Cyan, the developer of fantastical puzzle-adventure game Myst and its sequel Riven, has joined the ranks of those eschewing the third-party publisher in favour of crowdfunding.
1993's Myst, turning 20 this year, was a trailblazer. With little in the way of combat or action, it was one of the first examples of how video games can be a medium for atmosphere, storytelling and a deeply immersive world.
In the last few years, since 2010, the studio has turned its attention solely to games on the iOS platform — but now it's making a PC comeback with a game called Obscuration. It's not a sequel to Myst and Riven; rather, it's an entirely new world and story, using a similar style of gameplay, with a focus on atmosphere, narrative and discovery.
"The Obduction project will take what Cyan knows about creating deeply immersive worlds and apply it to an entirely new game with fantastic scenery, incredible architecture, compelling story and exceptional challenges," the Kickstarter project page says. "Obduction will be built with the same framework that made Cyan's earlier games such a wonderful experience: stunning landscapes, deep storyline, engaging characters, dramatic soundscapes and challenging yet intuitive puzzles."
Cyan joins an increasing number of industry veterans who have also turned away from traditional games publishing to make their own way through crowdfunding. In just over 12 months, we've seen three games — the record-smashing Kickstarter's most-funded charts., a spiritual successor to 1999's Planescape: Torment; , a new fantasy role-playing game (RPG) headed by former Planescape: Torment writer Chris Avellone; and , a spiritual successor to 1987's Mega Man — rise to the top of
Cyan, which was founded in 1987, has experienced the entire gamut of games development and publishing and is ready for a change, which Kickstarter can deliver.
"Cyan has done it all. We started with self-publishing, hand stuffing 3.5-inch floppies into boxes. We've done full-blown publisher models, where they get 88 per cent. And we've even done all kinds of hybrid publishing models between the two," the team wrote.
"Simply put, Kickstarter is a way for us to deliver a stunning experience that doesn't empty your pocketbook, while keeping us independent enough to make choices that a publisher might not understand. (Like we did with Myst 20 years ago.) Instead of a detached, corporate marketing department guaranteeing to upper management how many units they will sell to justify a budget, we'll be relying on excited fans, family, friends and even strangers who love what we're doing and want to be part of it. The funding and the budget become part of the development process instead of being coldly handed down from an accounting officer who doesn't even know the name of the product — let alone the names of any of the real people who will be making it."
Cyan is seeking US$1.1 million to fund the title, which is slated for an October 2015 release for Mac and PC for a minimum pledge of US$25. Head over to the Obduction Kickstarter page to read more and pledge your support.