Thursday, 31 July 2014

EXCLUSIVE Interview with Doctor Who Legacy Developers

On Tuesday we caught up with Susan and Lee from Tiny Rebel Games, the developers behind the popular Doctor Who Legacy game, ahead of the new expansion, Hunt for Greyhound One, which is due to be released next week.
The Hunt for Greyhound One is the latest story expansion to the game, and takes its place as the epilogue to season 5 - reality is under attack from The Master, his various incarnations, and his Toclafane army, and reinforcements are needed.
Read our interview below and keep your eyes peeled because we have a Legacy giveaway coming up next week!

When can we expect the Twelfth Doctor to be added?
Susan – Spoilers sweeties….we hope to talk soon about our plans for the 8th season of Doctor Who!

Are you planning more original expansions like Greyhound?
Lee – We’re waiting to see how fans of the game react to the upcoming levels, but we would love to keep making more expansions like this. Going forward we’re trying to move from huge level packs every few months to much shorter releases – the endgame being new levels every week – with these releases being much more narratively driven.

After Series 1 is completed, will you move onto the classic series?
Susan – We’ve learned a lot in the 8 months or so since we launched the game, about what our fans want.  And one thing is certain—it runs the gamut from oldest Doctor Who, to the latest episodes, to expanded universe like Big Finish and comic books.  So now that the most recent few seasons are live, we’re finding it unfair that people have to wait so long for their favorites.  Going forward expect to see us mix it up more --- in other words, when Season 4 content comes along, you can expect to see some Season 4 episodes but we’ll also mix in classics and fan favorites.  We’re finding it’s a better way to approach content additions.

Greyhound One is a heavy nod to fans of the classic series.  We’ve added Peter Davison, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Young Sarah Jane, Ace, the Ogron, and more.  Bringing these characters and this narrative is a nice segue into offering more classic content.  We found out this week, incidentally, that the Fourth Doctor has signed on.  Expect to see him showing up in game very soon!

Are there any characters you haven’t added yet that you’d love to have in the game?
Lee – SO many. Not sure a list is appropriate, but starting with “every major character from the last 51 years” is going to be close.

Susan – Madame de Pompadour!

Was the game always conceived as free-to-play?
Lee – The original game design, the design for how the project would work as a whole, is pretty close to where we are now. A game of this type (an ongoing platform, updated weekly, running for years) needs to have everything in the right place or it falls apart (from a gameplay, organization and / or financial standpoint).

What do you think is the reason for Legacy’s longevity and popularity?
Lee – I think that fellow Whovians are attracted to the game because they can see the love and attention to detail that we, as fellow fans, put into the game, but they stay because the game is constantly changing and expanding exponentially, and they can be part of that. We had an email come through our support address last week which said “Every other game I’ve downloaded I felt like I was playing a game, with Legacy I found that I had joined a community”, which was amazing to hear.

How has social media and fan input effected Legacy?
Susan – Tremendously and daily.  We feel like our community is literally part of our design team.  We ask about everything --- characters, abilities, colour, costumes, episodes.  You name it.  Difficulty balancing too --- we heavily rebalanced season 5 for difficulty not long after it came out because too many people were banging their heads against the wall (literally in some cases) because of a few of the levels.

On Twitch every week, we talk about stuff that is both imminent and even further out.  It’s one of the places we like to vet some of our seemingly ‘crazy’ ideas to see what people think.

How long do you presume you will continue to do Doctor Who Legacy Content? (Question from @GeorgeRidley123)
Lee – As long as we possibly can.

When you were asked to create legacy, did you ever expect that it would be the great success it is today? (Question from @BryanMolina1931)
Susan – All we knew was that it was a game we loved, that late at night when we finally finished ‘work’, we would frequently spend another hour or more just relaxing and playing our game.  And having a hard time putting it down to go to sleep.  All you can do as a developer is make something that you yourself love and would be happy to spend time with even if no one else cares.

What social media platform do you find yourself listening to the most? (Question from @daretosmile)
Susan – We try to pay attention to all of them.  But we do feel like our strongest link has been with our weekly Twitch community.  While we frequently get thousands of people turning up over the course of an episode, there’s a core of 500 – 600 people that show up faithfully on a week to week basis and who are some of our most hardcore players and fans.  Facebook has also been a tremendously useful platform for us to engage with our players.  So much so that some community ‘leaders’ have emerged and we even have our first volunteer community mod, Sharee, who we noticed was constantly helping her fellow players and we wanted to recognize this and make her more ‘official.  We also recently added a forum on our website which has proven very popular and which we frequent daily.  But we listen to good ideas however they get to us …. Twitch, FB, Twitter, Desk, etc.  We simply want to hear from the people who are playing our game!

We'd like to thank both Susan and Lee from Tiny Rebel Games for taking the time to chat to us!

To find out more and download Doctor Who Legacy visit tinyrebelgames.com.