Novels rarely get the video game treatment but Cosmere seems an obvious fitA reader explains why he thinks the novels of Brandon Sanderson, and his complex magic systems, would work great as video games.
I think there is a lot of scope to base a number of games on the books of Brandon Sanderson. The majority of his stories would lend themselves easily to gaming and also offer interesting gameplay concepts to explore.
There is the Reckoners series, which is set in a world where there are supervillains but no superheroes. A game around this concept would essentially be a heist type game, where you play a small group of humans as they plot ways to defeat super powered villains. You will need to observe the targets to search for potential weaknesses and then devise a plan to exploit it. This concept would lend itself to a game similar to that of Hitman series but with a larger focus on reconnaissance prior to the hit.
The Rithmatist focuses on two children that can draw chalk creatures which come to life. The book basically describes a Tower Defense type game where the more detailed and accurate the drawing of the creatures, the more powerful and resilient they become. The book also discusses the pluses and minuses of various offensive and defensive formations.
Turning this into a tablet game should be relatively simple and the quality of the drawing affecting abilities should make interesting gaming mechanics. Do you draw lots of rushed sketches that would result in weak creatures or spend longer drawing a few stronger creatures that would be much stronger?
Legion follows a very high-functioning schizophrenic who uses his various personalities to solve crimes. Each of the personalities specialise in different areas, such as being an expert of Ancient Egypt or forensic science. This could be used to add a new twist to the detective genre of games.
I envision it following a similar concept to a Return Of The Obra Dinn, where you have a set time to investigate the crime and it will not be possible to view all the clues. With the concept of Legion though you will need to choose which personalities to bring with you on the mission, which will then affect which clues you can find.
Then there is the Cosmere universe, which Brandon has created multiple series within. Each series has a different magic system.
In the Mistborn series characters receive magical powers by either digesting metal or storing energy into metal ornaments. Powers include heightened senses, ability to push/pull metal objects, time manipulation, visions of the future, increased strength and/or speed, emotion manipulation, healing and the ability to cancel the powers of others. There are also booster metals that enhance the other effects.
In the original trilogy the setting is fairly medieval, and some characters have the ability to use all metals. This setting would lend itself well to an action role-playing game like Skyrim or The Witcher and the various powers can be used to accomplish quests by a large variety of options. If you are trying to infiltrate a building you could use heightened senses to track guards and heighten their emotions to make them scared or nervous. Alternatively, you could just increase your strength and bash all the guards.
The Dishonored series incorporates quite a few of these ideas already but it does not really handle the push and pull mechanics. In the books these powers enable intricate jumping akin to flight. Therefore, it would need a very good control system and a purpose-built physics engine to pull off the fighting, which mimics martial arts films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Iron Monkey.
There’s a tabletop role-playing game, but that’s allThe second tetralogy has a Wild West setting and characters only get access to two powers instead of everything. However, this specialisation means that although they have fewer abilities they can use them more effectively. For instance, one character has the ability to push bullets away from himself, which acts as a forcefield when he has metal available. The setting lends itself to a first person shooter with character powers, like Bioshock and Max Payne. The controllable characters could also be changed between levels to add variety to the combat and set pieces.
Another major Cosmere series is the Storm Light Archive, where characters gain special abilities from bonding to Spren. Spren are magical creatures that appear during heightened emotion, but the bondable ones appear to be rarer, special Spren. The bond gives the character access to two adjacent powers from a set of 10. These powers include gravity manipulation, warping to another realm, healing, and creating detailed illusions.
The Storm Light Archive is again set in a medieval type era but one where there is ancient technology such as magic amour and swords, but also devices that do similar things to the character’s powers. There are also wild creatures that contain gemstones which when infused with light, from a repeating storm, can create the energy source for the character’s powers. These gemstones are also used as currency and to power the technology.
The story is one set on the verge of war and slavery is a key theme. I imagine a game playing similar to a Japanese role-player like Final Fantasy, where you play a small team of players each with differing abilities. There will also be a resource management element where you decide how to use your gemstones.
Elantris bases its magic system on runes. There appear to be a system where more complicated runes can be formed from the simple ones. Therefore, a system similar to alchemy used in some Japanese role-playing games could be used to derive new runes. The player would also be able to try out different drawings to see if they have differing effects. I see this as more of a puzzle-themed game, as the player tries to find runes which create the effect they want.
In Warbreaker magic is linked to colour and people can gain magical powers at the point of death. The concept of gaining abilities when dying could be used as the basis for a roguelike game. Using the abilities also drains colour, therefore a light/dark, good/bad mechanic can be used where relying on your abilities will result in a bad ending.
By reader PazJohnMitch
The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on Twitter.