It’s hard to believe that we’re not far off Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary. Ever since William Hartnell first appeared onscreen, travelling the universe inside a police box with several companions, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who’s never heard of it. Across The Doctor’s multiple incarnations, that’s brought about no end of spin-offs. Comics, audiobooks, novels, Torchwood, you name it, Doctor Who’s been there. Naturally, gaming’s no exception.
We’ve seen a few Doctor Who games across the years but more recently, The Edge of Time arrived in 2019, starring Jodie Whittaker’s 13th Doctor and David Tennant’s 10th Doctor. Previously exclusive to virtual reality platforms – Oculus Quest, PSVR, PC VR – we’ve now got The Edge of Reality, an expanded version coming to PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch & PC on September 30th, 2021.
Teaming up with the Doctor through space and time, players will solve puzzles, take down enemies, explore new locations and face a new enemy. In preparation for this, I sat down with Maze Theory's Russell Harding and JAW's Stewart Gilray, who were happy to tell me more.
Beginning with each team’s role in development, Gilray described Maze Theory and JAW’s relationship in the “traditional publisher/developer sense.” Between their respective teams, script handling and ideas came from Maze Theory’s side, JAW would present their own ideas and eventually compromise, meeting in the middle. With both teams working remotely thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, Harding described it as feeling “less remote than having two teams working together.”
Soon after, we moved into Edge of Reality’s roots with Edge of Time, asking why they’d chosen to expand upon it. Harding confirmed they had several reasons, believing the premise has “much more potential” than they could previously deliver, feeling Maze Theory had “quite a rich world” to build upon. Feedback was another motivator, advising they knew fans who didn’t have a VR headset that wanted to play. However, Maze Theory weren’t interested in a simple port and Gilray confirmed Edge of Reality is “only 20-25%” Edge of Time, calling it significantly larger.
Elaborating further, Gilray advised they’re “taking what was there and making it bigger” but simultaneously, “nothing is ever exactly the same” as before. So, was it tricky adapting the former VR experience into traditional gameplay? Gilray says there were several pros and cons. Some puzzles require speedy interactions, so mapping that to a controller was difficult, though other aspects better suited this switch. As a result, I asked if it’s unlikely Edge of Reality’s new content will come to VR. Gilray replied stating many puzzles and environments were only possible “when not doing it in VR”, effectively ruling that out.
Time Lord Victorious
Moving onto The Edge of Reality’s new story, I queried how the Cybermen fit into this reworked story. For the unaware, Edge Of Time previously featured Weeping Angels, Daleks and two original races, the Hydrorks and the Zlysters. Now, the 13th Doctor’s dealing with one of her oldest foes, led by a mysterious “CyberReaper”. Gilray replied that having been missing before, “it’d be remiss of us” not to include the Cybermen now, letting us explore the Cybership.
Confirming the existing narrative “lent itself” to expansion, Harding informed me that Edge of Reality’s narrative explored what happens if that technology gets into other people’s hands. Expanding on the previously established “Chaosverse”, this gave both teams the opportunity to bring in new foes like the Cybermen. Harding then explained that by continuing along those previous plot threads introduced through the “reality virus”, they’ve explored what’d happen if you remained stuck in the time loop.
As part of this expansion, I asked whether David Tennant has an expanded role in The Edge of Reality. While this is ultimately Jodie Whittaker’s story, he’d previously appeared in The Edge of Time as a tie-in to the current Time Lord Victorious storyline. Sadly, neither could confirm this to me, though Harding advised “he has a role” in the upcoming game, before explaining that the reality virus lets them bring in multiple doctors. Gilray added to this, telling me they’ve spent “a lot of time” with the 10th Doctor’s character and that the game contains nods to his previous “in-episode” work.
Time And Relative Dimensions In Space
As for upcoming platforms, The Edge Of Reality’s already confirmed for PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC, but I asked if there are plans for native PS5 and Xbox Series X|S versions. Gilray confirmed there aren’t because they’re aiming at consoles with a larger player base, comparing PS4’s 116 million sales to PS5’s 10 million Adding to this, Harding informed me they wanted to get it to the “widest possible audience”, hence this decision. However, Gilray confirmed running the game via backwards compatibility offers 4K rendering, though unlike The Edge Of Time’s PSVR port – a platform where Sony mandates 60fps - Reality’s running at 30fps.
Finally, I questioned whether we could expect post-launch support for The Edge of Reality, similar to The Edge of Time’s updates. Harding confirmed “we’re looking at content post-release”, saying that they know it's important to support the audience going forward, but he didn’t offer any hints on what to expect. Evidently, we’ll have to wait and see what they’re planning but for any Doctor Who fans, it seems we’ve got plenty to look forward to.