The other day I got to be one of the very few people outside Japan to see the third Madoka Magica movie. It was at a crappy little theater in San Francisco, and we got to wait in the cold until 15 minutes before the showing started. On the other hand we actually got to see it. When they had the double feature of the first two movies they had about two showings total here, which sold out before I could get a ticket. Madoka Magica has always been the kind of show that’s hard to talk about without giving spoilers, and short of watching a fansubbed camrip, most people aren’t going to get to see it until some time after the eventual DVD/Blu-ray release, so I won’t go into detail about it except to say that it was quite good, but really, really weird, and I think it will be very controversial in the fandom.
Although I haven’t really had time to actually work on Magical Burst, watching the movie did give me some ideas, and inspired me to start watching more magical girl anime, which in turn gave me other ideas, so at the rate I’m going I’ll hopefully get back into working on it before long. As much as I liked the third Madoka movie, I feel like it helped me mentally decouple Magical Burst from the franchise a bit more, so that I can look at other magical girl titles more clearly and openly. Although Madoka was a prime source of inspiration, MB was always its own thing in many very important ways, especially with the central conceit of Overcharge and Fallout, which is both very important to how MB works and very different from Madoka Magica. In particular I’ve been watching Day Break Illusion, Fate Kaleid Liner Prisma Ilya, Fresh Pretty Cure, and the live-action Sailor Moon series. These haven’t really inspired me to change Magical Burst rules-wise, but they have definitely got me thinking about the genre quite a bit more.
I also ended up having a pretty solid idea for what I want to do for a “Magical Burst Companion” book to eventually follow the core rulebook. This is me getting way ahead of myself as usual, but it helps to have some kind of outlet for concepts that are extraneous to the core project, provided they don’t get totally out of hand. There are several possible alternate takes on magical girls that would make interesting rules options. I want to do something with a dark take on the reincarnation element in Sailor Moon, both as a rules option and in a story. Fate Kaleid Liner Prisma Ilya also presents the idea of magical girls having cards they can swap out to get different magical abilities (and of course there’s Card Captor Sakura). Pretear presents a variation on that concept where the different powers come from different people, but using them means risking those people’s lives. A “corruption” system more in line with Madoka Magica could make a nice replacement for Overcharge and Fallout.
The other major part of the Companion would be a set of three alternate settings, which use the same basic rules (with some key changes) to tell some very different sorts of stories.
- Angel Project has heroines who wear skimpy sci-fi power suits (as seen in Galaxy Fraulein Yuna and a few others) and fight the forces of darkness and occasionally each other. Taking a cue from the Yuna PC Engine games, the setting involves destinations like the Water Planet and the Fancy Planet.
- Helix Academy is about students at a school for people with special powers, heavily inspired by A Certain Scientific Railgun. I’m not sure how I would really approach this one yet, but I’d like to try something along the lines of Adventure Planning Service’s Elysion RPG, where you have to manage your schedule and take turns doing different things towards your goals.
- Zero Hour would basically be Persona with the serial numbers filed off, concerning people with special Avatars that give them powers they can use to fight threats to humanity in the un-time. And now that I think about it, the time management type system would be pretty appropriate for this one too.
Anyway, I just wanted to share where I’m at with Magical Burst. I’m thinking over the course of 2014 I want to make a push to complete the new revision, do a bunch of playtesting and refinement, and then move towards publishing it by 2015. And from there avoid having quite so ridiculously long development cycles for my games.