We chat to Doctor Who’s executive producer about what to expect from the free-to-play multiplayer game and a brief hope that The Fades might not be fading away just yet…
Doctor Who Worlds In Time is available toplay right now at www.worldsintime.com
SFX: As executive producer you’re the guardian of Doctor Who as a brand – how do you ensure that external companies like Three Rings when they were making Worlds In Time stay true to Doctor Who?
Caroline Skinner: “That’s one of the most important things, I think. The thing that I’m really excited about with this game is that it does a really brilliant job of bringing a lot of the magic of Doctor Who into a completely different platform for the fans. I’ve been working on the show for about six months now, but the game has been well over one and a half years in the making and so my predecessors Pierce [Wenger] and Beth [Willis] and members of the production team have been working in a very hand-in-hand way with the gaming team and the BBC Worldwide developers to make sure every storyline, every detail, every monster and the tone and the essence of the game feel as if they’re as Doctor Who as they possibly can be. We have regular catch-up meetings and one of the Doctor Who script editors, Gary Russell, who’s been working on the show for years and years so he’s absolutely steeped in every little detail of Doctor Who, has been across all of the development of the project. I feel really confident it and the show are tied very closely together.
How much time do you spend on the game day-to-day, compared to say the TV show or the live events?
“It depends on the day. Most of my days involve running from one meeting about the show, to a meeting about a live event, to a meeting about the game and desperately trying to fit them all in. I think that’s one of the most exciting things about working on this show, it’s such a huge phenomenon. Last week I was in Melbourne with the symphonic spectacular, which we took over there and that was a wonderful event. Obviously my number one priority is to make the television show with Steven and make it as well as we possibly can do, and we’re starting filming this week, so I think from then it’s going to take the majority of my time.”
How important are videogames to the growth of Doctor Who?
“I think that this game in particular feels very exciting. The fact that it is an MMO game and it’s allowing that kind multiplayer interactivity in a really accessible way for the fans, I hope that it’s an exciting new engagement point for everybody. It feels to me as if it’s a very exciting and organic platform to be taking the Doctor Who narrative to. I love the idea you can join just to play a game or solve a puzzle, or you can spend a huge amount of time on there and interact with your friends and other fans.”
It’s got a very distinctive art style, what was the thinking behind the more cartoony look?
“I hope it says that it’s a whole lot of fun. I absolutely love the avatars and the characters. I’m particularly fond of the little Silurians. I think it’s a really entertaining, fun and highly spirited atmosphere that they’ve created. The adventures you can go on are ever so slightly heightened and epic and I hope the graphics highlight that and run with that rollercoaster spirit that you get from Doctor Who the series. They’re bringing in Skaro soon and I remember first seeing it and the inner fan in me thinking. ‘Wow, that looks cool!’ It’s a whole lot of fun, but it’s also the kind of game that you could imagine you’re going to play for about 15 minutes and solve one of the fairly small puzzle elements and you suddenly find you’re still there two hours later, running round the worlds”
The Zygons are in it! Is this a hint they’re going to be returning to the show anytime soon?
[Laughs] “Wait and see.”
How much does the game delve into Who history?
“It’s a bit of both. In terms of the characters and the worlds that are featured, a lot of it is steeped in the recent series because we want the look and the feel of it to be as relevant and contemporary to the fans as possible. But certainly the underlying mythology and the kind of adventures you can find yourself engaging in on this game are absolutely steeped in everything that’s Doctor Who and authentic. There’s lot of little details in there for the fans go and discover.”
Will there be any direct overlap between any of the games and the series?
“The two are always going to work hand-in-hand. That’s one of the things that’s so exciting about me being able to be across this and making sure, particularly in terms of the spirit of what we’re doing with the game. It feels as if it’s absolutely another platform for telling stories about Doctor Who. In terms of very specific story details, probably not. But the game’s going to be going for a very long time and I think that it will evolve and change and absorb storylines as and when we feel like we want to add new worlds in. We’ve just added Skaro in, who knows what the next one will be.”