Doctor Who is a phenomenon. And is it any wonder? Running for nearly 60 years, with 13 different Doctors, and a whiplash-inducing amount of time travel, the show has gathered one heck of a following. Until now, fans have only been able to experience the Doctor Who universe on their screens, in print or through the occasional cosplay, but game developer Maze Theory is looking to change that by giving fans a fully immersive Doctor Who VR experience.
We know what you’re thinking. Did a Doctor Who VR game not just come out? Well, yes it did. The BBC just released a free Doctor Who animated VR short – and it was a bit of a flop. But Doctor Who: The Edge of Time promises to be the quintessential virtual reality experience for Whovians and non-fans alike, and we got a first-look at the demo.
Through time and space
Doctor Who: The Edge of Time is a three-hour-long, feature length Doctor Who virtual reality game developed by London-based studio Maze Theory. What makes this game stand out from any other wannabes? Two big reasons. For one, current Time Lord Jodi Whittaker lends her voice to the game and secondly it has been created in collaboration with the BBC and Doctor Who showrunners – one of the show’s writers even penned the story for The Edge of Time. It doesn’t get more legit than that.
And this authenticity is clear in the short demo we played at Maze Theory’s London headquarters, from the moment we strapped on the VR headset we were immersed in the bizarre world of Daleks and iconic telephone boxes.
The story is pretty straightforward. The Doctor (number 13, played by Jodie Whittaker) has been hurled through time to the end of the universe and a virus that threatens to rip apart reality itself has been unleashed. It’s your duty to journey across worlds – past, present and future – to recover a series of powerful time crystals that can repair the whole kerfuffle.
The Edge of Time sees you stepping into the shoes of the Doctor’s new, unnamed pal. Armed with the iconic Sonic Screwdriver, we land in a London junkyard during what we can only describe as a cosmic hurricane. The Doctor’s voice blares from a nearby radio, tasking you with collecting items from the junkyard to build a contraption to summon the Tardis.
Movement is fairly simple, but takes some getting used to. While your directional movement is tank-like, you can easily move forwards and backwards and freely look around you at the unfolding chaos – which includes an incoming UFO hovering overhead.
The Edge of Time is not combat-based, instead requiring the player to solve various puzzles - such as finding the junkyard items – in order to progress, almost like a Doctor Who immersive escape room. But Maze Theory is focusing on creating a title that will appeal to the whole family, so don’t expect these puzzles to be so complicated that they hinder your experience – that’s not the intention.
Instead, this is a game which intends to bring in veterans and newbies alike. But there is definitely some extra canon content for Whovians, with a host of new creatures and worlds to explore. Being a newbie to the franchise, we were pleasantly surprised by how intrigued we were to see more...
Doctor Who: The Edge of Time is due for release in September, 2019 on PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, HTC Vive and Vive Cosmos.