If there’s one thing video game industry taught us in real life, it is the power of a surprise hit which went on to become one of the best-selling computer games in history. We are talking about Myst, an immersive game set in a fictional world developed by Cyan Worlds on 1993 which was viewed as a revolutionary game changer in the industry. Several sequels and twenty years later, the company developed Obduction as Myst’s spiritual successor.
The trailer made it clear why Obduction was called as the next Myst. You are having a nice night when something fell from the sky and moved you across the universe against your will. The next thing you knew, you are transported to a weird alien landscape and you must solve puzzles and mind games in order to get clues on how to return home. The premise rings a familiar bell to its predecessor but with ramped visuals in the form of 3D graphics. Obduction’s development was publicly announced by Cyan World through a Kickstarter campaign in October 2013. It will be available for sale on June 2016 and is programmed to be compatible with Microsoft Windows and OS X systems. This is going to be Cyan World’s take on bringing the company on its original Myst heydays.
The success of Myst spawned several sequels and the release of Myst Online: Uru Live led the creators to make a new game with its own set of rules. They chose to face the risk of losing long-time fans in the process for exchange of a video game that is not limited with the rules of the Myst franchise. Nonetheless, the Kickstarter campaign was successful and raised over $ 1.3 million from 22,000 backers.
Basically, this game is also heavily influenced by Myst and Riven but features a new story and improved gameplay. They initially wanted to make a game that is drastically different from these two but found themselves creating a similar structure with the former. Robyn Miller also announced that two developers from the original Myst game have a hand in making Obduction. Other inspirations came from Star Wars as they wanted a game with multiple worlds and existing cultures on it. Meanwhile, the idea of taking a person to another world by a portal was inspired by The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
Obduction’s visuals are created from Unreal Engine 4 which is a vast improvement from the images used in the first Myst game. This enabled Cyan to exercise their creative muscles in full and materializing their vision without much trade-offs. Realism is one they wished to attain and they are happy that this platform created for Obduction. The non-playable characters (NPC) were initially planned to be designed using the game’s engine but was subsequently scrapped off in favor of motion videos from live actors. This is to cut cost from the relatively expensive designing of NPCs similar to what they did on Riven. Miller, who created the musical score of Myst and Riven, will be in charge of composing Obduction’s soundtrack.
Myst is best known as a game that requires first-person understanding of the environment you are in instead of relying on your reflexes to win. Cyan Worlds intended to do the same with Obduction where a user is expected to be immersed in the game’s world, while solving puzzles and finding clues on how he will be home or be a part of the planet. This will also feature mind games with a wide range of difficulty and choices that will greatly affect the game’s storyline in the future. As with other first-person games, Obduction also employs the traditional navigation controls and a point and click system. The major difference this time though is the user can now pick objects and manipulate it in the environment. For instance, a lantern could be picked, rotated and have its switch on and off to find clues.
Obduction is composed of three major worlds namely Hunrath, Mofang and Villein. Hunrath is a mining town with a purple hue and a red rock that gives it an alien feel. It is an abandoned town with worn-out houses and rusted railroad. Mofang, on the other hand, is a city on a floating cliff but is the most Earth-like among the tree worlds. This world is an idea intended for Myst but Miller and his team felt it could be expanded for Obduction as a whole world. Not much is known about Villein so far except that it mostly consist of swamps.
The player sets a journey to explore five alien planets and will include three NPCs in which he can choose one to accompany him in the story. In terms of narrative, Obduction is described as more linear than Myst in order to make the users feel reassured that they are taking the route they are supposed to be on. However, it boasted multiple worlds for the players to explore them while unfolding stories told around them. Cyan Worlds made sure Obduction’s story meshed well with the environment and the environment has compelling puzzles which are not recycled from Myst or Riven. Miller promised that the new puzzles are just as esoteric and tricky as its predecessors. Hence, a gamer must be wary between distinguishing a cool scenery and one that has a major puzzle in it.
Aside from its successful Kickstarter project, Cyan Worlds is self-promoting Obduction due to budget constraints. Currently, they are releasing teasers from the game through updates in Kickstarter, Reddit and various social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. The company hopes to receive funding in order to advertise Obduction in a grander scale.
Obduction will also be made compatible on Oculus Rift after crossing their $ 1.3 million goal in Kickstarter. The game will be distributed digitally but the final retail price has yet to be decided as of the moment. Moreover, the computer system requirements to play this one is still not disclosed by Cyan Worlds because they are finalizing some of its components. Rest assured that Obduction will support French, German, Italian and Spanish other than the English language. Placing pre-orders are not yet available but the team promises to notify everyone once they are begin to mass produce the game. All that we know is it will be available in June 2016.
Based on the direction of where it is going, Obduction is set to appeal the gamers who experienced the charm of the original Myst game. However, Cyan Worlds is also taking advantage of the current technology to make some tweaks in order to gather new fans in this immersive game. This can be their second homerun in the video game industry.
Do you think Obduction will be at least as engaging as Myst? Tell us your thoughts!