Note that the term “Magic System” is not being used just to describe magic, since the video I’m bringing you compares the fantasy game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim from Bethesda with the science fiction game Death Stranding from Kojima Productions. Also note that I have not played either game, so I don’t know if Death Stranding uses magic or simply more sci-fi based “magic” powers. Neither are my kind of game really and while there are a few fantasy stories I honestly enjoy it’s not a genre I travel in very often. However, when it comes to world building this video goes into some very important details.

Skyrim takes place in yet another area of whatever planet or dimension the Elder Scrolls franchise exists in. Death Stranding is yet another post-apocalyptic scenario in which the titular event has caused all sorts of craziness. You wouldn’t think these two games are comparable but Henry Boseley of The Closer Look was playing the latter when he realize why the magic system of the former was so terrible, and it comes down to the lore of the two worlds and how Kojima tried to flesh out his world and build his magic system around it while Bethesda basically abused the “rule of cool”. Whether you do fantasy magic or sci-fi powers this is an important video to watch to see how you ruin your story, be it video game or a non-interactive genre, if you don’t pay attention to how your cool powers should affect the world around you for good or for ill. Note that he’s willing to swear more than BW’s usual levels.

Catch more episodes of The Closer Look on their YouTube channel.

It should be noted that this goes for any world or fantasy/sci-fi element. Even in kids stories and wacky comedy worlds (think Looney Tunes) where you can create any world you want, with a unique set of physics and culture that you couldn’t get away with in more serious or grown-up fare, you need to be consistent to your world. If person A falls off a cliff and is fine or goes splat and shakes it off and person B is either killed or breaks an arm, there better be a good reason why B is in agony or the afterlife while A is just mildly inconvenienced. Kids do pick up on that and it makes your world look poorly thought out. Even the rule of cool or the gag reflex have limitations and if don’t follow them your world falls apart. Something to keep in mind.


About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

5 responses »

  1. Curtis Jackson says:

    what a terrible article, you pretty much wrote “I have no fucking clue how either games work, here’s someone else’s YouTube video on the subject” fucking headass LMAOOOOO


    • I do my own commentaries and reviews but I also post other things I find online, either due to not having time to come up with a properly written piece or I just found it interesting enough to share, which was the case with this video. So posting the video was the point. All videos and article links, plus my Saturday Night Showcase feature are selected for the same reason as the topics I write about. I thought people would find the comparison interesting in a discussion on creating good magic systems. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the video.


  2. […] The last time I did this, and with the same commentary host as last time, someone in the comments was annoyed that I was posting a video about a franchise I knew nothing about and didn’t add enough commentary. True, I never played an Elder Scrolls game or Death Stranding but I don’t think you need to in order to understand what the host was discussing, how doing a magic system wrong can break the lore of the game and ruin the immersive story you’re attempting to draw the player into. The system might have been fun to play with but swords made of magic and the power of alchemical transmuation being as easy as making toast brings up questions that makes the fictional world less real. I thought the message got across pretty well without knowledge of the games since I don’t have knowledge of the games and I got it. Even if you’re telling a story in a different media form the takeaway can only benefit you in the future. […]


  3. […] game I hadn’t played versus a good system in a game I also haven’t played. The host of that video gave all the information needed to follow along. Since this week my schedule has been a scramble […]


  4. […] you don’t do it right then the tension is gone. Some time ago The Closer Look posted a video I brought up here about the failings of a video game with a bad magic system versus, but now he goes into the poorly […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s