Thanks everyone! I have to go, but let's do lunch. I'll have my people call your people.

Dear reddit,

Hey, how the heck are you? This is Rand. Gosh, it's been like exactly twenty years since my brother and I did a swell game called Myst that did pretty well. The company we started (Cyan) has done a few swell things since then, and we've got a really swell Kickstarter project called Obduction that… well… if you could just go ahead and empty your wallet on it that'd be really swell. Anyway, hope everything is swell. Big hugs to the kids.

Please write back, and feel free to ask me any dang thing!



P.S. I've enclosed a photo link because I know you're always so skeptical!


By request - a link to our Obduction Kickstarter

Comments: 522 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

supertechman72 karma


mysterm96 karma

Hey RAWA's bro. Nice to reddit you. Little-known fact - the "waughmchchch" sound came from my brother's mouth. That's right, he just made the noise and processed it a bit, and now we're stuck with it - FOREVER! :)

supertechman7 karma


mysterm8 karma

I think a fourth Myst book would not be Wingrove necessarily. We certainly enjoyed working with him, and he brought his voice to the story, but it's been long enough that a fresh voice might be interesting.

Copperman63 karma

Hi Rand,

Thanks for doing this AMA. I adore The Book of Atrus, and to an only slightly lesser extent, The Book of Ti'ana. Is there any desire to publish a fourth book in the Myst series?

Also, what are the chances of seeing one or any of the books being made into a film? I know there was some progress in getting The Book of Ti'ana filmed but I haven't heard much about that lately.

Thanks again for answering our questions; Myst and Riven are bar none my favorite video games.

mysterm54 karma

Yeah - we love 'em too - all that stinking story. So we want movies. That'd be great! But the Hollywood puzzle to us is like the mazerunner puzzle to you - someday we'll figure out the way through. Someday!

As for the fourth book - as RAWA says, "We've got a huge stove, and that's still on one of the back burners."

Hovenbeet14 karma

Can we all just agree that the Book of Marrim is probably never going to happen?

mysterm46 karma

Oh ye of...

UncleJeff54 karma

I was around ten years old when I played Myst and fell in love with it. I mailed a fan letter to Cyan and later received a phone call from someone at your office, answering my questions (and politely declining my offer to appear as an actor in the sequel). That blew my mind as a kid, and still kind of does today. Thank you so much for showing that level of attention to your fans!

There was a rumor for a long time that a real-life Myst attraction was being planned. Did that ever move beyond the conceptual phase into actual planning? What was the reason it didn't go forward?

mysterm83 karma

I wonder who called you - probably me. Yeah, I'll take credit for that. And yes - a real life Myst island would have been great! My brother and I hiked around an empty island at Disney World that could have been turned into something Myst-like. But big corporate stuff seemed to get in the way. We could have made some wicked-cool real life puzzles that no one would have ever found their way out of.

compchrisworks40 karma

Hi Rand!

Myst has been the defining game for me for a very, very long time (and it is my favorite series of games--ever). Thank you and everyone involved in the creation of Myst and the complex lore behind it for this wonderful series.

This is a simple question with a, likely, very complex answer.

How did the idea behind Myst, and the adventure start? Were you mauling over ideas, or did you have the concept in the back of your head for many years before you were able to start on the game?

I'm very excited for Obduction!


mysterm44 karma

Myst was more of an evolution and coagulation - it coagulated from our experiences as kids - books, games, movies. And it evolved from our earlier worlds - The Manhole, Osmo, Spelunx. The worlds we built got more and more extensive and sophisticated. In other words - they just kind of happened. So simple.

TheRealKaveman29 karma

Been a Myst fan since 2003, ironically around the time Uru went kaput for the first time. I'm stoked out of my mind for a new IP from the folks that challenged gamers with stories and worlds unlike any other. Speaking of challenging, what's the estimated difficulty level of Obduction? Myst hard? Riven hard? Nara hard???

"Thanks" doesn't begin to cover my level of thanks, but thanks!

mysterm35 karma

Hard like Riven, easy like Myst, easy like Uru... wait, how smart are you?

rook24v28 karma

Hi Rand! Thanks for Myst! I'm sure you get this alot, but that was one of the defining games of my youth. It must have been 6 or 7 of us, gathered around the computer, playing Myst in the dark with the speakers up, being scared and thrilled and amazed like never before.

