Games Are Cool – Dr Who: The Eternity Clock

By Alec Meer on December 9th, 2011 at 10:04 am.

Fezes aren't cool. There, I said it.

“Is there anything you like about Christmas?” wondered my significant other last night, after I’d just expelled another long moan about the hassle of the holiday season. I didn’t have to think for long. “Yes!” I exclaimed, confidently. “There’s usually an episode of Dr Who on.” For, despite the good Doctor’s televisual output being what I would generously describe as ‘uneven’, it pushes most of the right buttons for me to never want to miss it. What I don’t yet know is how much this extends to games based on the last Gallifreyan’s time-bending adventures. The recent clutch of free point and click adventures were miserable, clunky affairs, but looks as though there’s something more significant on its way though – Dr Who: The Eternity Clock is due for PC and console next year. Even though the BBC promptly pulled the trailer they accidentally stuck online last night, I’ve reversed the polarity of the neutron flow so you can watch it below.

So here’s what we know: PC, PS3, PS Vitalite, “Coming soon”, concerns time, features the Tardis’ danger signal the cloister bells, stars Matt Smith (the Doctor, real name Ian Doctors) and Alex Kingston (River Song), made by SuperMassive Games (a Guildford, UK studio who’ve predominantly made PS Move stuff). No Karen Gillan as Amy Pond this time it seems, which is just as well as she was abjectly awful in the free games.

The BBC for some reason took this offline after initially releasing it, but everyone with half a brain promptly cloned it across fansites, so they’ve done the sensible thing and put it out again. They also gave this summary:

Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock will immerse gamers in the universe of Doctor Who, allowing them to take on the role of the Doctor and River Song as they travel across time and space to save the Earth.

The game is set for release in early 2012, initially on Playstation 3; Playstation Vita and PC platforms.

Further details are promised from the official Eternity Clock twit-witter.

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50 Comments »

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  1. Danny says:

    Obvious opportunity to post picture of Karen Gillen not taken? I am…disappointed.

  2. Gormongous says:

    There was one less L in the game’s subtitle the first time I looked at it, quite uncomfortably.

  3. Baka says:

    Games are cool in TV-Links, go!

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    Hideous says:

    I think that for a Doctor Who game to actually work you need to not play as the Doctor. It’s important to keep a sort of mystery about him, I think.

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    Jackablade says:

    Is it nearly time to kill this doctor off and get a new one yet? The current one offends my delicate sensibilities. Plus he gets paid to wear a fez while I do not which I believe to be a terrible injustice.

    • Prime says:

      Hush, you. Matt Smith = Best. Doctor. EVER.

    • Tuco says:

      I’m all for Matt Smith, too.
      I couldn’t stand him at first but his version of the Doctor won me over time.
      And YES, I actually prefer him to Tennant now.

    • Prime says:

      *Sigh* I hated Tennant’s Doctor. It’s telling that two of the best stories from Nu-Who, universally praised by fans, are the ones where a) he’s hardly in it (Blink) and B) He’s playing a completely different personality (Family of Blood).

      Sadly, though. I seem to be in a minority of one. :(

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      Jackablade says:

      No, no. Everyone likes Mr Tennant. Even you. Perhaps extra-especially you.

    • Mana_Garmr says:

      I could never decide if I disliked Tennant’s take on the character, or just the stuff that was written for him.

      Every time he went off on some variation of “Aren’t humans brilliant!” I just want to find something heavy to hit him with. Add in some really terrible finale episodes he took part in and my memories of him are mixed at best.

      Smith’s been quite enjoyable so far for me.

    • Buttless Boy says:

      Tennant was great, but the writing wasn’t. Smith is great, and so is the writing (more Neil Gaiman please), so he’s my preference.

      More importantly, what is up with all the people thinking Tennant is more attractive? As a straight dude that seems insane to me, Smith looks like one of those skinny hipster models and Tennant looks like a rodent.

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      Chaz says:

      @ Mana_Garmr

      Yes! Yes! I’ve thought that for ages myself, really bloody anoying that, also all the overwroughtly acted emotional scenes. It sometimes seemed like someone was getting all blubbery and tearful every five bloody minutes, especially that last episode with John Simm and Bernard Cribbins in it, good grief!

      They seem to have cut the water works down a fair bit for this new doctor but there’s still a fair bit of it present sometimes. Why do half the characters have to be such a bunch of emotional cripples.

    • Syra says:

      Both of my all time fave episodes are tennant’s… Blink and Midnight.

      Granted that he’s barely in blink he’s still a far better doctor than that massive-frankenstein’s-monster-foreheaded smith fellow.

