|Brad Cook Examines The Doctor Who Adventure Games|
July 21, 2011 | IMG News
Step Into the Police Box For Doctor Who: The Adventure Gamesby Brad Cook
London, 1963. A watershed year in rock ‘n’ roll history. You can’t blame Doctor Who and his assistant, Amy Pond, for wanting to visit the early days of The Beatles, among many other British Invasion bands.
The Doctor sets the controls of his TARDIS time machine, and off they go. But what the pair discovers when they step out of the police box shocks them: a ruined city, courtesy of “something with the power to alter time on a massive scale,” according to the Doctor. A lone figure runs among the rubble, headed for what looks like a detonator, and our heroes discover the source of the catastrophe: the infamous Daleks.
A Dalek’s mechanical voice rings out. “The last survivor of Earth will be exterminated!” And thus begins Doctor Who’s latest grand adventure.
Lead With Your Top Villain
“How could the Daleks not be included?” asks Sean Millard, creative evangelist with developer Sumo Digital. “Their popularity and iconic status demands their presence, especially as the big bang to launch the game. And their redesign for the new TV series is an important moment in Doctor Who’s timeline that needed to be commemorated beyond the TV episodes.”
He adds: “Perhaps most importantly, though, Phil Ford knew that he had a Dalek story to tell, and he certainly told it.”
Ford and fellow scribe James Moran, who have both contributed scripts to the latest incarnation of the Doctor Who TV series, wrote all four episodes in Doctor Who: The Adventure Games. The crossover didn’t end there, according to Millard: “The development team worked very closely with the production team at the BBC to ensure that the games’ storylines seamlessly melded with the TV series continuity. They’re designed to run alongside the TV series’ storyline, but are standalone adventures that do not directly affect the current TV story arc.”
Keeping it Consistent
Millard continues: “All tiers of the BBC production staff were involved to some extent in the game design, from executive production members ensuring that The Adventure Games were ‘on brand’ in terms of the TV series’ aesthetic and storytelling goals, to set designers reconstructing the new TARDIS control room to accommodate the game designers’ desires.”
The coordination didn’t end there, as Millard notes: “The Keeper of the Keys to the Whoniverse is [current TV series executive producer and lead writer] Steve Moffat. He has been involved with the game from the initial pitch, through story and concept approvals to playing the game and giving us feedback. He understands game language as well as being one of the UK’s great storytellers. His involvement has been indispensable.”
Top to Bottom
The Adventure Games’ first episode, City of the Daleks, takes Doctor Who and Amy from a ruined 1963 London to the villains’ home world, Skaro, which Millard says has been, “for the first time, properly visualized beyond a film set in a rocky quarry.” Thanks to the ability of a videogame to take you anywhere, Millard promises that future episodes will take players “literally from the top of the world to the very bottom of it.”
He adds: “We had a preferred list of enemies to use and, of course, narratively, the exploration of the relationship between the Doctor and Amy was always high on our list of priorities. We wanted to tell stories that really felt like the genuine article — not in addition to, but as a seamless part of the ongoing TV series.”