January 12, 2005 in Business

Cyan Worlds ends one story, ponders new one

By The Spokesman-Review
 

FAST FACTS

Myst V

Title: Myst V: End of Ages

Expected release: Fall 2005

Platforms: Mac and PC

Estimated cost: $39

Cyan Worlds, the Spokane-based developer of the immensely popular video games Myst and Riven, said Tuesday it’s preparing the final installment in that series.

Announced at Macworld Expo, the annual game and software show in San Francisco, the new title is Myst V: End of Ages.

Although Cyan’s developers and animators expect to finish the new game this spring, the publisher, Ubi Soft, won’t release it until fall, said company spokesman Chris Brandkamp. Its price tag should be about $39, he added.

In the meantime, Cyan’s 35-person staff is ready to embark on an entirely different project that has nothing to do with the complex history and archaeology of the several Myst products released over the past dozen years, Brandkamp said.

The video and online game world today is dominated by the genre called “first-person shooters,” Brandkamp said. That term refers to games in which the player has a first-person view and action centers around aiming and shooting with multiple weapons and limited ammunition.

Brandkamp said Cyan needs to decide how to approach its mission of designing high-quality entertainment within that marketplace.

“We’re not going to say we’re doing a first-person shooter. The question for us is, can entertainment be entertaining without ripping someone’s heart out?” he said.

Brandkamp declined to give more details about the new project, other than to say it should not be called a game.

After releasing Myst in 1993 and its sequel, Riven, in 1997 — two of the best-selling games of that decade — the company proceeded to develop a series of related video projects. It released URU: Ages Beyond Myst in late 2003. That project, which took about three years to complete, never turned into the success the company expected.

The upshot has been to force Cyan to move its products out the door more quickly. “We understand today that entertainment has to be made quickly,” said Brandkamp, the company’s vice president of business affairs.

Myst V: End of Ages is more a throwback to the initial impulse behind the first Myst project, Brandkamp added. It relies on strong visual storytelling and interesting, captivating landscapes and environments. Unlike some of the series releases, Myst V should be less complex and less likely to leave players struggling to solve puzzles, he said.

The company is also set to release, sometime in 2005, a version of Myst just for the Pocket PC system, said Brandkamp.

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