Opinion: Doctor Who Is The Perfect Franchise For The Next LEGO Game

Opinion: Doctor Who Is The Perfect Franchise For The Next LEGO Game

With a wealth of characters, a galaxy of adventures, the entire space-time continuum at your figure-tips, and sixty years of lore to draw from Doctor Who is primed for a TT Games LEGO game of it’s own.

Whovians were given a tease of what this might look like back in 2015, first with the announcement of an official T.A.R.D.I.S. set thanks to LEGO Ideas, and then in the form of a LEGO Dimensions story pack that beautifully brought the Peter Capaldi era to life whilst paying homage to all the Doctors that came before.

Nearly a decade on, and following the brief, but epic return of fan favourite David Tennant, Ncuti Gatwa’s 15 has taken the reins of the infamous time machine for a new adventure. Add to this, the show now has investment from Disney and international distribution through their streaming platform, and the fanbase on the other side of the Atlantic has grown exponentially. Since that Dimensions release, we’ve had the first female Doctor, some great new adventures, a new sub-plot around the Doctor’s true origin, and some great new characters.

For the uninitiated, Doctor Who follows a centuries old time-travelling alien, known as The Doctor, a character who not only saves the universe, as well as history itself, on a weekly basis, but has a rogues gallery to rival even the most popular of superheroes. 

Where Doctor Who gets it unique longevity from, however, is in a genius piece of canon to explain the recasting of the lead character, regeneration. 

A Universe of Villains

Sixty years is a long time to build a wealth of interesting villains, and even if we ignore those that fall into the “villain of the week” category, we still have a plethora of awesome baddies to build a story around in the LEGO multi-verse. 

Starting with arguably two of the most famous, the Daleks and the Cybermen, both of which featured in LEGO Dimensions, and both of which were so much fun to play against and as. You may think that those pepper-pots have very little to add besides death and destruction, but along with their creator Davros, there are many variations to draw inspiration from, with a very rich history. Give me a LEGO level dedicated to The Genesis of the Daleks and I’ll be happy for years to come.

Similarly, the Cybermen have a lot to offer a unique brick-based story, having done so much just since the show rebooted in 2005. Just imagine what you could do with that in LEGO form, the animations you could incorporate into a Cyberman transition in-game. 

Let’s not forget the Time Lords, the Doctor’s own people, who have been more protagonist than antagonistic over the decades, DLC dedicated to the Time War, anyone? Or how about the worst of them all, The Master. During Jodie Whittaker’s run, the Doctor’s nemesis returned with an absolute bang and the ultimate mic drop moment when it was revealed that the Doctor wasn’t, in fact, a Time Lord (oh wow, did that split the fandom). Imagine the timeless child story played out in glorious LEGO.

The Weeping Angels made an appearance in LEGO Dimensions as well, and let me tell you, they were as creepy in brick form as they are on the show. Turn your back at your own risk. 

I could go on and on about the hundreds upon hundreds of villains this show has created, but the point is, there is so much to draw on for a primary story. There’s actually a great opportunity to draw inspiration for the level structure from LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, a game segregated into nine individual stories with a galaxy of open world to explore, tell me that doesn’t sound like it could work well for Doctor Who – maybe a story per modern Doctor? From the War Doctor through to Gatwa?

Companions, companions, companions

The Doctor is far from the solitary creature he claims to be. He’s always got a helper on his adventures, usually from a time period on Earth similar to the time the show is made.

In modern Who we’ve seen a number of great character arc’s surrounding the Doctor’s companions, from Rose’s Bad Wolf, to the Doctor Donna and these would definitely add a richness to the bricked up gaming world as well. The best LEGO games are made from a strong ensemble cast, it’s why the LEGO Batman franchise went from just Batman and Robin, to the entire DC universe over the course of three games. Doctor Who is the ultimate ensemble cast, with even bit characters having years-long stories revisited. 

