Doctor Who: Why Telltale Games Should Make a Doctor Who Game

Feature John Saavedra 12/30/2013 at 7:58AM

The time of the Doctor has come for a new video game adventure.

We've just had to bid farewell to the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith’s portrayal of the iconic time traveler that has captured fans' hearts and rejuvenated the character for an entire generation of hipsters. The bowtie, fez, and tweed jacket of one of the most popular incarnations of the Doctor will be missed. Unfortunately, the same level of bittersweet emotion will not translate to the video game world, which saw the end of the Eleventh Doctor’s adventures way too soon.  

In 2009, a UK-based developer Sumo Digital began work on what became Doctor Who: The Adventure Games, a series of episodic games that featured the Eleventh Doctor and his companion, Amy Pond. The four episodes that made up Series 1 were released in 2010, and featured some of the most iconic villains in Doctor Who history such as the Daleks (“City of the Daleks”), the Cybermen (“Blood of the Cybermen”), and the Vashta Nerada (“Shadows of the Vashta Nerada”) in puzzle-centric adventures that served as companion pieces to the TV series.

Series 1 did well enough to justify a Series 2 in 2011. Alas, only one episode was released. “The Gunpowder Plot” featured The Doctor teaming up with the legendary Guy Fawkes to stop the Sontarans and the Rutans from destroying London.

Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock, a full-length game, was released in 2012 for PC, PS3, and PS Vita. Eternity Clock introduced River Song, the Eleventh Doctor’s romantic interest, to the gaming world. The story takes place just before the events of the Series 4 episodes “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead” where River meets her tragic end. Although the game was meant to be the first in a new series of full-length Doctor Who adventures, it failed to make a splash. There hasn’t been a new game since.

Okay, this is a no-brainer: Doctor Who works best in an episodic format, and the BBC tried to replicate this with the video games. Maybe what they need is a developer that has kicked audiences in the face time after time with compelling episodic games that leave gamers waiting months for another installment.

I’m talking about Telltale Games, of course, the master of the short-form episodic video game. The only introduction this studio needs is a few hours spent with the popular Walking Dead arcade game that shook our bones last year. Telltale has also tackled other fan favorites such as Back to the FutureFablesJurassic Park, and CSI. And in 2014, Telltale will release adventure game of adaptions of Game of Thrones and Borderlands.

So why isn’t Doctor Who on the list?

The point-and-click gameplay was basically made for this franchise. The Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us ask players to play detective so often, searching for clues across different maps, that I can already imagine The Doctor showing up on a strange new world to investigate a time loop or some other disruption in the time vortex.

I see it now: a new miniseries every year with a narrative arc much like the TV series, but less of a companion piece to it. So Telltale could go anywhere! Like the comic books, every new series could feature a different Doctor. Perhaps this is the chance the Eighth Doctor has been waiting for, or maybe we’d finally get to see the War Doctor on the battlefield. Endless possibilities – which is basically the show’s motto. Based on how popular and awesome The Day of the Doctor was, putting more than one Doctor in an episode might be a home run for Telltale.

Of course, we’d love to see a digital Peter Capaldi, as well. I have a hunch that the Twelfth Doctor will be moving away from recent wacky portrayals and entering more serious territory. A new direction might be exactly what the next video game needs. This is an opportunity to start fresh.

The point is that Doctor Who deserves to be as popular with gamers as it is with the show’s fans. Hopefully, the new era in this franchise will give us this and much more.


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And Sherlock at that, fits the formula perfectly!

Yes, an Adventure game would fit Doctor Who very well. Of course the "fans" would wreck it for everyone by whining about it. I really enjoyed those Sumo Digital games. Haven't played the PS game. An adventure game could work on PC, iPad, Android and other platforms - it would be the best fit. Problem solving instead of platforming and shooting.

If you really wanted to make a shooter, you could set it in the Doctor Who world but not include the doctor, eg: The Master, dropped into the death zone on Gallifrey. He'd be happy to shoot, shrink and trick his way past all manner of enemies.

These are FANTASTIC ideas! (pun intended)

Hmm, never thought about that!

Doctor Who suuuuuucks. It is a kids program with practical effects worthy of a 50's b movie, and storylines as intriguing as watching an infant try to stand up


It's a shame that Ecccleston won't have anything to do with Doctor Who anymore. This would be a prime opportunity to expand upon his adventures.

Even better, they could set up a dualistic storyline with him and Capaldi, in some kind of dark symmetry to how Tennant and Smith were paired in the 50th anniversary special.

that's a great idea! i think they could still use 9 if they really wanted to! just get a voice actor!

Ha! I just played through the WALKING DEAD game and had this exact thought, and then googled and found this article!

thanks for reading, Drew! doesn't it make sooooo much sense? here's to hoping!

do you mean adapt some of the tv episodes?

I was disappointed with the lack of a videogame for the 50th anniversary... I really was hoping for an Eleven Doctors (Twelve if you were to include John Hurt) type storyline, where the player played as each and every one of the Doctor's incarnations, each battling enemies that typify their era (i.e. The first Doctor would face the Daleks, the second would face the Ice Warriors, the third would face the Silurians, the fourth would face the Zygons, etc.). They would then be pulled together at the end with one overarching enemy - The Master, The Time Lords, The Daleks, The Cybermen, whatever. The old Doctors (Tom Baker in particular) would be able to make a full appearance without the mobility or action issues that comes with mixing live action and old age. Impressionists or archive recordings could be used for those no longer with us and we could see old companions in action that time has almost forgot.
Videogames are the only medium in which the history of Doctor Who can be done justice with a retrospective, whilst engaging its audience.

Eternity Clock was good. It was panned by critics, but unfairly if you ask me. As a gamer who remembers games like Sonic and Street Fighter fondly, it did its job. Suitable for all ages, like the show.

With the impending (possibly) tie-in with LEGO, surely there is hope for a decent Doctor Who game at last! :)