Creators Of 'Myst' Hope For Comeback With New Fan-Funded Game
By Jessica Robinson
Chances are, if you played any computer games in the 1990s, you played a little game called Myst. The programmers behind that top-selling game were from the Northwest, and now they’re are trying to write their next chapter. Cyan, Inc., is creating a new game, and the old Myst fans are helping.
For millions of people in the ‘90s, the Myst intro was the sound of anticipation. Users moved their mouse pointer over a book and ended up on the dock of a strange island full of mysteries and puzzles. The company that built the world of Myst was in the Spokane area – and, it still is.
Rand Miller opens “the vault” in the basement of Cyan's building. He created the game with his brother.
Rand Miller: “This is a collection of I guess where Myst things go to die.”
The room is filled with memorabilia from the heyday of Myst and its hugely successful sequel Riven. But that was twenty years ago. The movement Miller expected Myst to inspire toward pensive, ambient video games – heck, in Myst, you had to read books – didn’t take off as he hoped. An expansive online version of Myst lost its financial backing and for many years it was touch and go for Cyan.
Rand Miller: “Oh yeah, we've had several big scares over the years.”
But now things are changing again. Smartphones and tablets brought simplicity back to gaming. Myst now has new life as an app. And something else exists that didn't two decades ago: crowdfunding through sites like Kickstarter. That's how Cyan is financing its new Myst-like game with a science fiction bent. It's called Obduction, spelled with an “o.”
Rand Miller: “We want to make places where you want to go to – not just to kill things or have to level up, but you actually are enticed to be in these places.”
After Miller turned to Kickstarter, the campaign for Obduction looked like it would come up shy. But it turns out, the Myst devotees are still out there. One in particular stepped in. With a single tweet, actor and Myst fan Neil Patrick Harris helped push the campaign past $1.1 million dollars, and counting.
Obduction Kickstarter Campaign
“How TV star Neil Patrick Harris helped Cyan fund its new video game, Obduction” - Pacific Northwest Inlander