Gallifree: Doctor Who: The Adventure Games

By Kieron Gillen on April 8th, 2010 at 9:18 am.

Oh, Karen.
As announced on the cover of the super soar-away Sun, the BBC are to release four Doctor Who adventure games. Online. For free. PC Gamer tease their feature on it here and Develop tease theirs here. The PC Gamer one’s mine – the “one last gig” that I mentioned in my twitter a while back – which is in their new issue. If PCG stick it online, I’ll be sure to link to it. Short details: 4 episodic, in-series-canon short action/adventure games produced by Sumo Digital, exec produced by Steven Moffat, with Who writers scripting, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan voice/body-acting and guided by the hands of uncle Charles Cecil. For free. Exciting stuff, both on the game, cultural improtance and business model sides. Full press-release follows…

EDIT: PC Gamer put up some quotes from Sumo’s Sean Millar, Uncle Charles and a big one from writer Phil Ford. As well as the article, I handed in a mass of transcription which I believe they’re going to be leaking onto the blog slowly.

Four additional episodes of Doctor Who revealed as the BBC announces Doctor Who: The Adventure Games, executive produced by Steven Moffat

New, original adventures form part of the new TV series; TV and gaming talent combine to premiere new form of interactive drama

Cardiff, London and Sheffield: April 8th 2010: The Doctor, Amy and some of the show’s most iconic monsters will be making a journey from TV to home computers, as the BBC unveils Doctor Who: The Adventure Games – four original ‘interactive episodes’ which will be made available for free from www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho.

These four new adventures will take the form of downloadable computer games available for PC and Mac, in which players assume control of the Doctor and Amy as they embark on new adventures which complement the new TV series.

Doctor Who: The Adventure Games has been produced by a team drawing on the very best talent from TV and gaming. The interactive episodes are executive produced by Steven Moffat, Piers Wenger, Beth Willis and Anwen Aspden (BBC Wales Interactive), alongside Charles Cecil, one of videogaming’s most revered creators. The games are being developed by Sumo Digital, one of the UK’s best game designers. Stories and scripts are from Phil Ford (co-writer Doctor Who ‘Waters of Mars’) and James Moran (Severance, Torchwood Children of Earth). The project has been commissioned for BBC Online by the Vision Multiplatform team, headed up by Simon Nelson, and is being driven by BBC Wales Interactive.

Matt Smith and Karen Gillan have been digitally recreated in-game, and have provided full voice-overs. Music has been provided by TV series’ composer Murray Gold. An additional cast will portray original characters and classic enemies.

“Children don’t just watch Doctor Who – they join in. They make up games, invent their monsters, create their own stories,” says Steven Moffat, Head Writer and Executive Producer, Doctor Who. “Now, there’s something else – now they can be the Doctor in brand new episodes. Doctor Who: The Adventure Games will offer fans of the Doctor a unique opportunity to enter his world, face his challenges and grapple with his deadliest foes.

“By developing these games alongside the new TV series, we’ve been able to weave exciting narrative strands with the very finest game design to create a new kind of Doctor Who, which can be enjoyed by the whole family.”

“There aren’t 13 episodes of Doctor Who this year,” adds Piers Wenger, Head of Drama, BBC Wales and Executive Producer, Doctor Who. “There are 17 – four of which are interactive. Everything you see and experience within the game is part of the Doctor Who universe: we’ll be taking you to places you’ve only ever dreamed about seeing – including locations impossible to create on television.”

Simon Nelson, Head of BBC Multiplatform in Vision, continues: “A few years ago we couldn’t have dreamt of commissioning such an innovative form of drama. By integrating the creation of these ‘interactive episodes’ with the development of the TV series, we’ve been able to create amazing two-hour dramas in which you control the action. We’ve all imagined what it would be like to come face-to-face with some of the universe’s most terrifying monsters – now viewers can find out for themselves.

“Establishing new forms of drama is exactly what the BBC should be doing. By aiming these ‘interactive episodes’ at the broad audience of TV show – unique in British television, in that it encompasses at least three generations – we’re aiming to encourage the family to gather round the PC or Mac in the same way they do the television. Driving computer literacy is a keystone of the BBC’s public service remit and we expectDoctor Who: The Adventure Games to be hugely popular in the homes of Britain this year.

“Only the BBC could produce such an innovative slice of new drama. We’re offering two-hour original Doctor Who episodes to production standards on a par with the TV series, working with the very best creatives within the UK. We’re hugely proud of Doctor Who: The Adventure Games, which will establish new standards in interactive drama and allow families the country over to enjoy Doctor Who stories in unique and innovative ways.”

