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.