Lego universe of the franchise, made by the Lego masters that are TT Games.
An Interactive Story
First let’s begin with Telltale. It’s been known that Telltale Games themselves actually want to make a Doctor Who game. This was first revealed back in 2009. Unfortunately, due to the failure that was The Eternity Clock, which received very mixed reviews and suffered from many bugs from day one, the BBC decided to put all its efforts down to mobile devices, and as you know we now have “Doctor Who: Legacy”. But surely most fans want something bigger?
Telltale’s latest games have solely been interactive ones, which leaves the player with split-second choices, and those choices have big consequences. This screams out with potential. In the show, you’ll always see the Doctor coming up with a solution, so perhaps what could happen in the game is that the player is given multiple scenarios on how to get out of a sticky spot, and depending on which they chose will depend on what happens in the long run, for example:
- Choice A allows you to run down a corridor, however it may have Daleks all over it (you won’t know until you reach there).
- Choice B might allow you to randomly teleport somewhere, but it literally could be anywhere for all you know, maybe into another trap.
This doesn’t just work in escape scenarios. Perhaps there could be a moment where you have to choose between two companions; both need saving, but you can only save one. The other, perhaps, will be taken away which means you have to save them. Of course what this could then do is that depending on which companion you chose, you are given two different ways to play. If you saved companion A, perhaps you have to go in sneaky to save the other one, where as if you go with companion B, you’ll dive straight into chaos. This could also expand on character development too; maybe you could learn more about your companion depending on which you went with.
Telltale also works in episodes to give their games that truly cinematic feel. Their recent games have been going with 5 episodes, so perhaps those could be their own story arc; something The Eternity Clock had planned to do originally but as a trilogy. Each episode can also have a cliffhanger and a next time trailer, much like the show. Whilst we might have to wait every 2 months, we’re Whovians, we survived longer breaks before.
The question still remains however: which Doctor? Which companions? Well, what I personally would love to see is more adventures of the Ninth Doctor; he had a pretty short run, so it would be awesome to see more of him, whether it be with Rose Tyler or an adventure set before he meets Rose. We could also see more of the Eighth Doctor, and although some have said that his audio and novel adventures would be classed as “his run”, I’m sure there could be more adventures to see; perhaps the video game could truly bring his companions to life by giving them an actual modelled face compared to the ones you either imagined by reading the books/comics or by listening to audio books. Finally, perhaps it could be set during the War Doctor’s era. When we saw the War Doctor after Eight regenerated into him, he looked like a young man. Then in the Name/Day of the Doctor, he was old. Perhaps the game could go into more detail on what he had to go through during the Time War years.
Block by Block
Now usually before a Lego game can be made, the toy line needs to be created first, and as you all know there isn’t an official line for Doctor Who yet. However, recent developments are looking positive on that front, so here’s hoping a game would follow. If they were to make this game, it might just show that Lego Doctor Who CAN WORK.
So let’s look back at previous Lego games. TT Games have made Lego games for the following major franchises:
- Star Wars
- Indiana Jones
- Harry Potter
- Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit
And that’s just to name a few compared to how many in total they have created. In the games, the player goes through a Lego-fied version of a particular film (Lego Marvel sort of made its own little story using Marvel characters). Perhaps the Lego game itself could either create levels based on past episodes, or possibly create their own. In terms of which episodes and which Doctors, why not all of them? Perhaps have a few levels set with the First Doctor and then the next set with the Second and so forth. Personally I’d much rather they create original levels because that seems to work so much better. Perhaps what they could do is each Doctor could have their own set levels which tells a story in itself, but ultimately each Doctor’s story builds up to a climatic multi-doctor finale.
Lego games are often known for its puzzles; “only Jedi’s can pull this down,” “only Hulk can break open this wall,” “only Batman can climb up here,” to name some examples. In these situations, perhaps you could have scenarios where only this particular Doctor can do “that”. Perhaps only characters with scarves (i.e. the Fourth Doctor) can pull this down, or only characters with claws (the Slitheen) can break open this lock. Speaking of the characters, there are A LOT in the Doctor Who universe. In terms of what you could unlock, you could have “this Doctor in this costume” and then “in this costume” and then do the same with the other Doctors. Players could also unlock the many companions that there are by either buying them or earning them.
Finally, Lego games are also widely known for their collectables; their mini kits, gold bricks, red bricks and the amount of studs you earn. When you fill the stud bar to 100% in a level, you could unlock the “True Timelord” rank. Perhaps you could find mini-kits which will ultimately build either a known gadget, or ships from the show. One final collectable could be different Screwdrivers; there are more than you think, with there being the multiple types: the Laser Screwdriver, the Sonic pen, River’s Screwdriver and perhaps they could throw in some original ones also. The hubs which the players could also explore can be different space stations, different TARDIS’ and perhaps even different planets.
It was unfortunate that The Eternity Clock failed to generate that spark; the Adventure Games were also a bit hit and miss, but if the BBC were to allow these two sets of games to be made, we could be looking at the two best Doctor Who games ever created.
Thanks for reading and leave your thoughts below.