“Doctor Who: The Adventure Games will offer the chance for Doctor Who fans to visit places they’ve only dreamed off, facing off against monsters they’ve previously had to imagine,” concludes Anwen Aspden, Executive Producer, BBC Wales Online. “Players will visit places which have never been shown on television – and these will go on to define the look and feel of future TV episodes.”

The exact titles of the four episodes are being kept secret for the time being, but the four original stories will take players on a journey throughout time and space, including one location from the Doctor Who series which has never been seen before on screen. Players will encounter new and original monsters, in stories which form part of the overall Doctor Who canon.

And, yes, that does mean that I’ve talked to Karen Gillan, which adds a fun twist to all those jokes about our names.

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80 Comments »

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  1. Ian says:

    Let’s hope it’s not TARDIouS.

    Sorry.

  2. Mac says:

    Knock knock … Who’s there …. Doctor …. Doctor Who ….

  3. robrob says:

    So 6 Music has to be shut down but there’s still money available for frivolous web games based on this dire TV show? Is this really what the BBC should be focusing its efforts on?

    • plugmonkey says:

      My sentiments exactly.

      It’s quite exciting, and at the same time, despite Sumo’s involvement it will most likely be utter shite. I’d rather the BBC kept 6 Music and didn’t bother with this sort of crap.

    • Smurfy says:

      Doctor Who is awesome, what are you talking about? Not seen the new series? It’s totally different.

    • cliffski says:

      I agree.
      Stop wasting money on game shows and dance competitions and other midless crap that ITV can churn out, and half the compulsory license tax please.

      I don’t see why I face imprisonment unelss I want to pay 6 million poudns of my taxes to jonathon ross so he can lust after actresses a third his age.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      I remember John Pertwee, and Tom Baker. At least Tom is still with us, but they’re still both “missed”. So far, the new series have been little more than “flashy effects in chav-land”.

    • TeeJay says:

      “…lust after actresses a third his age…”

      Speaking of which, the first episode of this seasons’s Dr Who was a bit … weird … in that sense:

      Dr Who meets a 7-year-old girl who develops an obsession with him and then ‘5 minutes later’ morphs into a 19-year-old stripogram who handcuffs him to a radiator. A blink-of-the-eye time-hop later she makes it to a 21-year-old and elopes with him, the sexual tension barely contained.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      TeeJay: on the night of her wedding, no less.

      Yeah, the creepy sexual tension/borderline paedophilia angle was, er… odd, to say the least.

    • Premium User Badge

      Dan Milburn says:

      @Alexander Norris

      I really don’t see how you get to ‘borderline paedophilia’. To be clear: the Doctor was not sexually attracted to 7 year old Amelia in any way whatsoever. There were in fact no indications that he was attracted to 21 year old Amy either. The stripper thing was unnecessary, agreed.

      This isn’t exactly a new story either, it’s been done recently by both the Time Travellers Wife and Moffat himself in Girl in the Fireplace.

      Nevertheless it was slightly creepy, and I think/hope that was intentional. It remains to be seen if they do anything with it later.

    • Premium User Badge

      Morph says:

      Wll Doctor Who is actually made for kids (but of course a fair few adults enjoy it too). The Doctor interacting with a child is a good way to start a series… what kid wouldn’t want the Doctor to help with their childhood fears? If you read anything more into this then I’m more worried about you.

      Anyway, free games sound good. Combining Gillen & Gillen can only equal sexy awesomeness.

    • Wulf says:

      All I will say is that Moffat is a man of grand imagination, and I absolutely adored the first episode. I saw none of this paedophilia, either. I’m seeing shades of The Path, here, where people read rape into it where there was none.

    • Wulf says:

      It’s really more of a representation of the mind of the poster rather than of Doctor Who.

    • TeeJay says:

      “…There were in fact no indications that he was attracted to 21 year old Amy either…”

      No indications? Sorry that’s not the vibe I was getting (also, remember Amy checking him out up-and-down with a dirty smile as he gets naked / changes clothes?). ‘Sexual tension’ is subjective tho’ – more down to body language than actual scripted lines.

      “Steven Moffat has suggested that the Doctor and his companion Amy Pond could have a romance in upcoming episodes of the show. According to The Mirror, Moffat described the relationship between Matt Smith and Karen Gillan’s characters as “complex”. “You take two attractive people and they will probably be a bit romantic about each other,” he said. “It is a complex story between Amy and the Doctor – it is not simple. It is not a story you have ever seen between the companion and the Doctor before.”” http://www.buzzbox.com/top/default/preview/moffat_hints_at_doctor_who-romance/?id=762885&topic=Doctor_Who%3ACult

      “There is kissing. It is fair to say she is attracted to the Doctor.” But she added: “I don’t think that she’s in love with him. She’s not this love sick puppy following him around.” http://celebrifi.com/gossip/New-Doctor-Who-companion-Karen-Gillan-gets-to-kiss-her-Time-Lord-1859490.html

      btw Wulf, before we get all hysterical it wasn’t me who used the word ‘paedophilia’.

