Patch, reprogram- or just plain cancel- the broken world of The Magic Circle, a game finally on PC after roughly 20 years of “Development Hell”.
No matter how promising, some video games will never see the light of day. Whether it’s financial reasons, company restructuring, licensing issues or a change of focus, these titles often end up in “Development Hell”, trapped within the indefinite space of unfinished-game-limbo. High-profile vaporware titles included the original concept for Duke Nukem Forever, the remake of The Operative: No One Lives Forever, Beyond Good and Evil 2, and Star Fox 2. Every now and then, a title escapes from Development Hell, thus revoking its vaporware status; The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy Versus XIII/Final Fantasy XV are both confirmed to be still in development, with the latter already having a playable demo.
As of this morning, yet another game escaped from the depths of limbo, albeit a little too early- The Magic Circle.
The Magic Circle is a satirical take on the games that “almost were”, or have been lost to the pits of limbo. The title itself is complete, however the world within is based upon a game stuck in Development Hell for roughly 20 years. As the player treks through the unfinished environments and attempts to interact with untextured characters, he or she can hear the developers constantly bickering about their vision of “The Magic Circle”. Voiced by James Urbaniak, Ashly Burch, and Karen Dyer, the disembodied and indecisive developers are constantly altering the world, occasionally making things worse for the player. After the initial “first run”, a mysterious voice from within “The Magic Circle” grants the player the ability to alter the game’s code from within. Players can hack and reprogram various creatures and environmental elements to solve puzzles, attack enemies, and traverse through the broken landscapes.
The Magic Circle is currently available for PC and Mac through Steam, at a promotional 15% discount. The title was developed by Question, comprised of former Bioshock Infinite developers Jordan Thomas and Stephen Alexander.