Now where was I? Oh that's right!
Last time I talked about what I think would be the best gameplay for a Doctor Who RPG, and now it’s time to discuss the potential story that could drive you in this mind bending trip through time and space.
Generally this has been in the form of little nods to the classic series; many of which only long term Whovians will understand. In many ways these attempts have provided suitable homages to the show in their own way, and I must say that while playing the likes of ‘The Eternity Clock’ it is fun to see how many mentions there are to the old series. On the other hand, all of these gaming attempts have focused on creating a story around the current Doctor. Personally I don’t mind this too much. I have been a big fan of Matt Smith and his tenure as the Eleventh Doctor; however the nature of the show means that not everyone feels the same way. What is needed is a story that will appeal to all fans, and not just those who follow a particular regeneration.
'I am the Doctor! The original, you might say!'
As a young man, set before the series even began the player would get to create their own Doctor without infringing on the current events in the show. The background of the character has always been something of a mystery and within the confines of the series this will likely remain the case for a long time to come. I can picture an event having occurred in the Doctor’s early days that helped give him an insight into his future. While gazing into the depths of Time and Space at an early age for example, the Doctor could have seen his potential future laid out before him with possibilities we know from the show, as well as the altered events we see in the game. This would be great for the game because it means that we would be able to see events and places from the classic series as well as the new. Imagine being able to look around areas which had a decidedly sixties, retro look about them.
Fortunately for this there is more than enough room in any story for a time paradox or two that may help to explain how the player’s Doctor may come into contact with the characters established in the show. I’d like to think that by the end of the game there would be one or two multiple-Doctor missions to play through, where your Time Lord could speak with and get advice from the incarnations we know best; even if it’s just tips on bad fashion. Regardless this would be an excellent opportunity to bring all of the living Doctor Who actors together and record their characters playing their respective incarnations once more. Clearly whatever kind of paradox selected would need to explain the differences between the show and the game, but this is simple to accomplish with the knowledge that we are dealing with a universe where almost anything is permitted. In this case, it would probably be some kind of universe shattering, temporal event that splits the timeline into different pieces and opening the Doctor up to all kinds of scenarios where he is faced with the road not taken.
'Time can be rewritten.'
Personally, I would love to see an aspect of the game which lets you explore the characters darker side. For example, if the Doctor is faced with his own mortality, would he slowly become similar to his great nemesis, the Master?
'I will always remember when the Doctor was me.'
Clearly you would also not be able to live through your Doctor’s lifespan of well over a thousand years. This then might require the use of the story to explain how your alternate Doctor may be using up his lives a hell of a lot faster than his TV counterpart, or perhaps alternatively you would simply be jumping from place to place in an episodic fashion. Personally I dislike this latter option as it creates a much more linear universe then what the game should be.
Like any good RPG, the game would also require a great many sub-quests to keep you occupied. The nature and length of these missions would have a deep effect on how immersive the final game could be. would like to see at least some of these based on classic episodes, that may take us to locations such as the Dalek world, Skaro; or Earth's own UNIT headquarters.
Another thing to consider is to perhaps take a big risk and give the player the option of making the Doctor a woman? I know this is a subject that frequently divides the internet; but if the story is dealing with an alternate Doctor then I don’t see the harm. It would honestly make for an interesting dynamic to see a female Doctor, who can mimic some of the adventures we have seen in the past.
In any event, a Doctor Who game will always be something that is difficult to get right.
With a universe that is fifty years old, and still going strong it would be tough for anyone to build an experience that suitably captures the childlike joy fans get when watching the show. Hopefully one on this kind of a scale shall come about, but until then I will continue to dream of that groaning TARDIS engine announcing itself outside of my door.
'Where do you want to start?'
Now it's time to tell us what you think. What would you want in a Doctor Who game for it to satisfy the Whovian inside you?
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