Myst Studio Brings Obduction To Kickstarter

Myst Studio Brings Obduction To Kickstarter

Cyan Inc., the studio behind Myst and Riven, is seeking Kickstarter support for a new adventure entitled Obduction.

It's been 20 years since Myst became one of the biggest videogames of all time and while Cyan, Inc. has never duplicated its success, the studio is still around and still doing its thing - that "thing" now being Obduction, a "spiritual successor" that aims to capture the experience of Myst without being bound to its fiction. Thematically, however, it will tread similar ground, as players find themselves abducted by a strange, organic artifact and then dropped into bizarre and fantastic alien worlds.

Obduction promises "stunning landscapes, deep storyline, engaging characters, dramatic soundscapes, and challenging yet intuitive puzzles," as you'd expect, and while the few pieces of concept art currently available have a very obvious Myst-like appearance and the genre has some serious miles on it, a new game in the mold from the studio that started it all is kind of exciting.

Cyan is seeking $1.1 million in funding, a hefty amount by any measure, but so far it seems to be going pretty well. Obduction hasn't exactly set Kickstarter on fire but it has managed to tick up past $50,000 on its first day and, for the moment at least, is climbing with a comfortable consistency.

There's a tendency to be dismissive of Myst as a game and for the genre it launched, but in 1993 it was nothing short of revolutionary - and as the Kickstarter points out, it seems these days like everything old is new again. As always, buyer beware, and if you do pledge, please do so with full awareness of the risks (which is to say, don't pledge it if you can't afford to throw it away) or at the very least, the understanding that I'm not telling you to go out and blow your bucks on this thing. The Obduction Kickstarter is live now and runs until November 16. And now if you'll excuse me, I think I need to go throw some money away.

Source: Kickstarter

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You have no idea how happy I am about this, guys. I've been following their hints and anticipating the Kickstarter launch for WEEKS now.

So yeah... I used to have money in the bank. It's gone now. And I may or may not become the Cyan Worlds version of j-e-f-f-e-r-s for a month.

"stunning landscapes, deep storyline, engaging characters, dramatic soundscapes, and challenging yet intuitive puzzles"
Having played Myst, I can agree about the stunning landscapes. That's it. And I absolutely must disagree with any claim that the puzzles were intuitive. They weren't. They weren't quite moon logic, but they had nothing to do with the story or world they were in. I simply can't imagine this being anywhere near as good as Armikrog.

P.S. Thanks

Dammit Kickstarter! Stop taking my money!

Covarr:
"stunning landscapes, deep storyline, engaging characters, dramatic soundscapes, and challenging yet intuitive puzzles"
Having played Myst, I can agree about the stunning landscapes. That's it. And I absolutely must disagree with any claim that the puzzles were intuitive. They weren't. They weren't quite moon logic, but they had nothing to do with the story or world they were in. I simply can't imagine this being anywhere near as good as Armikrog.

P.S. Thanks

Wha? Most of the puzzles fitted fairly well into the ages, navigation for the Ship, sound for the one hit by meteorites, and mechanics for the Gear.

Here we go again, another studio from the past, looking to bring back something, setting an unrealistic target that won't probably get funded.

Can anyone tell I'm tired of crowdsourcing yet :D

Ed130:
Wha? Most of the puzzles fitted fairly well into the ages, navigation for the Ship, sound for the one hit by meteorites, and mechanics for the Gear.

Not to mention the extremely well-implemented puzzles in later games. Riven's puzzles were all either organic roadblocks or man-made combination locks, Myst III was a training course, etc.

FinalDream:
Here we go again, another studio from the past, looking to bring back something, setting an unrealistic target that won't probably get funded.

Can anyone tell I'm tired of crowdsourcing yet :D

http://www.kicktraq.com/projects/cyaninc/obduction/

As of this second, it's on track to meet and surpass its goal.

If it doesn't, I may start killing the prisoners.

lacktheknack:

Ed130:
Wha? Most of the puzzles fitted fairly well into the ages, navigation for the Ship, sound for the one hit by meteorites, and mechanics for the Gear.

Not to mention the extremely well-implemented puzzles in later games. Riven's puzzles were all either organic roadblocks or man-made combination locks, Myst III was a training course, etc.

Riven was more difficult for me and I didn't finish it, admittedly I was around 10 at the time.

I should really get back to it and buy it off Steam/GOG once it goes on sale, that way I don't have to change discs every bloody island.

Ed130:

lacktheknack:

Ed130:
Wha? Most of the puzzles fitted fairly well into the ages, navigation for the Ship, sound for the one hit by meteorites, and mechanics for the Gear.

Not to mention the extremely well-implemented puzzles in later games. Riven's puzzles were all either organic roadblocks or man-made combination locks, Myst III was a training course, etc.

