Thursday, 17 April 2014

EXCLUSIVE interview with Doctor Who Legacy developers

Yesterday we caught up with the developers of popular Doctor Who puzzle game, Doctor Who Legacy and asked them the questions you sent in along with some of our own!

Version 2.0 of the game has been released today and it will include stages from Series 5 along with several new Doctors; the first, second, ninth, the War Doctor and their allies.

A Perk System has also been added, this rewards players when you match any colour in a shape of a cross, full horizontal line of a T-shape.

Another new feature is the Expert Mode which features black and white versions of existing characters that have appeared through a rip in space and time to offer very challenging levels.

@alastairis - What was the pitching process like & was it intimidating that so many bad Who games came before?

The pitch was fairly simple – we sat in a room with two of the guys from the BBC WW games group in LA, along with a large whiteboard, markers and a bunch of pizza. Over a couple of hours we sketched out our vision for the game, diving into the core gameplay, art style, and so on. We had played very, very few of the pervious Doctor Who games and (at the time of the pitch) really had no idea what the general consensus was on their quality.

Was the game originally conceived as a puzzle game or did it start out as something different?

It was always supposed to be a puzzle game, and specifically this puzzle game – the game we originally pitched to the BBC is really close to the one you can download and play today. We wanted to create a game which explored the depth of the Doctor Who canon. A game where you could put YOUR Doctor in a team, whichever Doctor that is. A game where you could group up with a team picked from dozens and dozens of allies (we’re at about 90 allies with the new season), each of which had an ability which changed the game, and could be combines with the abilities of other allies (and Doctors) to create fun emergent gameplay. These factors, combined with the Tiny Rebel team’s love of puzzle games (and experience designing and shipping puzzle games in the past) made it a very simple jump between “what game should we do in the Doctor Who universe” and the original pitch for Legacy.

When did the game start development?

The initial design was sketched out during Feb 2013, the BBC pitch meeting was early March, and the game was in full development by April or so. Through the summer the game engine, back end server code was written, and the game was launched in late November. 

@Gnojcek - In the game, how can I get new companions in a certain episode? 've replayed episodes a lot of times.

Companions drop in a level based on a number of factors such as a base drop rate which is set for each individual drop. We’ve put various pieces of code in place to remove the excessive grind for companions which we had at launch. The design for the game isn’t that you should get every drop, but rather that you collect together a random team as you progress.

@GeorgeRidley123 - After the Series 1 Update is over will you be going to Classic Doctor Who Seasons in the game?

We want to move into more classic episodes as soon as possible. The current plan is for the next major update (season 4) to have at least 3 classic episodes (as well as appropriate classic companions).

@Chaoseed - Is there a cheat sheet for criteria for each color? e.g. why is 10 red, 8 black, Sontarans yellow?

There isn’t a cheat sheet as such. The Doctors are designed around filling a specific role in a group, and since we didn’t know which Doctors we would be able to add after launch, and in what order, we put one of each color in as they were signed off on. Allies are sometimes given a color because of some aspect of their personality, or the color of a Doctor (such as metacrisis 10th matching the color of 10th), or because of a need (e.g. green needs some more characters, so the next release should be green). Enemy colors are chosen based on a variety of factors – we try to cycle through colors you’re up against as you progress through the game, as well as pairing up resistances with different enemy abilities.

@Manuel1984 - Will we ever see any sonic screwdriver capabilities put into play?

We’ve talked about it with the BBC. They came to us, actually, with some ideas. No solid plan in place yet, but once season 5 is out and stable I’m sure this topic is something we’re going to return to. 

@ESchwenke - What question are you most tired of being asked?

There really aren’t any as such, rather I think that there are other really interesting questions to answer. The game was designed, built and published by two indie teams who came together over a shared love of a 50 year old TV show, but questions rarely go anywhere near this topic because, with Doctor Who being such an important show, people assume we’re a team the BBC picked to make a game. The game has new content released for it constantly, we have a community who help shape the game on a daily basis through interactions on Twitter, Facebook and Twitch, but questions rarely go near that area either. 

@The_Redux - Will we ever see the Fourth Doctor or classic outfits for Sarah Jane?

We want to continue adding costumes constantly – while there are no new costumes for those two specific characters in season 5 that doesn’t mean they won’t have new costumes.

What are your plans for Peter Capaldi's era?

We would love to be able to launch new content alongside (or very close to) when the new episodes air – this is something we’re talking to the BBC about now and hope to have more news on soon. 

Many thanks to Tiny Rebel Games for answering our questions! Also, don't forget that you can be in with the chance of winning the Meta-Crisis 10th Doctor tomorrow! There's more details about how to enter being published at midday today!

You can download Doctor Who Legacy from the App Store here or from the Google Play Store here!