Phil Ford (Doctor Who: The Adventure Games) interview

Players will help the Doctor and Amy in an epic original story which forms part of the current series, featuring Matt Smith and Karen Gillan recreating their roles as the Doctor and Amy. LastBroadcast caught up with writer Phil Ford to find our more…

How did you get involved with Doctor Who: The Adventure Games?

I was asked to work on The Adventure Games after writing Dreamland and co-writing ‘The Waters Of Mars’ with Russell T Davies. Not entirely sure if my animation experience – both with Dreamland and as lead writer on Gerry Anderson’s CGI re-make of Captain Scarlet – had any bearing on that, but its certainly territory that I’m familiar with.

How did writing the story for a game differ from writing for TV?

In the first instance, writing for the games is no different from writing for the TV show. Especially as The Adventure Games have been conceived as a part of the series. The stories that the audience will interact with when they play should feel and unfold just as the Doctor’s adventures on TV develop. So both have to start with a great story. Then come characters that you’re either going to root for, or are going to scare you. You then develop an outllne in tandem with the show’s producers and script editor and ultimately write the script.

The big difference, of course, is that this isn’t just an armchair experience. It is a game and the audience has to get involved in the story-telling, in as much as that there are various gameplay situations that have to be negotiated in order to move the story on.

I didn’t write the outline or script thinking “oh, this would be a good place for a game” – that was all up to the games people who know what they are doing. But in scripting I did have to find a way for the characters to tell the player their game objectives without it being too on the nose. That could be quite a challenge at times.

The great thing about the gameplay element of these stories from a writer’s perspective, however, is that in some ways the games make the story-telling easier. In a TV adventure I have to come up with obstacles for the Doctor and devise a way for him to solve them – in The Adventure Games solving those situations is really up to the player.

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