The unfinished world of The Magic Circle
Breaking the machine with meta puzzle sandbox The Magic Circle
The Magic Circle is a game set inside a game named ‘The Magic Circle’. For 20 years, the fictional Magic Circle game inside the game – itself a remake of a fictional ’80s text adventure named ‘The Magic Circle’ – has been trapped in development hell, until the game’s characters become self-aware.
In the first game from Jordan Thomas’s Question Games, formed with Irrational’s Stephen Alexander and Arkane’s Kane Shin, a black-and-white fantasy world is in a state of utter collapse. The world’s denizens regard their creators as ham-fisted gods, and artefacts from other games on the studio’s server are bleeding into the world. Into the system comes the player, draining power from colourful fissures and using it to reprogram the game.
The Magic Circle is also the power you use to reshape the world, drawing onto the screen like ink on a whiteboard and encircling any object you want to examine. Enemies’ AI parameters and abilities can be modified and the world becomes a puzzle that is solved by exploiting the code to make creatures friendly, fireproof, airborne and more. The Magic Circle is a massively meta joke, but it’s also a puzzle sandbox players will solve by further breaking an already broken world. We’ll take a closer look soon.