October 18, 2013 in Business

‘Myst’ creators Cyan Inc. launch Kickstarter campaign to fund new game

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Cyan Inc., the Spokane company that captivated video game players 20 years ago with “Myst,” has launched a campaign to raise $1.1 million for its next big thing.

The company announced Thursday it will seek that money via a Kickstarter campaign, inviting contributors to share the cost of producing a game called “Obduction.”

CEO Rand Miller, in a video posted on Kickstarter’s website, said the company doesn’t want to do a sequel to “Myst.” But it’s hoping to build “a spiritual successor to the ‘Myst’ experience without tying ourselves to the same storyline.”

The game is a “first-person adventure that … resurrects the feeling of a player suddenly finding themselves in the middle of a new world that they feel compelled to explore, discover, solve, and become part of,” a Cyan news release said.

Cyan said it sold roughly 10 million copies of “Myst” or its successor versions from 1993 through 2012.

After developing “Myst,” “Riven” and then “Uru” in 2003, Cyan ran out of cash. Downsized to fewer than 10 employees at its Mead office, Cyan kept looking at ideas for new games but struggled to find backers.

Cyan didn’t want to concede to the market preference for games where players kill aliens or conquer land, Miller has said.

When it did approach game publishers with its ideas for a new game, Miller said, the response was lukewarm or half-hearted.

On its Kickstarter page, the company commented: “It’s not the Myst heyday – money has come and gone, but we’ve managed to stay alive as a small, independent studio through times when indie studios were falling by the wayside. And now it seems that times have changed, and indie studios are making a comeback.”

Several hours after launching the fundraising campaign, Cyan had raised more than $170,000. The Kickstarter page offers rewards depending on amounts contributed. For instance, a donor providing $10,000 gets a dinner with Rand Miller and credit in the game as a “supporting producer.”

“Obduction” will be a downloaded game, unlike “Uru,” which was primarily played online.

The company says its goal is to release the first version of “Obduction” in mid-to-late 2015.

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