How did the rendering logistics work during creating Myst? I imagine that back in the day, rendering that much 3D took many hours, was it done on your own development machines or did you farm it out?

mysterm60 karma

Myst was kind of crazy. We had numerous Mac Quadras that would render (raytrace) round the clock. We called it - feeding the beasts - and I remember the feeing of panic if any one of them stopped for some reason. But we still had to try to simplify the models to speed things up. That's why the Myst Island images are many times missing shadows - because we had to hide the trees that were behind the camera in order to expedite the rendering. And the final images were delivered via car - on Magneto Optical discs that we called MOs - about 128 meg each I think. The internet was too slow.

And Riven got even crazier - SGI workstations and servers and 80 meg textures. But that's another story.

Hovenbeet35 karma

We like stories. Go ahead, tell the other story.

mysterm30 karma

Riven meant lots of Myst money, and not many limits. So we went big with equipment and software - SGI workstations running Softimage. We bought a server (size of a washing machine) that had multiple processors and room for lots of hard drives for rendering (a whole new beast to feed.) Those first few workstations with software and the server cost us more than the original estimate of Myst's entire production cost. Yikes!

Funny story: We maxed out the server hard drive capacity and had to order another couple drives in an expansion bay. A week later a semi-truck arrives in the parking lot and they hoist a HUGE (like a couple refrigerators sized) SGI box out and onto the parking lot. We immediately went into "stop, there's some kind of mistake. We only ordered a couple hard drives. mode. We opened up the giant metal box and it's got massive amounts of racks for probably hundreds of hard drives - and there are are two hard drives installed - like two compact cars in a 20 story parking garage.

tazelhoff25 karma

Hi Rand. I’d like to start by saying that you’ve been a big influence in my life. My brother and I are starting game development together, and we both draw inspiration from what you and your brother created. Thank you for that.

Now for the question: In your Kickstarter video, you mention ‘that feeling’ of being dropped onto the dock of Myst Island, not knowing why you’re there or what to do, and this being important to your new project. Being one of the creators, you obviously couldn’t have experienced that first-hand in Myst. In what other games or experiences have you felt this feeling, or something similar?

mysterm52 karma

Oh yeah - I remember the first time I had that feeling. It was a long, long time ago. Really, really long time ago. Like time-sharing-computers long ago. There was a text adventure game called (creatively) "Adventure" that just spit out sentences and then waited for you to type in what you wanted to do.

"You're standing at the end of road before a small brick building. Around you is a forest. A small stream flows out of the building and down a gully."

go north

And there you have it. I was hooked. No instructions. No maps. Just figuring out where I was and how things fit together.

Trekluver24 karma

Hi Rand! First let me say you are one of the few "celebrities" (if you can call a game developer a celebrity) of whom I genuinely love all of their work. Thank you so much to both you and Robyn and Cyan for creating such a live changing game experience for me.

As far as questions go, when did the idea for Obduction first come about? How has it evolved leading up to the Kickstarter? And also, I remember seeing the Riven script once upon a time... does Obduction have a written script ready to go, or is this something that will come along later down the road after the Kickstarter?

Thanks again!

mysterm36 karma

And you're one of the few people that has called me a "celebrity". You're welcome. We've got design images, and story arches, and gameplay elements to start with. We still have plenty of items to flesh out - including the script for Obduction.

michfreak30 karma

Oh come on, anyone who has been in a GAP ad selling khakis is a celebrity.

mysterm8 karma

My daughters laugh so hard at that GAP ad now.


Here it is - enjoy...

MMX222 karma

I grew up playing the Myst games and I had no idea you played Atrus until recently. I've got two questions.

  1. Have you ever been recognized in public for playing Atrus?

  2. Did it feel weird playing Atrus in the Myst games that weren't made by Cyan?

Thanks for making Myst! I hope Obduction is successful!

mysterm60 karma

  1. Not that I know of - I'm sure my throngs of admirers were just being polite. :)
  2. I felt nauseous and sick and uncomfortable and weird. I NEVER want to be an actor - I'm way too inhibited. Glad those are over. Thanks for reminding me. Ugh.