Riven was more difficult for me and I didn't finish it, admittedly I was around 10 at the time.

I should really get back to it and buy it off Steam/GOG once it goes on sale, that way I don't have to change discs every bloody island.

Yes, you should.

Then you should find and play the others.

Then you should play the MMO.

Then you should invest in this Kickstarter. :D

lacktheknack:

...
As of this second, it's on track to meet and surpass its goal.
...

Keep in mind that kickstarters typically enjoy a surge in their first and last days, with the intermediate ones seeing but a slow trickle.

They've got my money, at any rate. :)

Somebloke:

lacktheknack:

...
As of this second, it's on track to meet and surpass its goal.
...

Keep in mind that kickstarters typically enjoy a surge in their first and last days, with the intermediate ones seeing but a slow trickle.

They've got my money, at any rate. :)

Don't remind me. ;___;

On the bright side, Myst fans are terrifying (I'd know, I am one) so they're going to spread the word pretty far.

I certainly never played another adventure game that had the weird eerie appeal of the landscapes of Myst. I hope they succeed. Combine this with Tex Murphy Tesla Effect and I am set.

Whelp, the game has already hit $100,000... six hours in.

I might be screaming inside right now. :D

OH GOD IF I HAD MONEY OR INCOME I WOULD BE THROWING IT AT THE SCREEN RIGHT NOW SCREW IT I'M DOING THAT WHY ISN'T IT WORKING AAAAAAAAAAA

Seriously though, I love the entire Myst series. I have, and have played, ALL of them. They're practically a part of me... I want to fund this. I WANT to so badly...

I loved Myst. Finished it in a very long haul over a two-day stretch, working side-by-side with a friend, and it was a fantastic experience. Riven didn't turn my crank nearly as much and I dropped out of the series until Uru, which I also really enjoyed - not to the same extent as Myst, but Myst is one of those singularly impactful games that can never really be duplicated.

That said, I'm definitely down for this. I'm really hoping they can make the old magic work again.

Whatever happened to Robyn Miller, anyway?

uhhh... I want to be excited about this, but... the last good Myst game that Cyan made was Riven. They didn't touch Exile or Revelation, which were good; they came back for End of Ages, an atrociously-written, half-finished, buggy pile of garbage. I realize they went pretty much bankrupt before finishing it, but still, if that's the kind of quality they put out on a tight budget, I can't see a Kickstarter from them producing anything of value.

Well, End of Ages was basically material that they had left over from Uru, but had never got the opportunity to finish and release, following Ubisoft's cancelling the online aspect of the game (EDIT: ...while in late beta), which the company had, by the looks of it, entrusted to carry their entire harvest of eggs.

I suppose they felt obliged to, as what seemed at the time like their last gasp, wrap up the story arc that began Uru, even if it had to be in an extremely condensed and simplified form.

Robyn left Cyan after Riven, to persue other music and film projects http://www.tinselman.com/tinselman/home.html.

Andy Chalk:
Whatever happened to Robyn Miller, anyway?

He wasn't happy with the direction the series took, so he abandoned it.

velcthulhu:
uhhh... I want to be excited about this, but... the last good Myst game that Cyan made was Riven. They didn't touch Exile or Revelation, which were good; they came back for End of Ages, an atrociously-written, half-finished, buggy pile of garbage. I realize they went pretty much bankrupt before finishing it, but still, if that's the kind of quality they put out on a tight budget, I can't see a Kickstarter from them producing anything of value.

What was wrong with End of Ages? I liked End of Ages. The story was fine (if long-winded) and nicely finished what Uru set up, the puzzles were pretty fun, and a couple of the world designs were freaking amazing. I didn't encounter any glitches.

Also, you forget that Cyan made Uru/Myst Online, which is the best Myst game.

Yeah, I said it.

Come at me, bro.

lacktheknack:
What was wrong with End of Ages?

Off the top of my head, in no particular order, and bearing in mind that I haven't played the game since it came out and I hadn't played Uru at the time (a game should stand on its own in any case, and certainly shouldn't require you to play the spinoff game):