      Perhaps the best ever character in doctor who then; is carey mulligan for being the main character of blink. She’s obviously the hottest too. I totes fell in love with her right when she said: “I love old things. They make me feel sad.”/”[sadness is] happy for deep people.” And I’ve loved her in everything she’s been in since.

    • Wulf says:

      I’ve liked all of the doctors, really. That’s why regenerations are always both sad and exciting times. I’ve even liked the ones that everyone else seems to hate, like Sylvester McCoy and Colin Baker (their audio play stuff has been exceptional, too).

      And it’s good because we get to see the doctor go through phases. The last doctor was a very human one, very emotional. The one before him was very irkable in an adorable Pertwee sort of way. And Matt Smith? He’s Tom Baker in all of his eccentricity. And Matt plays the eccentric doctor really, really well.

      These are all facets of the doctor:

      – The Coward
      – The Eccentric
      – The Empath
      – The Curmudgeon
      – The Clown
      – The Peacock

      And so on.

      And new doctors play up to different elements of those, but never all of those at once. So a new doctor is an exciting time. Which elements of The Doctor, as a faceted creature, is this actor going to play up to?

      And thus I think they’ve all been good, great even. Brilliant.

  6. sneetch says:

    Isn’t that kind of the whole point with Doctor Who? That he goes to specific points in time in order to fix things that only he can fix?

    It’s a bit like complaining that there’s always a murder where ever Miss Marple goes. Why doesn’t she ever spend an episode doing her taxes or weeding her garden, I’m sure they could wring out an interesting script out of Vicar Dobson’s greenfly predicament.

    Edit: well, look at that, the post I was replying to was struck down by Wrathful Horace, or something. Take this post too, ya big dumb bear! I dare ya!

    • jon_hill987 says:

      I think it is the case that the TARDIS takes him where he needs to go rather than where he wants to go.

    • Tuco says:

      @Jon_hill987: Well, it’s not about what you think. They even stated it quite clearly (it was season 6, episode 6, I think).

    • The Tupper says:

      Hehe. Well, Mr so-called Jon Hill987. That’s YOU told!

  7. sneetch says:

    It’d be polite to let the PS Vita at least launch before you wish it was dead.

  8. jon_hill987 says:

    My guess is it has to do with licencing fees. The beeb have strict rules when it comes to spending money (though judging by the fact Chris Moyles still has a show not strict enough) and I bet Microsoft want some money up front to put it on XBbox where Sony do not. If I rememeber rightly the same thing happened with the BBC iPlayer.

  9. Was Neurotic says:

    WTF is a PS Vita? (I resisted the urge to write PS Vista there, well done me).

    • The Tupper says:

      Is it not one of those crackers that tubby women plaster with cheese?

  10. Arbodnangle Scrulp says:

    Matt Smith is a good doctor, my problem is with the people writing the stories. Too much magic! Not enough science! Too much handwavium!

    I know that classic Who was never that successful with internally consistent logic, but at least it tried sometimes.

    Doctor Who shoud be sci-fi, not fantasy, and that’s what the show has descended into in the last couple of seasons.

    Is this the spirit of the age?

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      Hidden_7 says:

      What I would love is just one or two episodes where there aren’t aliens afoot. Why can we never go into a historical time and have the only actors at work be humans? Why do there always have to be secret alien plots? Just one episode where mystery is a bit more mundane. You’ve got a time machine. You are doing time travel. The premise is already magical enough, you don’t need to spice it up so much that all you can taste is a mouthful of spice with the consistency of some, I dunno meat maybe? Whatever it was you were spicing.

    • Lukasz says:

      One or two episodes would be cool if done right. Question is why should Doctor interfere then?
      We did have one episode like that, strictly speaking, let’s kill hitler was human only episode with one alien hybrid.

    • Buttless Boy says:

      The last couple of seasons? So the giant steam-powered robot doesn’t count? Or what about the zipper-headed fart creatures that explode on contact with vinegar?

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling the last two perfect in terms of hard sci-fi (something I don’t give the tiniest fuck about), but it’s been this way since the reboot at the very least, and honestly it’s always been this way.

    • Wulf says:

      Genre confusion!

      Yeah, Doctor Who was never Science-Fiction at any point. Not ever. It was a madman in an impossible blue box. It’s always been. Even that it’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside invites magic and wonder. So that’s how it is.

      Thus the genre we’re looking for here is actually Science-Fantasy, not Science-Fiction.

      Have a gander at this, I promise it’ll help. What you have to understand is that Science-Fantasy is fantasy but with an overlay of science to provide some flavour and variety. Comic books sit in the same realm as Who, Invincible is Science-Fantasy, so is The Astounding Wolfman, Super Dinosaur–yes, I read a lot of Kirkman–and Atomic Robo! All of these are Science-Fantasy.