Funny story about Myst III acting - I had to scream out about the fire at one point. I kept yelling, but I'm so inhibited that it sounded like I was excited about a barbecue. Finally the director (Michel Kripalani) just lied to me and said we had it - but convinced me to do one more over the top. That was the one they used - and it still sounded lame. Ugh - someone get me some Pepto.

MMX26 karma

I'm sorry to hear that you didn't like acting and for accidentally reminding you of unpleasant memories. The last thing I wanted to do as a fan was make you feel uncomfortable. :(

mysterm9 karma

I'm over it. I just laugh about it these days. :)

WingDairu21 karma

Hey, Rand. Wing Dairu from The Cavern Today.

I've heard that you weren't terribly thrilled with always having to play Atrus in the FMV scenes for MYST, Riven, and Exile. If you had your pick, who WOULD have played him?

mysterm42 karma

Keanu Reeves, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Chris Hemsworth, Russell Crowe, you know - people who look just like me, but can act just a bit better.

Dain4220 karma

Thanks so much for coming on! MYST was my very first non-edutainment gaming experience, and it is still one of my favorite games ever. For that matter the first MYST novel was one of the first books I read more than once, back when I was in 5th grade. Your game is more than worthy of being inducted into the collection at MoMA, as it recently was.

How do you feel about having something you've done recognized in this manner, and what can you say about the recognition that video games are finally getting as art?

Is "art" something you intentionally thought about when making the game?

(And on an extreme side note: I already saw the FAQ on your page, and I've already pledged, but I would like to add my voice to the chorus asking for Linux support if it should turn out to be technically possible with the Unreal 4 engine.)

mysterm26 karma

MoMA - pretty amazing! To have our work in a couple museums is humbling, and wait... I think it means I'm old. Actually the thing that is most gratifying is that MoMA and the Smithsonian both want to preserve games that might just stop working otherwise. It's nice to think our work can live a bit longer.

And, rest assured we will happily support Linux when/if Unreal Engine 4 gets it. And they know. And thanks for your support!

yttrium1320 karma

What was your opinion of Myst III and IV - how faithful were they to what you might have done? Also, I'm not sure how much this is in your hands, but any chance they could make it to digital stores?

Speaking of which, some of Myst IV's interface features (such as tapping objects) may be worth borrowing for your new game.

mysterm37 karma

You must realize that I have some diplomatic obligations in this public forum. With that in mind - they're my favorite games of all time!!!

Our ability to bring them back is complicated by the complexity of who owns the pieces of them. You don't really want to hear all about that stuff - trust me. But we're trying.

ArtEngineer8 karma

Do you have an opinion on Myst V?

mysterm14 karma

This could be a very long answer, but I'll try to keep it short...

Myst V was bittersweet experience for us. Ubi had cancelled Myst Online:Uru and in many ways left us hanging. We had over a year'w worth of content in the production pipeline that was going to roll into Myst Online after it went live. (If you don't understand that last sentence you'll have to search to find out what Myst Online was all about.) We made much of that content into the Uru expansion packs, but we had some amazing designs for ages even beyond that. So to keep the company fires burning we contracted to produce the final Myst episode.

It was a very different production environment then we were used to. It was a tiny budget, very short time frame, and we were just the contract labor. But we did what we could to produce a memorable experience. Keeping spirits up was important, but when I wrote and voiced the introduction it was emotional - and I think it comes through.

poplopo19 karma

Is Obduction going to be compatible for the Oculus Rift? :D

Dhsu22 karma

I would give Cyan ALL my money for an Oculus version of ANY of their games.

mysterm54 karma

How much money do you have? Maybe we can work something out. :)

Stumpledumpus18 karma

Hi Rand, I'm a motion graphics animator and I can trace my love of video and animation back to that little stop-motion mini-game in Spelunx. I just wanted to say thanks and show my appreciation for a fantastic kids' game that you probably don't hear mentioned much. I adored that game as a kid.

My question is, what is your favorite game environment or Age that you have designed so far?

mysterm49 karma

My favorite Age is Ahnonay - it's an Age in Myst Online (Uru). It is by far my favorite Age, and my only regret is that I can't play it because I know too much.

But feel free to try it yourself - it's free.

keithlord17 karma

Hey Rand. I have a question for you. If the D'ni were actually goats do you think their kingdom would have fallen?

