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Editorial: Eternity Clock Sequels Cancelled

Sad news for fans of Doctor Who videogames – BBC Worldwide has confirmed that plans to release content updates and sequels to The Eternity Clock have been cancelled…

Combining some stunning graphics never before attempted in a Doctor Who videogame with the ability to swap characters between the Doctor and River Song (Matt Smith and Alex Kingston recorded dialogue for the game) and the now-traditional “puzzle” element – not forgetting some platform leaping and jumping – The Eternity Clock is the latest in a long line of attempts to make a family-friendly digital gaming experience.

Speaking to Digital Spy at the Games Developer Conference, Executive Vice President of Digital Entertainment and Games Robert Nashak confirmed that a sequel was not currently under development.

We’re keeping it as an option moving forward, but we want to see where with Doctor Who we can reach the fans best.

On console is interesting, because console fans really love the game, but the expectations are for a lot of the development spent on console. So we’re trying to figure out what is the best route for reaching Doctor Who fans with really, really great content.”

We love the storyline we developed there, we love the feel of that game, and so we’re definitely thinking about it for the future, but there is nothing in the plans right now.”

Doctor Who videogames produced by BBC Worldwide have proven to be notoriously poor over the years, despite a clear desire among fans. It’s probably fair to say that Doctor Who: The Adventure Games have been the most successful, and this also-cancelled series was not without its problems and critics.

(Via Digital Spy)

Kasterborous Editor Christian Cawley Says…

This is a topic that is close to my heart. I’ve been playing Doctor Who games since the 1980s; our second edition of Kasterborous Magazine is already planned to heavily feature Doctor Who videogames. Additionally, my day job involves a lot of game play, reviewing and occasionally beta testing, and I have a strong desire to see a Doctor Who game that does more than tick the boxes of a shopping list.

I remain incredulous at how this very simple idea – of a time travelling adventure game – can repeatedly fail to hit the right notes again, and again, and again.

Everyone has an opinion on how a Doctor Who video game can be “done right”. Of course, for “done right” we should probably accept that this term describes a position somewhere between “true to the series’ ethos” and the ground occupied in the various Doctor Who table-top roleplaying games that have been released over the years.

Simply put, people want to play as the Doctor or other key characters and Time Lords. While the companion might be the viewer’s cipher in many ways, so many fans identify with or aspire to be like the Doctor that it makes the RPG approach increasingly obvious.

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Take Star Wars: Galaxies or Star Wars: The Old Republic as starting points. While these Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) suffer from some fan dissatisfaction in the gaming mechanics, the in-game worlds are consistent, engaging and most importantly allow players to become Jedi, Sith, bounty hunters, smugglers – all of the familiar and popular characters from George Lucas’ sprawling universe.

Alternatively, a Doctor Who real-time strategy (RTS) title might be the way forward. Am I alone in wanting to watch legions of Daleks fighting Sontarans on a planet by planet basis, or in dispatching Time Lord bow-ships and war TARDISes into action as part of the Time War? Disengaging from the character of the Doctor and taking a look into the deep, infinite reaches of the Whoniverse isn’t such a bad idea, is it?

Meanwhile there is one other key idea for a Doctor Who game which is almost achieved in The Eternity Clock, that of taking command of one of the Doctor’s more militarily minded companions (the Brigadier, Ace, Captain Jack or River Song) and sending them on an FPS mission of high danger, perhaps in a post-Dalek invasion Earth, battling Daleks, Robomen and turncoats, borrowing tropes from other post-apocalyptic titles such as Half Life 2 or Left for Dead while maintaining a strong narrative and giving John Barrowman some much-needed (!) work.

Now, these ideas didn’t take long to come to me – mainly because most of them have already been done by modders, people who create custom graphics and levels for existing games. Sadly BBC Worldwide have been waging way on these people instead of embracing their creativity, shutting down their projects while lumbering developer partners with games that are ultimately unsatisfactory. Are SUMO Interactive and Supermassive Games poor developers?

No, they’re not. There is only one common denominator between these projects, and those for the Nintendo Wii and DS, and that is BBC Worldwide.

Time for a change of tactic.



Christian Cawley

About

A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.


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