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article imageDoctor Who goes interactive as BBC announces downloadable games

By Andrew John     Apr 8, 2010 in Internet
The world’s longest-running science-fiction show, Doctor Who, is going interactive, with the announcement by the BBC of four new episodes that will take the form of computer games.
The Doctor Who News Page reports that the BBC has announced the production of four new interactive episodes of Doctor Who, which will be available from the official website. The interactive computer games will be available for both PC and Mac, and players will assume control of the Doctor (currently being played by Matt Smith) and Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) as they embark on new adventures that complement the new TV series, which began last Saturday with the Eleventh Hour.
“The games have been produced by a team drawing on the very best talent from TV and gaming,” says the website. “The interactive episodes are executive-produced by [current Doctor Who supremo] Steven Moffat, Piers Wenger, Beth Willis and Anwen Aspden from BBC Wales Interactive, alongside Charles Cecil, one of videogaming’s most revered creators.”
The UK game designer firm Sumo Digital is developing the games, and stories and scripts are by Phil Ford, who co-wrote with the show’s former supremo Russell T. Davies the Doctor Who 2009 special The Waters of Mars (starring David Tennant and Lindsay Duncan), and James Moran, who wrote the Series 4 story The Fires of Pompeii (starring Tennant, Catherine Tate and Peter Capaldi) and has written for who spin-off Torchwood, starring John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness.
The project has been commissioned for BBC Online by the corporation’s Vision Multiplatform team, headed up by Simon Nelson, and is being driven by BBC Wales Interactive.
Matt Smith and Karen Gillan have been digitally recreated in the games, and have provided full voiceovers. The music has been provided by TV series’ composer, Murray Gold. Original characters and some classic enemies will be provided by additional cast.
Steven Moffat says: “Children don’t just watch Doctor Who: they join in. They make up games, invent their monsters, create their own stories. Now, there’s something else – now, they can be the Doctor in brand-new episodes.
“By developing these games alongside the new TV series, we’ve been able to weave exciting narrative strands with the very finest game design to create a new kind of Doctor Who, which can be enjoyed by the whole family.”
Piers Wenger, executive producer of Doctor Who and head of drama at BBC Wales, which makes the show, added: “There aren’t 13 episodes of Doctor Who this year: there are 17, four of which are interactive. Everything you see and experience within the game is part of the Doctor Who universe. We’ll be taking you to places you’ve only ever dreamed about seeing – including locations impossible to create on television.”
The head of BBC Vision Multiplatform, Simon Nelson, said: “A few years ago, we couldn’t have dreamt of commissioning such an innovative form of drama. By integrating the creation of these ‘interactive episodes’ with the development of the TV series, we’ve been able to create amazing two-hour dramas, in which you control the action. We’ve all imagined what it would be like to come face to face with some of the universe’s most terrifying monsters – now, viewers can find out for themselves.
“Establishing new forms of drama is exactly what the BBC should be doing. By aiming these ‘interactive episodes’ at the broad audience of the TV show – unique in British television, in that it encompasses at least three generations – we’re aiming to encourage the family to gather round the PC or Mac in the same way they do the television. Driving computer literacy is a keystone of the BBC’s public service remit and we expect Doctor Who – The Adventure Games to be hugely popular in the homes of Britain this year.
“Only the BBC could produce such an innovative slice of new drama. We’re offering two-hour original Doctor Who episodes to production standards on a par with the TV series, working with the very best creatives within the UK. We’re hugely proud of Doctor Who – The Adventure Games, which will establish new standards in interactive drama and allow families the country over to enjoy Doctor Who stories in unique and innovative ways.”
Anwen Aspden, executive producer at BBC Wales Online, adds: “Doctor Who – The Adventure Games will offer the chance for Doctor Who fans to visit places they’ve only dreamed of, facing off against monsters they’ve previously had to imagine. Players will visit places which have never been shown on television – and these will go on to define the look and feel of future TV episodes.”
Producers are keeping secret the exact titles of the four episodes, but one location in the games will be taken from the Doctor Who series, and has not so far been seen on screen.
Who and game enthusiasts will have to wait till June this year for their first download. Its title will be revealed at a special press event on April 21 in Sheffield, Yorkshire.
More about Doctor Who, Matt smith, Eleventh hour, Lindsay duncan, Karen gillan
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