  4. Dan Pryce says:

    To be honest, ‘free’ is the only reason I’ll consider giving this a try. Until my subscriber copy of PCG arrives – which it should have done last week – I haven’t got anything to assuage my initial fear that it’s going to be another completely functional but not particularly great series of episodic games.

    On the other hand, this could be the zeitgeist-buster that sends episodic gaming into the stratosphere. Will be keeping an eye on this one – I would love to be proved wrong.

  5. Smurfy says:

    Karen Gillan is hot.

    That’s all I have to say.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      @smurfy
      what about Kieron Gillen eh?

    • Man Raised By Puffins says:

      I didn’t think he had it in him. Bravo, sir!

      (Though he must have been in the make-up department for hours.)

    • Paul B says:

      I’ve heard Kieron Gillen has nicer legs :)

  6. Dan Pryce says:

    If the BBC had to make a game, I’d have preferred something along the lines of True Crime: Streets of 1973 Manchester. Alas.

    • TeeJay says:

      They could make a cool game based on “Life On Mars” & “Ashes To Ashes” with Gene Hunt / Alex Drake / et al.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Don’t you mean David Cameron/Gordon Brown/et al, these days?

      (Also, no DEB coverage? For shame, RPS. For shame.)

    • Jaz says:

      The screwdriver could work in a computer game. In the series it’s just a magic wand, but in a game you could be required to solve a…

      tedious minigame every time you used it. Never mind then.

  7. Ian says:

    Here’s hoping that you can’t solve TOO many puzzles by pointing the Sonic Screwdriver at them. ;-)

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      There’s entire bits of interview I transcribed about the problems of the Sonic Screwdriver. I’ll paraphrase them to “The fucking sonic screwdriver”.

      KG

    • Ian says:

      What they SHOULD use it for is a kind of help/clue mechanism. So if you know you’re supposed to be manipulating something in some way but can’t work out how you point the screwdriver at it and the Doctor mumbles something that gives you a hint as to what you’re to do with it.

    • TeeJay says:

      In episode 1 his sonic scewdriver is broken so he needs to use a bit of lateral thinking.

    • Ian says:

      @ TeeJay: Yeah, hopefully that was a sign that Moffat doesn’t plan to use it as quite so much of a Deus Ex Machina Gun as RTD did.

    • ulix says:

      He actually got a new sonic-screwdriver in the end, his new Tardis produced it automatically (and this time the light is green instead of blue).

    • Ian says:

      Indeed, but I’d like to think with Moffat the screwdriver being broken at all was more significant than it just being an excuse to roll it up with the TARDIS’ makeover.

  8. Reverend Speed says:

    The BBC and adventure games.

    Adventure games produced by Steven Moffat.

    Basically, woo-hoo.

    Question is – on their budget and schedule, can they create enough assets to keep your eyes from getting tired, to keep the momentum going? Lord knows, that was the biggest flaw in S&MS01 (not that that series was without other issues).

    Then again, if they have access to assets from Ridley Scott’s CGI house (can NOT remember the name now) – they do the CGI for Dr. Who, don’t they…?

  9. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    Free Dr Who based adventure games ? Chrles Cecil involved? I see no reason to complain.

    • The_B says:

      I agree.

      I mean, don’t get me wrong – I’m really hoping 6 Music doesn’t close either, but I think it’s a bit petty for people to suggest that this has anything to do with it, and isn’t at the very least welcome news.

      And no matter how good it is, it’s clearly going to be better than the new Simon the Sorcerer game.

  10. Schmung says:

    As an idea it’s very good. The execution of it worries me greatly and that first screenshot doesn’t exactly fill me with hope either.

  11. Pew says:

    Will wait for the inevitable nude patch now that Donna is no longer involved. Just throwing that out there.

  12. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    That screen shot is pretty deep in the uncanny valley…

  13. Markoff Chaney says:

    I do hope we can play on this side of the pond. None of this waiting 2 weeks crap either, at least for the fans who await proper broadcast. Speaking of, I wouldn’t mind a nice game of “Red Riding”.

    • ulix says:

      Yeah… hope we can play it on this side of the canal… Also hoping it won’t be web-based, but a proper download & install.

  14. mbp says:

    One last gig for PC Gamer ???

    I am not a twittterrteerrrr tweetteetttee towittowoo TWIT. So I am a bit behind with the news. Have you abandoned writing on dead trees?

  15. Sobric says:

    Hurrah for cultural improtence!

  16. Gabe McGrath says:

    I sincerely hope these online games aren’t UK-only in the way that some public broadcasters make their online video ‘local only’.