(told you I had a goat realated question).

mysterm46 karma

The kingdom would have fallen, but the goats would have stayed on their feet - they are amazingly surefooted.

Side note: I used to have goats. They liked to climb up on my back and shoulders when I would bend down. Then they started to like to climb on my car. Then their kingdom fell.

uberlad16 karma


mysterm41 karma

Fail gracefully. You have to be prepared to fail and not be discouraged. Failing is a gift that you can gain experience for the next thing.

And copper causes Alzheimer's.

And a little sunshine is good for you.

FriendGuy25515 karma

Hey Rand. Thank you for doing this AMA.

First off, I just wanted to say that I can’t even begin to tell you what a profound influence Myst and Riven had on me growing up. The idea of exploring, creating, and building worlds is still something that appeals me deeply to this day. It’s definitely had a hand in sparking many of the passions I carry on into adulthood: writing, game design, history, language, and especially exploration. There have been a lot of movies, games, tv shows, and books I’ve been passionate about over the years, but the Myst series was definitely one of the earliest, as well as one of the biggest.

In fact, I still remember the first time I ever saw Myst. I was maybe five or six years old at the time, I noticed my Dad playing something on the computer. Now my Dad usually wasn’t one to play computer games, so naturally I was curious as to what could possibly be grabbing his attention so much. When I asked him, he told me it wasn’t anything I’d be interested in. Not being one to be told whether I would or wouldn’t be interested in something, I just continued to watch him play anyways. I’d played computer games before, but this was something different entirely. There was a certain weight, a kind of heady realism diffused by just how alien everything actually was that sparked something in me. After that day, whenever he’d play I’d join him in the computer room and try to help him out with those super difficult puzzles. Of course, being six or seven I never actually helped him that much, but just going on that journey with him anyways is a memory I’ll always cherish.

After he’d finished the game, he let me play it myself for a while. After practically memorizing the game, I started to grow bored of playing the same thing over and over, and eventually just ran out of things to explore. Then there was the day a few years later where he came home carrying a suspicious looking bag from the computer store. When he called me over and pulled out the box for Riven I jumped for joy at the prospect of yet another adventure. This time, though, he actually let me play the game myself on occasion. I still remember discovering the eye with the number five by the Sunner’s rocks on Jungle Island. I was so proud of myself for finding it I scribbled it down dutifully in that journal that came with the original Myst game (which I still have, by the way, complete with doodles and makeshift linking panels drawn in by yours truly…).

I played the rest of the Myst games on my own (well…with a strategy guide mostly) but nothing could beat the experience of playing the first two with my Dad. There really weren’t a lot of things we particularly “bonded” over when I was growing up, but that was definitely one of them, and for that I’m incredibly grateful.

To shift away from my fanboying for a moment, I guess the question that I wanted to ask is about that ever elusive Myst movie, namely whether that was still a “thing” or not. I know there was a fan effort to put together an adaptation of The Book of Ti’anna that had a lot of fan support, but I read about some pretty major shake-ups in who was in charge and how things were being handled creatively. I’m not sure how much you’re actually involved in the creative process on this (not a lot as I understand it) but I was wondering if maybe you had any info on its status of the project at this particular juncture.

As a side note, a part of me wants it to have fallen through…not just because of what I’ve heard was going on, but because making a movie or TV series set in the Myst universe is one of my dream projects, and I want to get there first. :)

So, yeah, I’m definitely eager to see what you guys cook up with Obduction. Thanks again for all the memories, and I hope things go well for you guys in the coming years.

mysterm12 karma

Wow, you're so welcome! Great story! It means a lot to hear such positive feedback.

thatguynamedmike15 karma

Mr. Miller, I just wanted to personally say thank you for crafting these brilliant worlds and narratives that you've given us already. Although I backed Obduction as soon as I heard about it and very much look forward to that game, playing Myst and Riven when I was younger helped shape who I am as a gamer and an individual. Even now on subsequent playthroughs I'm still amazed at the depth of the culture in Riven and the sheer difficulty of the puzzles. Putting that much time, effort, and love into a game is something that's become a bit rare these days. I appreciate that you guys always take such great care to reward your players with a rich experience. I will be a Cyan-tist until the day I die.

