Doctor Who: The Adventure Games has crashed.
It has failed to load, lagged, suffered from massive frame drops and finally been given the red ring of death by the BBC who have announced they’re to shelve the gaming series to concentrate on other Doctor Who gaming projects.
Sounding a lot like a distracted gamer attempting to play and maintain a tenuous: ‘Yeah, I’m listening’ grip on reality Executive Producer Simon Harris has promised that there will be other Doctor Who gaming adventures, just not right now, maybe later – okay?
“Obviously we’ve got the browser-based MMO Doctor Who: Worlds In Time, we have other plans for other platforms and formats and we’ll be announcing those.
“But right now The Adventure Games have done a great job, and they’ve been done, we’re now going to move forward with the The Eternity Clock and we’ll continue to develop those plans as we go ahead.”
Worried that this might mean the end of public service content from the Beeb? Concerned that the Adventure Games – who villains have included Daleks, Cybermen, Vashta Nerada and Sontarans – were nothing more than the BBC testing the market for a ‘proper’ Doctor Who game? This probably won’t help matters:
“There’s a question about now BBC Worldwide is focusing and investing in these developments, that providing audience expansion and providing something that’s going to hopefully broaden the Doctor Who audience.
“That’s something we’re going to pick up on in gaming for the foreseeable future, and the team down in Cardiff are going to concentrate on some other things – which I’ve seen some of their ideas they haven’t announced yet – but there is going to be some cool things around that to continue developing what they do around public service, around audience expansion for the UK licence payers.”
Why after the success of The Adventure Games are the BBC still insisting that gamers and Doctor Who fans (i.e the UK licence payer) are two mutually exclusive entities?
The biggest potential market isn’t those people who have never heard of Doctor Who but those who want to play a good game. It is Doctor Who fans who want to see a great game that matches their expectations of what could be achieved within this medium.
Conversely, the market for non-gaming Doctor Who fans isn’t likely to buy a console (if that’s what ‘format and platforms’ infers) just because there’s a game of their favourite show for it. Who brought a Wii just for Return to Earth?
Sure, the gaming world isn’t limited to just consoles and BBC Worldwide have a remit to explore such ventures like online and mobile games for economic viability but this is surely a publishing exclusivity issue, rather than one of development.
So instead of calling The Adventure Games an experiment and naturally dovetailing it as part of an ongoing exploration of the gaming market – the Beeb have canned it only a few months after announcing a second series of games kicking off with The Gunpowder Plot.
It hardly screams confidence in developing that side of their gaming expansion plans. If anything, it feels like the license payer is being pushed into a niche that they just don’t belong in. Again gamers and licence payers are not mutually exclusive.
It seems like the idea of developing a really good Doctor Who game has gotten lost in the idea of just developing games.
Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock which offers continuous play between PS3, PlayStation Vita and DLC, is available next month.