Remember Myst? That amazing, groundbreaking, mind-bending game that mystified you back in the 1990s? Then came Riven in 1997. The two were the best-selling computer games of the 20th century.
Then, not much of interest from brothers Robyn and Rand Miller, the team who founded the game company Cyan and dreamed up these two revolutionary, open-ended adventure puzzle games which, compared to the lightning-fast reload speed of a Call of Duty, plodded along at the pace of a hibernating snail.
Those games plopped you onto a proto-steampunk island where, well, it wasn’t exactly clear what your goal was. But it was a fascinating ride. You wandered around, looking at every map and book, and being lured in by the preternatural quiet and creepy ambience soundtrack. What was a clue? What was a puzzle? What was a red herring?
As Myst celebrates its 20th anniversary, there’s some new activity. A new game from Cyan. One in the spirit of the first two, and one that just might provide the same tricksy thrills and head-scratching puzzles of Myst and Riven.
Cyan has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new game called Obduction. Cyan veteran Eric A. Anderson, fantasy artist Stephan Martinière and Rand Miller are the team listed behind the Kickstarter. Brother Robyn, who left Cyan to do other things, including directing the new documentary, The Immortal Augustus Gladstone, will be involved with the game as an actor, playing one of the lead characters in Obduction. Rand will also be acting, “something they haven’t done together since the original Myst,” the Kickstarter page says. Their younger brother Ryan, an author of several books and co-writer of the Myst tie-in novels, as well working on many post-Riven projects, will be involved in both a design and writing role.
The premise? “Obduction begins with… well… an abduction – your abduction,” says the teaser text on their Kickstarter page. “On a crystal clear, moon-lit night, a curious, organic artifact drops from the sky and inexplicably whisks you away across the universes to who-knows-where (or when, or why). … Why is there an old, abandoned farmhouse — complete with white picket fence — in the middle of an alien landscape? You’ll find out.” And etc.
Why are they doing it again? “We love the wonder of having an entirely new world at our fingertips. We love the twisted unraveling of an unexpected storyline,” says their Kickstarter pitch. “We love the satisfying “Aha! moment” of solving a particularly perplexing puzzle. We love the rush of revelation when we find out what’s around the next corner. We love the twinge of emotion entering a dimly lit room because we feel like this place has become our world.”
The Kickstarter is getting close to netting its goal of $1.1 million, but with less than a week left, was still about $220,000 short. Let’s hope they make their goal. And the their new game Obduction lives up to the hype.