The other important aspect and one that works well is that LEGO games tend to be cooperative multiplayer, and the Doctor and Companion dynamic works very well in this respect as well from a gaming mechanic akin to the majority of TT Games’ back-catalogue.

Personally, I just want to see Rose and Donna team up in minifigure form and tear the universe a new one.

The Art of Regeneration


Some science fiction franchises get their longevity from a family tree of Force-wielding heroes, some get theirs from overlapping generations of star trekking adventurers, but Doctor Who’s approach to it is not only unique, but absolute genius, regeneration.

You have a hit TV show, but you need to recast the primary character, the namesake of the show itself, what do you do? Some might just reboot, but not those brilliant, brilliant showrunners of Who, no they came up with a way to continually revamp the show, change the primary cast, and maintain everything that came before, REGENERATION.

Here’s where we can look back at other LEGO franchise games and see where this can work well. LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is a great example. Unlike the Superheroes games, Avengers focuses purely on the main superhero team of the MCU during phase 1 and 2 and so was limited to only a handful of primary characters in the storyline. How did TT Games make it more interesting? By giving Tony Stark a smorgasbord of variants, each with their own unique transition animations.

The concept of regeneration was utilised extremely well in the LEGO Dimensions add-on in a similar way. At any point during the free play and open world, you could regenerate into the next Doctor from William Hartnell through to Peter Capaldi on loop. It was one of the best uses of the character selection mechanic TT Games have ever come up with, with regeneration animations included. The absolute cherry on the top was that each time you regenerated, so did the T.A.R.D.I.S. – imagine integrating that into a full game, with an update for 13, 14, and 15 included.

Galaxies to Explore

One of the biggest selling points for me when it came to LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker saga wasn’t the story itself, the majority of which has already been told in LEGO form, it was the open worlds to explore. The game literally has a galaxy of open worlds to explore, from every corner of the Star Wars universe.

Imagine what they could do with Doctor Who using a similar approach. Established planets alone, you have Earth (any time period you like), Gallifrey (Time Lords home planet), Skaro (Dalek’s home world), The Library, Mars, Sontar, etc, etc, etc, these are just the one’s off of the top of my head, but hundreds have featured or been mentioned over the years. Building a working galaxy similar to The Skywalker Saga would be a breeze with the amount of lore, just from the last 18 years of the show and this isn’t even covering the space stations and huge ship environments you could have.

It's Been Done Before


As I’ve already mentioned, Doctor Who has already had the bricked up treatment thanks to the wonders of LEGO Dimensions. Not only did he get a cameo in the main story where we get an interesting back and forth between the Doctor, Batman, and Wyldstyle, but we also got the wonderful story pack. 

That add-on gifted Whovians with a unique story which incorporated aspects of Dimensions, along with all his most famous villains and even three periods to time travel within. It was a satisfying adventure.

The open world was brilliantly constructed, merging Earth, Mars and Skaro into one hodgepodge of Whovian delight. The Master, in Missy form, even provided the dear Doctor a few side missions along the way. 

This tiny slice of brilliance proved that it can be done. So what is actually stopping them?  

Whovians Can Dream

With TT Games primarily based in the UK, you’d think that this would be a project the company want to do, Doctor Who is a part of British culture, and with the love and attention to detail that went into LEGO Dimensions, it’s clear they could do something truly special, but what’s the chances of them actually doing it?

Licensing is a big consideration here, and definitely complicates the matter significantly. The BBC already have a number of toy-related deals with other companies and given we haven’t seen a Doctor LEGO set since that LEGO Ideas set come out, it doesn’t seem like something LEGO are actually willing to pursue. Adding to that, Disney now have their stamp on the franchise as well, though surely that might be a good thing, they do own Marvel and Star Wars, after all.

Maybe the reason we’ve not seen it so far is that the worldwide fandom wasn’t there, but surely that’s no longer the case.

Whatever the reason for not pursuing it, there are a hundred reasons why they should in this fan’s opinion.

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