As for my question, has the Book of Marrim seen any progress recently? I'm extremely eager to read more of those books (and play Obduction). Thanks for reading!

mysterm20 karma

Thanks for the encouragement and kind comments. Marrim is far back simmering on our gigantic stove. But hopefully it'll be worth the wait.

Metajoker15 karma

I had not so much a question, as a message I've wanted to give to you my whole life. Not sure I'll ever get another opportunity, so here goes.

When I was a young boy, my family relationship was often strained. I was too young to really understand why, but my dad had a job which caused him a lot of stress, and which made it difficult for us to bond at all; he was either not in the mood to do things with me, or he was simply too tired. My older sister was also going through a lot at the time, and she didn’t particularly want to play with an annoying little brother. I was a really lonely kid at that time.

I wasn’t more than 5 when my dad first picked up Myst in early ‘97. He wasn’t, and isn’t, a gamer of any kind, but like with many other adults at the time, Myst pulled him in in a way that no other game had before or since. I remember that he got me and my sister to sit next to him when he would play, since it was an activity that didn’t exhaust him after a long day of work. I have fond memories of sitting on his lap, pointing out clues and ideas for how to solve the puzzles (though I wasn’t particularly clever) and even drawing in a little pad book to solve the infamous maze puzzle (we couldn’t hear the little noises you put in, and I didn’t even realize they existed until about 2 years ago). Over many days and hours of my sister and me arguing over how to solve a puzzle, and my dad calmly helping us sort it out, we managed to beat the game and I was sorely disappointed. I wanted more of it, so that my dad and I could keep playing together.

As you can imagine, I was incredibly pleased when I learned that there WAS a sequel, Riven. My dad really enjoyed playing Myst with us and immediately bought its successor. I remember how shocked we all were at how beautiful it was, and how excited we were to beat it. The specifics of our time playing Riven are faded by now, but I do remember looking forward each day to playing it with my daddy. My dad had to buy a walkthrough for certain parts near the end, but always made sure that my sister and I had time to figure things out beforehand. I remember that the first time we played through, we screwed up and Atrus and the Stranger both died, and I was shocked; I’d never died in a video game before, having grown up with Nintendo, but I remember my dad simply going back and letting my sister and I figure out how to end it differently. In the end, we beat that game as well.

A few years past, and my sister and I still had issues getting along with one another. My dad was having an even more stressful time at work and this reflected in our home lives. I remember replaying Myst and Riven on my own and eventually picking up more games, though none of them gave me quite the same feeling. It was only in mid-2000, when I read a technology magazine for kids (the name escapes me) that featured TIntin, my favorite comic, that I found an article about the third Myst game, Exile. I remember being so excited that, in my eagerness, I ran to my dad and begged him to take me to Best Buy to get it. We couldn’t find it and, since I wasn’t an internet user back then, I had no way of knowing when it came out. Eventually, in late 2001, the game was released and once more my father, sister and I connected in a way that we have not quite been able to through any other means. Myst IV and onward, I played by myself since my father and sister had moved on, but I’ll never forget how your games made my childhood what it was.

Gosh, that was a long message; I guess what I really wanted to say, all in all, is thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for bringing my family together in a time where I felt so alone. Thank you for influencing my life today, as an aspiring programmer and musician, and for bringing memories to me that I will cherish forever, and which allowed me to see my father for the wonderful man he is in a time when the unseen life he led outside our house had made me forget. I don’t know if you’ll actually read this, but either way, getting the chance to say these things has brought it all back. I can’t wait to play Obduction and relive the happiness you gave me.

TL;DR: The Myst series brought my family together in a way that nothing else ever during the time I needed it most. Thank you.

mysterm14 karma

Wow! This is what makes anything in life worthwhile - just simply making things a little better for someone, somewhere. It's so wonderful that you could take the time to tell your story and make my day! Small jewels like this are soooo encouraging in our mostly corporate, antisocial, distant society - and very frankly - it's the stuff that makes me want to do even better. Thank YOU!

col0300413 karma

Rand, What plans do you have during the kickstarter? More video posts of art and game design, stretch goals, enhanced rewards, interviews with gaming news outlets, etc?

mysterm16 karma

We've got a few things for an Obduction update later this week.

