You unlock Tardis at level 20 and Rather Spiffy Tardis at level 40.

Three Rings gets tapped to develop a Doctor Who MMO for the BBC.

Daniel James, CEO Three Rings says, “Three Rings is delighted and honored to have the opportunity to create an online game based onDoctor Who. Our goal with ‘Words in Time’ is to capture the imaginative spirit and depth of the series, whilst being fun and easy to play for all ages.”

Clearly, the BBC decided on Three Rings because of James’ ability to say “whilst” in a sentence.

NetDevil Lays Off Everyone, May Technically Still Exist

Welp. (This image is the Facebook avatar for a distressing number of former NetDevil employees this morning.)

The axe fell at long-troubled NetDevil yesterday – and according to some developers, word actually circulated among the devs themselves via Facebook before the company got around to letting people know that yeeeeeeah, you’re not going to need to come in on Saturday.

Unfortunately a lot of talented folks lost their jobs as we have found out on Facebook! I personally think it’s pretty terrible to find news out that way and not to be correctly notified. We all were receiving phone calls tonight and I just got mine about 2 hrs ago.

From what we’ve been told a handful of artists will be kept on board and continue working on Lego Universe. But at the moment that will be a very, VERY small team.

There’s been no statement from NetDevil or owners Gazillion Entertainment as to the fate of NetDevil, Lego Universe, new browser-based Fortune Online, or perpetually-in-development target-of-lawsuits Jumpgate Evolution. Scott Brown, NetDevil’s former CEO, had this to say:

For everyone that get let go from what used to be NetDevil, please please use me as a reference, and if I can help in any way please let me know. Thanks for going on the ride with me while it lasted.

Off the record, however, I’ve heard that NetDevil still technically exists, but 30 to 40 people have been let go, and it’s hard to see how the studio can recover from a wound of that magnitude.

(Edit 1:00PM CST) Lego Group announces they’ve bought Lego Universe off of Gazillion, “minor staff reduction”.

Lord British Permits You To Continue Playing Faceville On Your Citybook Machine

"And this is the move I used to choke our VP of Marketing when he suggested I take a Tabula Rasa memory stick into space."

Richard Garriott wants you to know he is very aware of social gaming. Specifically, that it kind of sucks.

What’s interesting is that there are a few companies that are making real money in a big way so they deserve their high valuation by all means. And they’ve not only led the charge but they are evolving quickly and they’re doing a brilliant job of it. I have respect and admiration for my already titanic competitors that are ahead of me.That being said, there’s tonnes of small start-ups who we are seeing take lots of investment and lots of activity and large acquisition costs – who are creating, literally, junk. Stuff that people aren’t playing that much and if you play it, it’s not much fun. But it does show you there are investors desperate to find a foothold in this market.

Translation: “Mark Pincus? I totally wasn’t talking about you. Call me. *wink*”

Of course, the gameoblogospherezoidthing is all aflutter over Garriott mentioning the words Ultima and Online in the same sentence.

If you dissect it further, Ultima Online included farming, running shops, fighting monsters, pets – and what kind of games are popular on social networks right now? They’re all dissections of what I’ve already done throughout the Ultima series. One of the things I’m really excited about is that these games are already popular with an audience ten times bigger than the MMO audience, that now covers all ages, all genders and all walks of life. I already know how to do those games.

“No, really, Mark. I’m serious. CALL ME.”

As soon as we have a game where you can have an avatar with a house and a room to display the cool things you’ve collected we can ship it. And then tomorrow you can fight monsters, and a month after than you can have some weapons and armour, and a month after that you can build swords… That will still allow us to come out with a full in-depth Lord British experience, but begin the journey as light as makes a confident, interactive game.

“Screw it, let’s just ship something once we get a paperdoll up and running. THEN Mark will call me.”

Bill Roper Needs Work

For some reason, this image comes up in Google Image Search for "Bill Roper".

Bill Roper, of Blizzard/Flagship/Cryptic/his living room fame, gives a wide ranging interview to Gamasutra about what it was like to go from Diablo to a game considerably less successful.

But the backlash, honestly, was staggering. And I think it was, to me, the level and the depth of the backlash. It wasn’t just like, “Hey, I played this game, and I didn’t like it. It sucked. I hate this game. This game is the worst thing ever.” Okay, you didn’t like the game and all that. But it got to the point where there were personal attacks on developers.It seems like the layers, one is like, “Did you like the game or not?” You could say, “I think this game is horrible.” Perfectly fine. “Hey, I think your company is crap because it makes bad games.” Okay, you know, whatever.

But then I started to get… It got to this level where at one point, on our forums, at the same time… Kind of the backend of this all happening is I was actually going through a divorce at the same time, and somebody found that out and posted on the forums, you know, “Well, I’m sure that his wife is leaving him because he lied about the size of his penis like he lied to us.” I’m like, “Oh my… Really? Really? This is where we’ve come.”

The Internet, folks, we’ll be here all week.

EA CFO Scales Back Old Republic Expectations, Thinks Gamer Blogs Are Funny

EA CFO Eric Brown, in a conference call to investors, said EA CFO Eric Brown didn’t know what he was talking about when he said Old Republic was EA’s largest project ever.

“At half a million subscribers, the game is substantially profitable, but it’s not the kind of thing we would write home about,” EA CFO Eric Brown said in a Gamasutra-attended conference call accompanying EA’s third quarter fiscal earnings report today. “Anything north of a million subscribers, it’s a very profitable business.”

Brown stressed to investors that the costs being incurred now would “essentially turn on a dime” to profits the day the title ships, a date still targeted for sometime after March but before the end of calendar 2012

This, of course, contradicts reports from respected analysts and somewhat less respected bloggers that Old Republic would require 1m subscribers for a profit and 2m to be truly successful. Brown’s response: don’t believe a word those crazy Interweb people say!

“There’s been a fair amount of talk on various blogs describing [Old Republic development] spends that are vastly higher than anything we’ve ever put in place,” he said.

“Don’t read gamer blogs as having any substance. They bring a chuckle, but they also bring a frustration for those that are being responsible with the management of EA’s R&D dollars.”

We at Broken Toys take a simple joy in the fact that we can bring substance-free humor to the desktops of EA executives everywhere.