We sat down with BBC Worldwide's Robert Nashak at the Game Developers Conference to find out more about this upcoming free-to-play browser game.
When BBC Worldwide announced a couple weeks ago that it had partned with Three Rings to create a Doctor Who MMO, our curiosity was instantly piqued. Editor-in-Chief Darryl Gangloff wanted to get some more details, and the Game Developers Conference provided him with the perfect opportunity to discuss the game with Robert Nashak, executive vice president of digital entertainment at BBC Worldwide.
Nashak explains why they decided to make Doctor Who: Worlds in Time a free-to-play browser game and mentions that the MMO will focus more on solving puzzles than on combat. While he emphasizes that the game will contain elements of the franchise's entire history, he also confirms that their focus is on series 5 of the television show.
Keep reading after the jump for the full interview!
ZAM: Why make a Doctor Who MMO?
Robert Nashak: Great question. I came on board at BBC Worldwide a year ago and we looked at Doctor Who as one of our prime properties. It's one of the best sci-fi properties, frankly, that the world has ever seen. It's iconic, not only in the UK but around the world. What we felt like doing was to establish online the ability for fans to come together and play in the Doctor Who world. For accessibility reasons, to bring Doctor Who online so that anyone could play felt like the chance of a lifetime.
ZAM: People seem very curious about how the game's going to fit into the Doctor Who universe. What role will players fill in the game?
Nashak: What we can say about that is we're committed to really delivering to fans a very holistic Doctor Who experience, one that will be historical and look backwards as well as forward in terms of what Doctor Who has meant in terms of past series and past generations. We're very interested in all the monsters we can get into this game and all the iconography. We want you to see in this world everything that you associate with Doctor Who over time. Fans will get to experience a very retrospective look at the Doctor Who universe.
ZAM: The universe spans decades. Will it touch base on every aspect of the show, or will you focus more on the current version of the character?
Nashak: We're definitely interested in series 5 as our focus, but we're very much interested in making sure that we deliver on all the iconic Doctor Who moments from the past that people really want to play around with and expect.
ZAM: I believe in the announcement it was stated that players will be helping the Time Lord in the game. So players won't be playing a Time Lord?
Nashak: You don't play a Time Lord. You don't play Doctor Who. We wanted Doctor Who to be present with you at all times and be visible. You will be assisting Doctor Who on many different missions.
ZAM: The development team of the game is Three Rings, which is known for games like Puzzle Pirates. Will Doctor Who be similar? Will it be a social networking type of game?
Nashak: It will be a free-to-play style. It will be browser-based. Again, we're focusing on accessibility. We find that Doctor Who fans really vary. I was recently in London and we have a theme park we just opened called the Doctor Who Experience. I was walking around and noticing the sheer variety of fans. There were young kids, there were older people; it's an enormous range of people who love Doctor Who around the world. We felt we needed to be browser-based because we didn't want any hurdles to enter this world. We certainly wanted to be free-to-play because we wanted everyone to be able to play and get involved in the universe. That was the first thing we decided.
We went with Three Rings because they're really experts in that area. They understand how to do browser-based MMOs really well. I must say, since we've made the announcement I've received well over 50 e-mails saying we picked exactly the right group. I think Daniel James, the CEO, is an utter genius. He's a total Doctor Who fan, as is his team. In fact, we brought them over to Cardiff, where we shoot Doctor Who, and he just won them over because of his understanding and knowledge of the Doctor Who world and his understanding of how to bring that into the gaming environment in a compelling way.
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