The game starts with a voiceover from Atrus, wherein he explains that Catherine is dead and a long time has passed since the last game. Why? This isn't relevant to the story at all. Did they just not want to hire a voice actress for her? He concludes his message by stating that the time has come for him to "put an end to his useless waiting" and "move on to a better place", with the writing and sound cues clearly indicating this is a suicide note. Except he's fine, and in fact hasn't gone anywhere, as he's still where he was living in III & IV. And the opening narration is never brought up again. Well, whatever. You don't see Atrus at all until the end anyway; but why would you want to, when you can instead talk every 5 minutes to this new awful character, Esher? and once or twice to Yeesha. Well, not the Yeesha from previous games, who was likeable; a jaded, bitter Yeesha with what I think is a ridiculous facial tatoo, but I can't tell because they're not using live action cut scenes anymore and the character models are awful. Esher's knee keeps clipping through that silly skirt thing he wears; it's very distracting, especially since it call attention to the fact that they're recycling the same "Esher is talking to you" animation every. Single. Conversation. All exposition is delivered via these stupid cutscenes, where Esher paces in front of you and talks. And boy is the exposition stupid. The goal of this game is not to figure out what's happened to you, as in the first Myst, nor to rescue someone trapped on a world as in subsequent Mysts; no, this time the goal is go on "The Quest", which is to obtain a magic rock. Actually, the quest is to use the Magic Rock properly; apparently this Magic Rock is more important than the entire storyline up to this point, and every significant character has at some point tried and failed to use this Rock properly, as the Ring's- er, I mean Rock's power corrupts them. What power? Why, the power to make little rock people do your bidding! Your very, very specific bidding, useful for about one hideously contrived puzzle per power. Everyone else selfishly kept the power for themselves, but you can't do that because they couldn't figure out how to program it, so instead you can give it to Yeesha, to Esher, or to the little rock people so they can free themselves (here's a hint: it's option C). Oh, but they don't tell you that, because it would defeat the spirit of the quest somehow for them to tell you what they did wrong, even though it's incredibly obvious. This is imbecilic, infantile writing. The Quest for the Magic Rock, which will Test thy Strength of Character but not be Explained, because Thou Must Figure It Out Thyself? This is writing I would expect from a terrible children's fantasy TV show, not Myst. Not to mention all this info comes from Esher, a blatantly evil jerk (with a giant sign over his head saying "I REPRESENT THE REPUBLICANS" because you wanted some American politics in your Myst game) who you have no attachment to and no reason to care about except that he shows up every time you go somewhere to spew exposition at you. Your only other source of plot is Yeesha's journal, which is scattered page by page around D'ni because... why exactly? Saveedro did it deliberately because he wanted to force you to relive his experiences; what the heck is the point here? Whatever, moving on. Enough about the nonsense plot, let's hit mechanics.
So, basically every puzzle consists of "must get rock from point A to point B, can't walk there while carrying rock". And the solution is, "walk there without rock, photograph symbol there, go back, draw symbol on rock so it will teleport to point B". and the gameplay is "repeat that 3 times per world". Oh, and once per world you must use the special Little Rock People symbol for that world to get them to do something, said symbol being conveniently drawn on a wall. Wow. What a deep puzzle game we have here. Find Shiny Symbol on Wall, Draw Symbol on Rock. All you need to beat the whole game. One level it even mistook the symbol I was drawing for the "I have finished this level" symbol and skipped me past the entire world. I've heard it can happen on some of the other worlds as well. Quality. Oh, and let's talk about the photography; in Myst IV, you could take a look at your photographs and they'd go up to full screen, so you could see them as they were when you were there. This was a wonderful feature. In this, they stay in a little postcard-size box on your screen, so they're shrunk down to the point you can barely see the thing you were photographing. Ingenious. Neither movement mode works right. The WASD control is awful and you keep getting caught on tiny angles in the floor geometry. The click-to-move is slow. There are puzzles that consist of walking on narrow beams, which are a platforming mechanic(because you clearly would rather be playing Mario) if you use WASD, and are completely, laughably pointless if you turn on click-to-move so you can't fall off. There are timing puzzles, which are timed for your walking pace with WASD, and glitch out if you use click-to -move OR if you use the run button, which the devs seem completely unaware exists. You know, if I was watching this and not playing it myself it would be hitting so-bad-it's-good territory, but it's too annoying to be the one actually playing it.
What else is wrong here? Let's see, there's the fact that everyone(except you, of course) can teleport back and forth at between worlds at will; this is used mainly to let Esher pop up every three seconds to blabber nonsense at you, but has the convenient bonus of completely nullifying every previous plot in the series. Since Atrus can apparently do this, why was he ever trapped on D'ni? How does one learn to do this? It's implied it's because of having gone on The Quest, but since they state that Gehn also failed The Quest, he should've been able to do it; why not just teleport off of Riven? The entire plot of the series, up to this point, has revolved around the fact that you can't get somewhere without a book to teleport you there. Why throw that out the window just to deliver some goofy exposition? Why not, you know... put a book there, like in every other game? Maybe bring back the crystal from IV if you want to get the voice acting in? Think how much better the ice prison world would have been, if instead of Esher yacking on about "We had to lock people up here in Guantanamo, uh, I mean K'Veer, because they were totes evil! don't listen to that crazy liberal Yeesha about the horrible conditions!", we had gotten a diary from one of the inmates? Maybe one that had been falsely convicted, or deliberately gotten rid of, Monte Cristo- style? That would have given us some good worldbuilding, given us a real sense of the corruption that was supposed to have destroyed D'ni society. Instead, D'ni corruption is represented by... Esher yammering about how dinosaur cockfights are TOTALLY AWESOME, and that liberal tree-hugging Yeesha is crazy to think it's inhumane, and he totally needed to torture those little rock people because he needed information, and global warming is totally a hoax and OH GOD WHY WITH THE POLITICS AGAIN. Man this writing is bad.
I think I'll cut myself off here, if I keep rambling I'll start repeating myself, and I've burned enough time on this. As for coming at you about Uru, I didn't play it at the time, but I've got it on Steam- I can't finish it because the game crashes consistently in a certain point at one of the levels, but up till that point I'll say it's fine. WASD controls aren't helpful in my opinion, but to each his own.

