Friday, 4 December 2015

Doctor Who Legacy - Talking its 2 year life and the future

Doctor Who Legacy - Talking its 2 year life and the future

With Doctor Who celebrating its 52 anniversary this November and Christmas on the way too, it’s never been a better time to pick up Doctor Who Legacy, the gem-matching game that also matches up a lot of the show’s history.

It’s the perfect gift for Xmas too for all ages to enjoy before the appearance of the Doctor on our festive tellies.
The game’s celebrating its second year anniversary as well this year and has launched some new premium content for fans of all ages to enjoy. There’s the Kids Content which aims at players of younger ages, and the Sonic Adventures which is a slightly trickier proposition for games with bombs and strategy needing to be deployed.

But Tiny Rebel Games has never lost sight of the community it serves – and while there were initial launch problems for some with the Premium content, both Lee and Susan from TRG tirelessly worked through the contacts and replied to everyone individually (something which is incredible for the amount of work they have on).

Equally, a server issue at their end recently saw them reward their community with a free character once it was fixed, continuing their patented approach of community and players first.

So with the 2nd year anniversary just gone past, and with there never being a better time to buy the Premium content as a Christmas present for the Whovian in your life, I reached out to TRG for a chat about the content, the future and what the plans are for Christmas this year.

Susan Cummings from Tiny Rebel Games got back in touch (for which I am grateful for her time)

The Kids content evolved from Anna’s Playground, but how did the gorgeously adorable artwork come about?
The BBC had shown us some of the early art in the new style they were developing a bit before we launched Anna’s Playground, and we were all in the process of trying to decide what, if anything, we would do with it in Legacy. Once it became obvious that there was a significant demand for more younger-Whovian oriented content in the game things just fell together neatly. We loved the art style from the moment we saw it =)

What was your general desire for achievement with the Kids Content? And how has the Kids stuff been received?
Anna’s playground started because we were sitting around on Boxing day going through support tickets, and someone had emailed us about their daughter, Anna. By lunch time we had a level mocked up, designed around the idea that we could tweak the core gameplay enough to truly let young kids have a compelling experience on their own, and had emailed Anna’s father back asking for a list of her favorite enemies so we could personalize the level for her. Our desire was to do something for the daughter of one of our fans, but once it became clear there was demand for more if it, our desire changed to doing that the best way we could. In the short term, that meant launching a second Anna’s playground and then that shifted to doing a full Kids area for the game. We’re very happy about the reception to the Kids area by our amazing community =)

You’ve dropped some new levels, proving once unlocked, the investment in the game’s paid off – will there be more kids content on the way and what’s the ultimate plan?
Internally we’re treating the Kids area like the Fan Area – once unlocked we’re going to keep updating it as much as we can. The first level pack for the Kids area has already been released, and I hope to get a second one out after Christmas. I can’t see us doing less than 4 expansions to the area, hopefully a lot more than that.

Turning to The Sonic Adventures, your own spin-off series in many ways, what was the plan with that one – it introduces Jo Grant to the game, the Eric Roberts Master ; was it always the idea to have older characters within the game to reflect the show’s legacy?
At launch we began with the most recent seasons, with a plan to continue backwards as far as we could (ideally to An Unearthly Child), but after launch as we started talking to the BBC about new characters for the game, and the community made it very clear that these should include many classic characters.  We therefore shifted the whole of the Legacy project over to a much more “classic inclusive” position, while also trying to keep right up to date with canon alongside each new season. When we found out from the BBC that we were going to be able to start putting Sonics into the game we were faced with a decision – we could do this slowly over time as with any other ally, or we could try and do it all at once and wrap it all together in our first “real” expansion. By doing that we were able to put together a self-contained adventure including a massive selection of sonic devices from throughout canon, as well as many hours of gameplay. When we got to that point we started talking about how this would tie into the canon of the game, and I decided that we would treat it as a side story to chapter 4. If you’re a user who stays with only free content then you shouldn’t be effected by the fact that this adventure is happening off to one side. You shouldn’t feel pressured to go take part in it. But for those who do decide to join the first Doctor you get some insight into the larger chapter 4 story as the TV Movie Master spearheads a counterattack against the Doctor.

The self-contained adventure of The Sonic Adventures is quite tricky, how much thought goes into strategies for the game and is there anything else like you’d like to do with this series? Could it be expanded?
We’re always looking at new ways to change the core gameplay in order to keep players on their toes =) You’ll see more of this next year.

Are there other plans for Premium content within the game? Or is there something else you’d love to do within the Game?
The next chapter of Bigger on the Inside will be premium content, and will be heavily story driven. We have years’ worth of plans for the game. We’ve only just started =)

There may be some who feel that outside of the Sonic Adventures and the Fan area Frenemies level,  there’s little chance to continue levelling up to 60 without access to the Strands of Time – it must be hard for you to balance the freemium mode you’ve done so successfully with the need for continual re-investment into the game – how do you counter comments like that from the community? (Even with continual weekly free drops, there must be some pressure / desire to keep it financially sustainable)
The plan was always to give Sonic Adventure players access first, then the Fan Area, and then to everyone else – sadly some players will have to wait but considering that to have that complaint they’re likely 50 – 60 hours into the game without spending a penny to speed that up in any way, I’m sure they don’t mind waiting a little longer.

The game’s been going for 2 years now and with weekly story levels dropping for the current Peter Capaldi TV show, what’s been your proudest achievement with it?
We’re very proud of the fact that we’re the first mobile game in history to shadow a running TV show in this way, the fact that we’ve done it for two years, and the fact that we can do it for free to our users.  But I would say our proudest achievement is undoubtedly the amazing community we have.

What are the plans for the future of Doctor Who Legacy ? Given Season 9 ends soon, what’s next for DWLegacy?
In order:
Special Fan Area level coming in the next few weeks
More Titan Comics costumes and characters
“The Event” starts in the next few weeks
Signature Series in Fan Area
Bigger On the Inside, Chapter 2
Chapter 4 continuing
We have plans past that with the BBC which run through to the end of next year, however these are the ones I’m comfortable mentioning right now.

Will there be an Advent Calendar this year in December? And will you all be taking some well-deserved down time after the efforts you’ve poured into the game and the community?
We released this info yesterday!

2015 Advent Calendar plans!!  – There have been a lot of questions regarding the advent calendar plans for 2015, so here is the official reply: because season 9 of the show is running into December this year, and then we have to prepare for the Christmas episode, we haven’t had the space between the end of the TV season and the start of advent to plan and execute an additional month of free content. However, as we continue to say – users who financially support the game through unlocking the fan area deserve special recognition for what they’ve done (it’s the 5% of players who have financially supported the game over the last 2 years who have kept it going, not the 95% who don’t), so we’re doing a very special “SIGNATURE SERIES” of characters exclusively for the fan area.
Over the last year the team at Tiny Rebel have gone from one Doctor Who convention to the next in order to tell Whovians about the game. During these travels we met members of the cast of the show, we would thank them for agreeing to be in the game, and we started asking them something very specific – would you mind signing your in-game art so we can do a special series of characters for fans of the game. Enough said yes that, for the week before Christmas, the Fan Area will receive a new set of characters, re-balanced, each displaying the actor’s signature on the profile page.
The fan area launched with 9 levels, and now has over 50. We hope the addition of the Signature Series helps reinforce the promise we made when we launched the game – if you unlock the fan area we’re going to keep giving you unique goodies as a thank you for as long as we’re making the game.
Lee. Creative Director.

To play Doctor Who Legacy for free and get into the game that's got Whovians buzzing, click on the various formats below:

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