      There’s some grounding in Science, but it’s gone so far beyond soft science that it is just hokum which is dressed up in technobabble with flashing lights and steampunk time travel boxes which are bigger on the inside than they are on the outside. When you get to that point, Science-Fiction goes out the window as a genre and Science-Fantasy enters in, with all of its wonderful, bombastic flair.

      If you want Science-Fiction then Doctor Who isn’t the place to look. If you want hard Sci-Fi then you want Iain M. Banks, not Who. You can’t change Who either. Who has always been Science-Fantasy. It was Science-Fantasy in the very first season, and I’ve watched all of it. I’ve watched so much, and I’ve also read so many of the bloody books and comics too that it’s not even funny.

      See, Science-Fantasy is my genre, it’s where my heart lies. I’m so excited about Guild Wars 2 becaue that’s Science-Fantasy as well. Science-Fantasy is a glorious thing. Sure, it involves magic wands dressed up as gizmos of technological wonder, but… so? So?

      Can’t we just let Science-Fantasy be Science-Fantasy?

      There are plenty of shows out there which lean more toward Science-Fiction. May I suggest Stargate Universe as an alternative? But really, Science-Fantasy is old, but it feels young, it’s never been given a proper shake outside of niche sources, and Doctor Who is one of those.

      Doctor Who will always be made of handwavium and plotholium, but that’s part and parcel of what makes it so bloody glorious in the first place.

    • The Colonel says:

      “Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible (or at least non-supernatural) content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities.” (Wikipedia)

      An alien has a time-machine which uses futuristic science and technology to travel through space. It qualifies as science-fiction in my book.

    • Wulf says:

      @The Colonel

      Sigh.

      Could you at least click the link? Could you? I’d appreciate it ever so much.

      Yes, I know what Science-Fiction is, but you don’t know what Science-Fantasy is, or how you make the distinction between them. One of the tenets of Science-Fantasy is taking magic and dressing it up to pretend like it’s Science-Fiction. Now, let that percolate in your head along with the likes of the TARDIS, the sonic screwdriver, and how the various alien races work.

      It’s Science-Fantasy, guy. I know my genres.

  11. Cueball says:

    Ah. So that’s what you people do for Christmas. ;)

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    phuzz says:

    Isn’t iPlayer coming to Xbox in the spring though? They’re definitely getting all the other UK telly online thingys like 4OD.

  13. Nickiepoo says:

    I can personally confirm that several members of the team that make the VFX for Doctor Who (MillTV) also read Rock Paper Shotgun.

    Look forward to that special, you helped keep us sane while making it.

    • Dismus says:

      The Eternity Clock team do as well, but only because we’re hopeless Rab Florence fanboys/girls.

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    Big Murray says:

    Is these Who games still being made by the chaps behind the new Broken Sword games?

  15. Syra says:

    Yeah bbc hate microsoft over the licence fees stuff. iPlayer is finally making it to xbox soon but I suppose the same legal haranguing will be necessary again for games et al.

  16. Wulf says:

    Hokay, who’s been rewriting the records of the Eternity Clock so that reality has to ape them, thus creating favourable results for whomever is responsible?

    If the plot isn’t that, I’d be a little surprised.

    Anyway, good to see more Doctor Who games. The free ones weren’t too awful and actually improved over time, but I’d love to see a fully fledged thing set in that Universe. I mean, really, imagine what you could do with the TARDIS in a game engine. I see no reason why the TARDIS couldn’t even have an Escher Room.

    “Just leave the control room through that door, take a left about seven miles down Hooft St and there you are!”

    —EDIT—

    Wait, people on the dev team are reading this?

    ESCHER ROOM, damn you! You know it needs to be done and I will be sorely disappointed if you don’t manage it just because your engine can’t handle it. The Doctor needs an Escher Room, somewhere he goes to think when reality just doesn’t make sense. Where cardinal directions don’t even matter.

    • Buttless Boy says:

      There should be a game set ENTIRELY in the TARDIS. I’m imagining a point-and-click adventure starring some poor dope who wandered in when the TARDIS was accidentally left open.

    • jamesgecko says:

      Either that, or the race of robots who want to destroy the eternity clock so that reality never happens.

  17. Wulf says:

    Who has always been about being wilfully ridiculous. I suppose you’ll either get that or you won’t. This is one of the tenets of Science-Fantasy (see below). It’s not a super serious, stone-faced Science-Fiction drama. It was never, ever meant to be. It’s mostly meant for the kids, after all.

    Frankly, I think the kids get better entertainment than we do, half of the time. And it’s generally more intelligent, too. Lucky buggers.

  18. Merus says:

    The eternal paradox of Doctor Who: when it works, it soars in a way even Star Trek couldn’t hope to touch. When it doesn’t, it’s really quite lame.