velcthulhu:

lacktheknack:
What was wrong with End of Ages?

I'll start off by saying that treating Uru as a spin-off is completely and utterly wrong. The fact that it's not labeled "Myst #" does not make it unimportant, or change the fact that it's meant to be sandwiched between IV and V. It answers a LOT of stuff, such as how Bahro stones work.

I can't even respond to your text wall because it's so incredibly oversized and so much of it is utterly, blatantly wrong and it's too badly formatted for me to even start addressing it in any method that would take less than an hour. Let me just say this: I did not encounter any of the glitches that you did, I thoroughly hated Escher (that's kind of the point), the politics were lost on me, the puzzles were not particularly contrived for the most part, the fact that it's "A Quest for a Rock" is not a bad thing, Yeesha's change of attitude was completely intentional and well done by most measures (again, you should have played Uru), the choice at the end isn't nearly as obvious as you would like to pretend it is, and saying "draw the pattern, win the game" only paints you as a condescending know-it-all who clearly has a leaky memory.

When seriously critiquing, consolidation and hyperbole are NOT you're friend, especially when you're talking to someone who will instantly recognize and cut through it. And ESPECIALLY especially when your extreme brevity did nothing to lower the size of the text wall it's placed in.

You need to get a handle on the idea that no one is impressed by text walls, especially when they're seeded with hilarious complaints such as "I wanted the in-journal screenshots to be larger". They make it look like you're trying to drown the opposition, rather than debate it.

I sweared to never back any kickstarters because i hate the idea of developers begging for money and not having any kind of risk and people asking for money to make flash games that would be free otherwise but this one is really tempting

Is the overarching Myst narrative - the politics, etc. - really necessary in the first place? I know virtually nothing about it, and it actually worked against me in Uru because it felt more like I was exploring some kind of magical archaeological dig rather than a magical world. I like the simpler idea of a magical dude writing magical books in which anything can happen, but am I missing out?

achicoria3:
I sweared to never back any kickstarters because i hate the idea of developers begging for money and not having any kind of risk and people asking for money to make flash games that would be free otherwise but this one is really tempting

Cyan Worlds are kind of running out of choices.

This is the last new game they've been able to afford to make. If crowdfunding is the thing that lets them make a new full adventure game, I say that we embrace it.

Andy Chalk:
Is the overarching Myst narrative - the politics, etc. - really necessary in the first place? I know virtually nothing about it, and it actually worked against me in Uru because it felt more like I was exploring some kind of magical archaeological dig rather than a magical world. I like the simpler idea of a magical dude writing magical books in which anything can happen, but am I missing out?

Actually, knowing the history of the D'ni makes Uru feel even more like an archaeological dig.

There's nothing simple about the overarching Myst narrative, really, but it's worth learning about.

lacktheknack:
Also, you forget that Cyan made Uru/Myst Online, which is the best Myst game.

Yeah, I said it.

Come at me, bro.

Uru had some of the best Ages in the whole series. Ahnonay is still my go-to example for telling story through gameplay; the way the history behind the Age became clearer as you deduced its inner workings was just mindblowing.

MPgmr:

lacktheknack:
Also, you forget that Cyan made Uru/Myst Online, which is the best Myst game.

Yeah, I said it.

Come at me, bro.

Uru had some of the best Ages in the whole series. Ahnonay is still my go-to example for telling story through gameplay; the way the history behind the Age became clearer as you deduced its inner workings was just mindblowing.

I've always used Ahnonay as the go-to example for creative level design.

Because seriously, WOW. If Obduction includes a section like that, I'll be the happiest bunny in existence.

Almost $350,000... someone around here said they were glad that Myst-style adventures were dying, I wonder what he has to say to that...

lacktheknack:

Actually, knowing the history of the D'ni makes Uru feel even more like an archaeological dig.

There's nothing simple about the overarching Myst narrative, really, but it's worth learning about.

And if you really want to go froliking around in D'ni history, there's this thing happening, too: http://kck.st/GHSfJO

 

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