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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Doctor Who Legacy Interview

There's a very long, very insightful article at the Computer and Video Games link, and you should go read it in its entirety. The couple who run "Tiny Rebel Games", Lee Cummings and Susan Cummings (the former of whom was born in Cardiff, natch) talked about their interest in making a Doctor Who mobile game (free to download), and how helpful the BBC has been to the process. Much too long to excerpt here, but here's a couple of nice quotes.

"Our love of the Doctor comes not just from the fact that he can go anywhere in time and space but from the fact that he already has. We've had 50 years of adventures. So many amazing actors who have played the Doctor. Dozens of amazing supporting characters that Whovians all over the planet care about just as much as the Doctor himself."

"Everyone has their favourite Doctor. Everyone has their favourite episode. Everyone has their specific moment which defines Doctor Who for them. The depth of canon, the layers, the nuance, is staggering."

"We loved the fact that we could abstract any sort of confrontation into a gem puzzle mechanic if we left it vague, which felt much more appropriate to the Doctor than creating a mechanic which felt more focused on straight physical violence."

"We didn't want any horrible 'hey Facebook friends I get free gems if I coerce you into playing this game' stuff in there...We also ripped out the 'pay gems to expand the boxes you keep monsters in' idea because we wanted people to collect allies, to mix and match, and having to pay for storage just flew in the face of that."

 "The BBC has been, at every turn, at every decision, amazing to work with. We decided on day one to have a fully transparent relationship with it. The day I received a new build from the team, so did the BBC. When the first art samples came from the art team, the BBC received them as well. It just wasn't going to work any other way."
"But the people at the BBC are...actually gamers. I stood in front of a whiteboard for two hours and sketched out pretty much what we shipped, and they got it immediately. Their feedback was focused, specific, and was always sent with one goal: to make the gameplay experience better. They also really love Doctor Who. So no, the BBC has been amazing from the first moment to the last email we received earlier today."

"Our ultimate expectation is that all of the Doctors (including the latest, eventually) will be a part of Doctor Who: Legacy. Having said that, we'd like to give each Doctor release the space, love and honour it deserves and not throw them all out there too quickly."

"The BBC also gave us a sneak peek at one of the Christmas episode enemies (the Wooden Cyberman), which let us launch a fan-only level on Boxing Day which included them, only hours after they had appeared on TV for the first time."

"We had to condense the 'collection' of all the Doctors dramatically. We also had to start introducing 'fan favourite' episodes because the classic episodes of Doctor Who have lots of fans who should see some of that earlier content in the game without waiting for (potentially) years.

"Luckily we designed the general storyline of the game to support all of this - time is collapsing around the Doctor, paradoxes are ripping time apart all around him and we can introduce pretty much anything from the Doctor's timeline without it feeling out of place, forced."

"One of the challenging yet awesome things about Doctor Who as a brand is that the show means something very different to everyone...Many grew up watching Doctor Who as a child, others only discovered it over the past seven years in its reboot. People have 'their' Doctor, 'their' companions, 'their' favourite enemies."

"That means we don't want fans of Classic Who to have to wait as we slowly work our way back in time through episodes. Also, part of the charm I think in what we've created, is giving fans the ability to create their fantasy teams. If you want to bring Paul McGann and Sarah Jane into a fight with Mark Gatiss's Peg Dolls, bringing along Martha Jones, Ace, Clara and Bitey the Cybermat, you should be able to do that."

"Right now we're also putting together a list of other 'fan favourite' characters we want to add, and while the first set (such as K9 and Sarah Jane) came from Susan and myself, now we entirely go on ideas from the community, polls on our sub-Reddit and Facebook, emails which come to our support email address and so on."

"We're not making the game for us, so why wouldn't we listen to the people we're making the game for at every turn?"

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