A Journey in Time and Space

A call for a proper Doctor Who game on Wii U.

By Michael Contino. Posted 09/14/2012 14:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

The Doctor and Amy Pond

Hello, I’m the Doct… Sorry! That was just too good to resist! Blimey!

Okay, in our universe exists a television series that stretches over the entirety of time and space: Doctor Who. With Wii U only a few months from launching worldwide and seventh series of Doctor Who in full swing, I thought why not brainstorm a next-gen game based on the immensely-popular TV show. Before I get into that, here’s a brief introduction to all the wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey… stuff for newcomers who’ve been hiding in the dark with the Vashta Nerada!

As you may have gathered, Doctor Who is a science fiction television show that has been on the air since the early 1960s. Following a reboot in 2005, the British serial has been growing stronger and stronger over the past six series, making actors like David Tennant and Matt Smith household names. The show follows the time-travelling adventures of a man simply known as The Doctor who comes from a race known as the Time Lords, the watchful eyes over all of time and space. He gets about thanks to his trusty TARDIS (which stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space), a blue 1960s police box that’s bigger on the inside than the outside– imagine walking into your closet and finding a library, or even a swimming pool lurking in its depths. He also has a rather handy ability to regenerate whenever he gets dealt a fatal blow, allowing him to change his face and personality (and actor) while essentially remaining the same man. This madman with a box also prefers to travel with at least one companion and has been known to dabble in love with the likes of Rose Tyler and River Song.

But this wouldn’t be the first time that The Doctor’s dabbled in video games either, as the TARDIS landed on Wii twice in 2008’s Top Trumps: Doctor Who, a card game, and 2010’s Doctor Who: Return to Earth, an adventure game. He’s also been spotted more recently on other consoles in Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock, supposedly the “first mature Who video game”, as well as on the iPhone, but it’s pretty safe to say that all of them have been pretty weak interpretations of the franchise.

In Return to Earth, for instance, you had to run across different areas of a spaceship as the Doctor and Amy, solving puzzles and going up against Cybermen and Daleks. The game’s graphics are nowhere near what they should be on a home console in 2010, and it was also riddled with technical issues. Likewise, if the BBC were going to release another Top Trumps-style game in the future, it would be far better suited for limited release on a platform such as 3DS where virtual card players could pick one of several categories on a card featuring popular Doctor Who heroes and monsters alike, and hope it beats out that same category on the opposition’s card.

Despite their shortcomings, though, several of these games have only been released in Europe and Australia, but with the show recently telling stories from the American west and New York City, a US launch for a Wii U game would be a no-brainer. As for what a potential Wii U game might entail, I think Whovians deserve an experience like a highly (and I mean astronomically)-refined version of Return to Earth.

For example, The Doctor may be seen as a predator to many of his enemies, but the man abhors violence, and that’s why the plot of a Doctor Who game could bode well when tailored around secondary characters in the Whoniverse, specifically UNIT. UNIT, or UNified Intelligence Taskforce, is a part of the military that has been known to cross paths with the Doctor. A story I came up with has the Doctor being attacked by The Silence (villains from the sixth series) again. Learning of the Doctor’s survival, The Silence devise a plan to wipe the Time Lord’s memories completely in order to stop him from interfering in their plans ever again. The player would then play as a member of UNIT who’s out to find the Doctor’s old companions in order to preserve his memory and ultimately save him, à la Amy Pond’s rescue at the conclusion of fifth series. Fan favorites Mickey Smith, Martha Jones, Captain Jack, and many more, would return to help an old friend.

Captain Jack
Captain Jack to the rescue!

The point of view would be similar to that of Return to Earth but the game would be half third-person-shooter, half exploration. As a member of UNIT, firearms would be used to fight Daleks, Cybermen, and The Silence, among many others. As a companion, the player would need to use special skills they learned from their adventures with the Doctor. The companions’ companion, though, would, of course, be your timey-wimey Wii U GamePad. It could easily be a monitor inside the current TARDIS, or even a handy touchscreen device similar to what we’ll be seeing with Batman’s new armored suit in Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition. It may be a long shot, but Nintendo could also create a Doctor Who bundle with the Sonic Screwdriver Wii Remote, and you could either point it at the screen or the GamePad at key points in each exploratory mission would unlock doors, translate alien languages and do everything you’ve seen The Doctor do on TV.

Graphics are not the be-all and end-all of video games, naturally, but with Wii U’s power, I’d hope that a new Doctor Who game would look much better than The Eternity Clock with its Unreal Engine 3. Most importantly, though, The Doctor’s persona screams Nintendo with his kid-friendly demeanor. He couldn’t be more suited to a Nintendo console if he tried, so make it happen BBC. Make it happen.

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