My Time Lord: Doctor Who MMO Announced

They're doing what now?

Because Doctor Who is a thing that exists, and because there is an internet with games on it, there is going to be a free-to-play Doctor Who MMO. The BBC’s commercial arm (which is about to be lopped off in sacrifice to the mad god Cameron), BBC Worldwide, has announced that further to their pretty poor third-person action-adventure game things, there will be a massively multiplayer game based on the license. To be developed by indie team Three Rings (Puzzle Pirates), it’s called Doctor Who: Worlds In Time, and is due out some time later this year.

It doesn’t seem an enormously natural fit to take a TV programme that’s about, at most, three people saving the universe, and then dilute that down to the unwashed masses. Will the Doctor have decided that he doesn’t get to smooch enough people and taken on thousands of assistants to snog his way through? Or will it turn out that actually there’s loads of Time Lords still alive, and we’ll all be off meddling with the continuum? No answers to my questions are available just yet, beyond that we will,

“follow in the footsteps of the eccentric and brilliant Doctor by travelling through time and space, exploring new worlds and encountering many alien races, both friend and foe.”

And indeed that we will “enter the TARDIS”. I’m not sure how that will work, masses of players all trying to fit into that one tiny telephone box… HANG ON. We will be set a challenge by the good Doctor, to help him defend civilised culture against “infamous Doctor Who enemies”. Who’s to say who’s civilised? How rude. The Daleks may shout a lot, but they seem pretty cultured.

So far what we know about the game itself is that we’ll,

“solve time-bending puzzles and pulse-pounding challenges”

according to BBC Worldwide man Robert Nashak. Fortunately they’re not developing it to deliberately be no fun at all, according to the press release.

“Doctor Who: Worlds in Time is developed to be both highly engaging and fun, allowing players to socialize and foster genuine cooperation, building a global community where fans worldwide will now be able to experience firsthand the exciting action and adventure synonymous with Doctor Who.”

There’s no word on whether Steven Moffat will be involved in the story, nor indeed if any Who stalwarts are on board to keep things in canon. Imagine if the Gargorthons met the Pixen! I mean, that would totally mean the Planet Of Gradd would never have escaped from the Ice Death in Praxia Prime VII, meaning that the Doctor would have been trapped for eternity in the Ring Of Ipeptide! Who’s keeping an eye on this?!


  1. The_B says:

    I tried to keep an eye on this, but it was the Eye of the Time Vortex and NOW ALL I CAN HEAR IS DRUMS IN MY HEAD AND ARRGGHH.

    • Zuzela says:

      I signed up just to say that you’re my new hero.

      *high five for epic reference*

    • Urael says:

      Oh please. That revamped Master was the worst thing about Russell Davies’ run on Doctor Who, and that’s saying something. From amazing old man to INCREDIBLY ANNOYING SHOUTY YOOF in a single, effortless bound. I haven’t seen a knee-capping that bad since the Voyager crew befriended Species 8462. Mind you, I suppose Simm’s florid over-performance was only to balance the INCREDIBLY ANNOYING SHOUTY-SQUEEEE Tennant.

      Arrrrrrgh. Now see what you’ve done. Tension headache’s back. Graarg.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      You’re literally the only human on the whole known Internet to mention that Species 8462. Please provide a link.
      Also, why is it that so many ST fanboys prefer the most mind-numbingly boring and bad ST series, while hating the interesting and exciting ones?
      TOS was really crappy, with mostly just default “planet” props and humans in different clothes (clearly must be aliens then!) and more hair.
      DS9 was a snore-fest par excellence. I literally fell asleep at the intro music once. Nothing freaking happened on that boring fixed station. It was like a sitcom in space. Without the sexual/flirting content.
      But Voyager was at least actually reaching new frontiers, with something unusual happening, and sometimes aliens being *non-human*. The first ST to do so since TNG. (TNG was the best of them, of course.)
      And Enterprise… Do you know how long I waited for the first species with different atmospheric conditions to appear on ST?? Let alone Vorlons from Babylon 5, with their living ships that eat you if you stand too close. Now THAT was interesting and cool! And you backwards losers hate it so much it gets canceled. FAIL!
      In the end, everything paled to Babylon 5 anyway. Which still was weak and lame compared to actual imagination. (But I have very high standards compared to most other people.)

      P.S.: I never excuse for being angry because of the following things: Stupidity, ignorance, and fear of the new.

    • roasty says:

      I would guess he intended Species 8472. How I remembered the correct 3rd digit baffles me.

  2. Mr_Day says:

    Fantasy: You play a time agent with a vortex manipulator who can go on quests to time periods of a set number of planets under threat from internal and external bads.