    That WOULD suck.

    Keiron, any word on UK only v.s Global access to the games?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      It’s funded by the licence fee. I suspect it’s safe to say that they’ll try to keep it local, at least to start with.

      KG

    • Ian says:

      Is the existence of BBC America liable to change that at all?

    • ulix says:

      Nooooo! Are you sure it will be web-based, Kieron? Or downloadable? Then it wouldn’t be such a problem to find ways arround IP-filtering and such.

    • Gabe says:

      Thanks Kieron, although a possibly complicating factor here (writing from Australia) is that it’s broadcast on ‘our’ publicly funded channel, the ABC.

      I wonder then, if the ABC would be able to host the games ‘for Aussies only’, as they do with their own Australian-produced content.

  17. FP says:

    Please be good, please be good. The BBC don’t exactly have a great record when it comes to tie-in games, hopefully Charles Cecil can change that.

  18. CMaster says:

    Do we know anything about what kind of plugin we will need?
    Looks a little unity-esque up there, but it could of course be Java driven or prerendered and in Flash.

  19. Da5id Jaz says:

    Is it just me, or is Karen Gillan very close to Kieron Gillen?
    Can you say female alter ego?

    • Rinox says:

      Don’t say that. I don’t want to think of Kieron’s awesome hotness when watching Dr. Who.

  20. Wulf says:

    Now if I can just stop laughing over Rinox’s comment…

    I’m actually excited about these. Frankly, Moffat is a very clued in bloke, and if he’s involved then I’m expecting these to be a little bit good, and really, the screenshots do look rather nice.

    • Premium User Badge

      Vandelay says:

      Agreed. Far too much pessimism in these comments. Moffat is a great writer and has made by far the best episodes of new Who. He has always been very experimental in his style (look at what he did on Coupling), so he is a great fit to work on this. And, to keep things in check, we have the guy behind Broken Sword on board too.

      Obviously, TV/movie tie-ins generally don’t go down too well, but I don’t really see why this should be a massive failure if the right people put enough effort into it.

  21. cdm says:

    I want Pertwee era, with the Brigadier and UNIT.

  22. AukonDK says:

    Finally got round to playing Tales of Monkey Island this week and was thinking that something like that would be great for a Who game. Very unnerving when stuff like that comes true days later :p
    I assume when they say “PC and Mac” they mean “Windows and Mac”, would really make my day if it were available for Linux too.

  23. Jeff says:

    Well, this “dire” TV show is a franchise that makes the BBC at least £100 million a year in sales and merchandising, which is probably more than Six Music makes for the BBC. That’s the return on the investment the licence fee makes. A game is part of the business model to go “trans-media”, and is considered relevant to the BBC’s brief for inclusive public broadcasting, taken here to digital media. If they didn’t think anyone wanted a game, they wouldn’t bother to make it.

    • robrob says:

      Popular television could well be sustained by the commercial channels where niche services such as 6 Music cannot. 6 Music actively loses the BBC money – the company is propped up by a licence fee so that it can pursue commercially non-viable media. I don’t think anyone is claiming a lack of demand for it, rather questioning where the BBC’s priorities should be.

    • Premium User Badge

      phlebas says:

      Mm. I’d far rather pay for the game (there is plenty of much less interesting Doctor Who-related tat out there for cash, after all) and see the budget for free stuff go towards, say, an interesting music radio station that wouldn’t otherwise exist.

  24. Andrew Dunn says:

    Even with licence fee funding involved, I don’t see why they shouldn’t make them free to everyone. They’re likely to hit torrent sites if they’re UK only, and the BBC would do well to cut out the middleman there.

  25. Gabriel says:

    MY COUSIN (SEAN DAVIES) IS WORKING ON THIS!!!

    • Wulf says:

      Yay! That must be awesome.

      You should get him to write you up a dev diary of what he was doing, no need to share it publically, but it’d be a really nifty thing to have.

  26. Pod says:

    “You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to keep a secret in gaming. But we still try. If all goes to plan, the first time anyone, outside of a very tight circle of trust, hears that the BBC are creating four, free, episodic Doctor Who adventures for UK PC gamers should be right about…. now.”

    EXCEPT FOR THE FACT GILLIEN TOTTALY POSTED THIS 15 HOUR AGO. Way to kill Tim’s intro!*

    *Actually, Tim’s intro WAS the first time I heard of it. So I suppose you got away with it this time…

  27. The thing living in your eye. says:

    They will be shit.

    You can catch up with me later to say “I told you so”

  28. Jose says:

    I like a lot Doctor Who, but it’s a shame that it will only work on Mac and Windows.
    I still don’t know why PC=Windows…

  29. billion owed says:

    crappy seat’s and zoophiliacs Great list of coments Till you pay thats you all day.