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Doctor Who The Adventure Games - Part 2

The BBC and Sumo talk about the Doctor's role in gaming's future

Welcome to part 2 of our Doctor Who The Adventure Games interview - where we talk about the wider impact the downloadable episodes could have on the gaming industry, the attention they might attract and the way they link to the popular Who TV series.

Once again your panel are legendary developer Charles Cecil, Sumo's creative director Sean Millard, voice of the Daleks Nicholas Briggs, Dalek operator Barnaby Edwards, Doctor Who writer Phil Ford and the BBC's Ian Tweedale

What's the international deal for this? Is it going to be available for American fans?

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Ian: That's something that BBC worldwide are looking at. We would hope it would be available internationally but it's really nothing to do with the public service bit of the BBC. But if BBC Worldwide do do that then that's the route.

What about the demand early on? Will people be disappointed on the first day trying to get hold of the game?

Ian: It's going on some big industrial strength servers that will deliver this. It's the same structure we've got for the iPlayer. The iPlayer we know can deal with big audiences and it's the same underlying infrastructure that's underneath that.

We've been working on making sure the thing doesn't fall down if we get a lot of people trying to download it at the same time. So, again, we hopefully won't be a victim of our own success in having loads of people wanting it in the same second. It is something we've been working on very hard.

There are some outlets that really like to give the BBC a kicking when it's completely unjustified and they also don't like computer games very much. Are you expecting any kind of backlash from any areas?

Sean: I'd be disappointed if we didn't get it from the Daily Mail.

Ian: I didn't say that (laughs). No I think one of the things the BBC has to do if it's going to get into anything like this is undertake a full market impact assessment and it has to look at all the sort of angles in terms of, "Does it meet our public purposes" and so on. We've been through all that, we believe that it really does and does actually achieve what we as a public service body should be doing.

We do believe that the games industry is really important and we want to work with games companies like Sumo, we put this out to an indie and we think that's really important. Fortunately it was a British indie that went through a competitive process with 13 other companies all over the world. So we've been through all that sort of thing.

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We think it's very important that the mainstream audiences are made aware of just how important the gaming industry is and I don't think they are fully aware of it. It's bigger than both TV and movies and I think what we're trying to do in part is to ensure that people who have never put a toe in the water of gaming might have a go, because it's tied very much in with a key brand like Doctor Who. So, there may well be conversation and debate about it but I think we're on solid ground.

Sean: But also some of that feedback that comes back about games specifically is very geared towards violence, the bad message it gives the kids and everything else so, to counteract that completely, Doctor Who is the perfect vehicle. It's not violent, there are educational aspects to the game as well, there's a lot of things that kids are going to really benefit from with this.

Yeah fine they're probably going to assume that it's a videogame and just rattle out all the normal criticism but if they actually look at the game it flies completely in the face of their traditional perception of what a videogame is doing and what a videogame message is.

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