LEGO Dimensions meets Doctor Who: Transbranding and New Dimensions of Transmedia Storytelling?

Matt Hills
2016 La Revista Icono 14  
This article explores how the 'toys-to-life' videogame LEGO Dimensions (WarnerBros. Interactive Entertainment/Traveller's Tales/The LEGO Group, 2015) mashes upmany different franchise storyworlds and brands. Specifically, I focus on how DoctorWho (BBC, 1963—), the British TV science fiction series, is licensed and transmediallyengaged with in Dimensions. I consider how the transbranding of LEGO Dimensionsappears to co-opt children's "transgressive play" (Nørgård and Toft-Nielsen, 2014)by
more » ... sen, 2014)by combining intellectual properties, but actually continues to operate according tologics of shared corporate ownership where many of the combined storyworlds areultimately owned by Time Warner (placing Dimensions in competition with Disney'sown 'toys-to-life' game). Considering what value might accrue to the brand of DoctorWho by participating in LEGO Dimensions, I identify this as a particular example of"What If?" transmedia (Mittell, 2015), arguing that LEGO Dimensions' Doctor Whonevertheless fluctuates in terms of its brand (in)authenticity. The Starter Pack remainscloser to LEGO Games'/Traveller's Tales' established format, subordinating Who, whilstthe separate Level Pack engages more precisely with Doctor Who's history, albeit stilldisplaying some notable divergences from the TV series (Booth, 2015). Although LEGODimensions challenges influential theories of transmedia storytelling (Jenkins, 2006;Aldred, 2014), its transbranding and child/adult targeting accord with established approachesto transmedia licensing (Santo 2015) and fan-consumer socialization (Kinder1991).
doi:10.7195/ri14.v14i1.942 fatcat:hoa6r5hdafcblcptszc4g4gjnm