TaiTheOracle12 karma

Hello Rand, a beginning game developer here. What would you say the most important thing for a new developer to remember as they go into making their first game? Thanks!

mysterm20 karma

Fail gracefully. You have to be prepared to fail and not be discouraged. Failing is a gift that you can gain experience for the next thing.

And copper causes Alzheimer's.

And a little sunshine is good for you.

macnbc12 karma

Hi Rand,

I've been a huge fan of Cyan ever since I was a kid playing The Manhole, Cosmic Osmo, and Spelunx. I'm so happy that your company is still around and getting back into doing what it does best!

What do you feel Myst's legacy in the video game industry has been? What games from the last decade or so do you feel have come closest to the ideas and artistic vision that Myst had?

mysterm24 karma

I think Myst's legacy might have had more influence in the Indie gaming area than the mainstream. I'd like to think that current titles like "The Room", "Gone Home", "Dear Esther", and amazingly Jonathan Blow's "The Witness" may have some little bit of DNA from Myst. I'd be really pleased to have inspired such amazing examples of progressive interactive. If they weren't - please don't burst my bubble. :)

GregLittlefield12 karma

Hey Rand, thanks for the AMA, swell idea. Is there a possibility Obduction could be the first episode of a new series? Not like "do you have any precise plans about this yet" but more like "will you leave that door open in the story & universe or is it definitely a one time thing"?

mysterm23 karma

Thanks for your swell question. I think I would answer this one the same way with Obduction that I would have answered it with Myst. We're taking one at a time, but the story will certainly allow more.

xerafenix12 karma

Hi Rand, Thanks for your time. I know that exploration of an environment is one of the key ingredients to the Myst series and will also be used for Obduction, however I was wondering, how are you hoping to use the new UE4 to not only expand on that theme, But with new technology and a new franchise what other gameplay elements can we look forward to in the new game?

Also in addition, Your games really inspired me to become a 3D artist. What advice can you give to someone looking to join the industry? Being that you have experienced all sides of production, is it better to be indie, have a producer or a mixer of both? Thanks again!

mysterm17 karma

Starting from scratch in a realtime 3D environment means that we can build the world (puzzles, story, gameplay, etc.) taking advantage of that dynamic nature. Adding in UE4's added capabilities, we're kind of drooling around here with the potential for what that means for exploring. (We did Myst V in our own realtime engine, and we had plenty of constraints with existing storyline, characters, puzzles, etc. - not to mention the fact that our development timeline was extremely constrained. It's nice to breath deeply.)


As for what's better advice: It's better to work. Just get started and keep going. (And thanks so much for the support and kind comments.)


Drool alert -

Triptik11 karma

Hello Rand, Real quick I want to say thank you very very much for all the love/work you put into MYST/Riven.

Words cannot fully describe accurately, all the funny little ways MYST and Riven have influenced my life. I discovered the games at an early age, and continue to notice their influence even today. In many ways, I find myself visiting MYST often. Not necessarily playing the game, but more like visiting in spirit. It's a feeling that I can only describe as the feeling one gets from simple things, MYST things. Every-time a door unlocked and opened; the clicks and clacks of the metal tumbler, or climbing a ladder, starting a car, or heck, even the simple act of turning a valve. The excitement you get in your gut sometimes when you are walking alone, or being in someplace you probably shouldn't be.

I guess what I'm getting at is... to me, MYST is a way of living. It is an unquenchable thirst for discovery and exploration, a way viewing the world in detail and finding joy in simple (often overlooked) things.

If I could ask a question, for Rand, and other Redditors, it would be: "Do you also find yourself living in MYST?"

Thank you very much for taking the effort to do this AMA, it has been a blast reading the responses so far. :)

mysterm4 karma

What a great way to express it. There are times when I find myself tuned to the world around me, but I suppose I should try to live more in the Myst! Nice!