    Fact: You play a character who walks from puzzle to puzzle in a set linear progression whilst a general channel shouts “anyone found Mankrik’s wife” because they think that is still funny. The puzzles end with Matt Smith sorting it out for you whilst Amy watches.

    Here’s hoping I am wrong, eh?

  3. Inigo says:

    Oh dear.

  4. donmilliken says:

    Can I play as a Dalek? If I can’t play as a Dalek then I don’t care.

    • Saul says:

      This is a good point. Make all the players be the Doctor’s enemies, and you have a game.

  5. Meat Circus says:


  6. Torgen says:

    Glad to see that John used an image of the One True Doctor for this article. ;)

  7. JibbSmart says:

    Wow. It’s so, so sad that it’s going to be complete rubbish.

    • Dominic White says:

      Puzzle Pirates was, actually, rather brilliant. One of the few truly original, genre-bending MMOs out there. If there’s any developer that could do this concept justice, it’s Three Rings.

    • JibbSmart says:

      That gives me some confidence, but the very fact that it’s a game tie-in to something that’s otherwise brilliant leaves me doubting. And I generally don’t like MMOs.

  8. westyfield says:

    This is semi-relevant, but more than that it’s funny.
    link to

  9. Minim says:

    The fun part is if everyone plays as Time Lords, every time you die you have to go back to the character generation screen and make a new face.

    The downside is every time you come to an old locked door, you have to go back in time to find the key, then hide it under a rock and jump forward again and take the key out from under the rock.

  10. karry says:

    “Doctor Who: Worlds in Time is developed to be both highly engaging and fun”

    Its Doctor Who. Its only engaging and fun for people born in last century’s 20’s.

  11. timmyvos says:

    I have a MMO now. MMO’s are cool.

  12. AlexW says:

    So, much like WoW:Cataclysm, if you see the Doctor approaching you run your ass off and hope you don’t die a horrible death from whatever he’s trying to stop.

  13. Hoaxfish says:

    “I’m not sure how that will work, masses of players all trying to fit into that one tiny telephone box… ”

    Instancing. Everyone gets a Tardis to themselves and one The Doctor NPC. At some point the Player will get shot, or laser-beamed, or just randomly booted from the game.

  14. DaFishes says:

    The BBC doesn’t let people run wild with their precious Doctor Who IP these days, so I don’t think you need to worry about it not being locked down to canon.

  15. Jahandar says:

    I love Doctor Who, but I don’t know if an MMO is the best game for this franchise. I think it would be better served with a Bioware-esque action-adventure game.

  16. Rath says:

    I would prefer a DarkPlace MMO. Just sayin’.

  17. kregg says:

    I haven’t watched Dr Who yet I dislike it.

    My opinion is most important, internet men!

  18. Choca says:

    It’s quite sad that screaming “[famous franchise]MMO” at investors is still enough to get funding.

  19. Keith Nemitz says:

    Finally! Daniel James can swap out his tricorn for something more modern!

  20. MadTinkerer says:

    Imagine actually going back in time and having to explain this to the original actors.

    “It’s a computer game!”

    “What? Computers can play games now? Can they play chess?”

    “Well actually this is a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game.”

    “Oh right. Well I’m sure I’ll have the technobabble memorized in time for filming. You say the episode takes place in London, 2011? What’s the plot, the Cybermen are using the ‘computer game’ to brainwash the citizens or something?”

    “No, no, this is an actual thing that is happening in the future. A Doctor Who themed computer game.”

    “But why would people want to play a Doctor Who game on punch cards instead of watching it on telly, or playing a proper board game? And who has room for a computer in their house?”

    “Er, nevermind.”

  21. Bob says:

    I’m with Torgen on this, Tom Baker was an entertaining Doctor. Did the actor who played the Doctor’s cohort from U.N.I.T. pass away recently?

    Yeah I’d play if I could be a Dalek. I could practice saying *Exterminate* every time Windows updates. :-)

    • bob_d says:

      That would be the marvelous Mr. William Nicholas Stone Courtney, who played Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, a part he played over some 43 years. He passed away several days ago.

  22. Spiny says:

    Glad to see you used a pic of The Correct Doctor.

  23. GHudston says:

    This is probably the only setting that I can think of where it would make sense to get around that problem of using a character driven IP in an MMO; i.e. that the player can never be the hero.

    Think about it, it wouldn’t be the first time that the doctor has worked with other versions of himself: just come up with a decent excuse to have each player be a version of the doctor from one of an infinite number of alternate universes and every player could be whatever character they liked AND be the doctor whilst still maintaining a sensical (by Doctor Who standards) plot.