Teknobubba11 karma

Rand, So you're going to do something not done in a game environment before? Other than the ability to make smores, I could only think of the opportunity new speech engines have given us to speak to our computers and have them respond with spoken words, or actions. Will Obduction players be able to question in game characters using their voice, rather than keyboard or mouse input? That would leave our hands free for the smores!

mysterm15 karma

and the donuts.

nanaigamo10 karma

Hi Rand, What inspired you to make The Manhole? I remember playing the 1995 version as a kid. It was really bizarre in the most wonderful way.

mysterm14 karma

It started as an idea for an interactive book, but Robyn (my brother) drew the image of the manhole and fire hydrant - and then the image of the manhole opening with a vine growing out - and well... by that time we realized we didn't really want to turn the page - we wanted to explore the world.

roland19d10 karma

Rand -

Loved all of the Myst games. Thanks for the pain-staking detail and puzzles that are actually challenging. Out of curiosity will Jack Wall be involved in Obduction should it reach funding target goals? I found the music of all Myst titles to be so conducive to the mood of those games that I cannot imagine playing them without it.


mysterm15 karma

We've got someone lined up for the music - but I just can't talk about it yet. Stay tuned! (Pun intended.)

Thanks for your support!

tournesols9 karma


mysterm20 karma

Funny, but books were almost an accident. We originally designed it with the idea of some kind of video screen. But when we sat down to firm up our ideas on that and decided to replace it with books - well, we just knew it was the perfect portal.

Xtorting9 karma

Hello Rand,

I first want to thank you for taking the time to answer your fans questions in this AMA, it's a real honor to be able to talk with you. I only have one question (sorry for the long quote).

Within the "Official Strategy Guide" for Riven, Richard Vander Wende was asked about gaming and his tastes. He said:

Robyn and I are not really into games of any kind. We're more interested in building worlds. To us, Myst and Riven are not 'games' at all. We certainly didn't think of them as such [the more] we were working on Riven. They're more like virtual reality theme parks or something ... I wish there was a better term for these things because I think the word 'game' is kind-of misleading. Especially to those non-gamers who are looking at these things from the outside, trying to figure out if it's something that they might enjoy or not.

  1. Do you believe Obduction will share this same type of philosophy and mind-set that Richard described for Riven? One where the game itself becomes so alive, that the experience doesn't feel like a command, but an extension of your own reality.

Thank you again for potentially answering my question and for everything you've created. Your games (and especially this quote) has resonated with me for over a century and gives me chills every time I read-through that Q&A. Riven and Myst set a new standard for gaming-reality that I don't believe has yet to be matched. I hope Obduction reaches every goal possible and resets the standard for video game story telling. Developers today could use a reminder that games can be very complex and successful without killing, shooting, death, gore, etc.

mysterm13 karma

Yep! That's my philosophy as well - for a long time. That's why Richard was such a great fit for Riven. We've actually had to force ourselves to say "game" a few times because we feel like we're overusing the word "world".

zer0k3wl8 karma

Do you still have a Channelwood poster kicking around somewhere that I can buy from you guys? :)

mysterm28 karma

I've got one hanging in my basement, but it'll cost you $1.1 million.

ricochetintj7 karma

Hey Rand Spokane native here. Do you expect Cyan to be hiring as a result of Obduction? If so what kinds of positions?

mysterm12 karma

Don't want to jump the gun, but yeah - we'll need just a couple more people. We're trying to keep the team small, because it's much more personal, and everyone feels much more vested in making something wonderful.

Erevador6 karma

I've read that Tolkien's works had a big influence on you and Robyn growing up. How did that inspiration play into the creation of your digital worlds?

mysterm18 karma

Tolkien was inspirational in his ability to FULLY create a new world. He went beyond the elements that were just part of the story, and actually designed huge amounts of the world that were just "behind-the-scenes" information that would help keep him consistent and make the "visible" part of the world seem so much more real.

In simpler terms - he created an entire universe, and then punched smaller windows into pieces of it that the public could look through.

RachelDuskleaf6 karma

Hi Rand,

Thanks for doing this. I was wondering if you could speak some about the development history behind Obduction. Back in 2005-2006 we heard some rumors about a Project Latus. Is Obduction derived from the work in this period, or was Latus something different?

mysterm16 karma

My pleasure doing this.

Over the years, we've had few ideas that have bubbled to the top of our internal favorites list. Obduction and Latus are two of those. Sooo... no Obduction is not Latus.

RAWA's code name for these (they go WAY back) were at one point...

Myst 5 - Something Else Obduction - Something Else Entirely Latus - Something Completely Different

That's from back in the 2004 time frame.