Kickstarter: Obduction by Cyan, Inc.

Video games. They have a reputation. A reputation for being violent. Mindless. All reflex and no thought.

Enter Myst and Riven. Both released over 20 years ago, they were the most popular PC games of their time. While Myst wasn’t my favorite, Riven, the sequel, is one of my top ten favorite video games of all time. There were four sequels to these two games. Exile. Uru. Revelation. End of Ages. I really liked Uru and I loved Revelation. However, none of them really lived up to the popularity of Myst and Riven. Regardless, over the years that the games within the Myst series were released, they were a refreshing break from the violent and mindless monotony among the other available games.

Essentially, the Myst games are puzzle games. But they are so much more than that. They have a compelling story. But the story isn’t told to you through narration. You have to figure out the story. You have to decide who to trust. Some of the story is given to you, yes, but it’s given to you through books that you pick up along the way, books that you have to read on your own. Games that encourage reading and literacy? Totally unreal!

Books are not only important in revealing the story, they are the central concept. “Linking Books” are books, written in the ancient language D’ni, that transport you to whatever world (called an Age) the book describes. I really love this concept. Wouldn’t it be interesting if Cyan created a video game that allowed the gamer to do just that? To merely describe an environment in a Linking Book, translate it to D’ni, and “link” to that Age and explore it?

It’s no question that Cyan should create another game. It’s been eight years now since the last game. Despite that the games were graphically ahead of their time, you’d better believe that video game technologies have improved dramatically since 2005. Since 2005, however, Cyan, Inc., the creator of the Myst series, hasn’t done anything apart from porting their old games, specifically Myst and Riven, to new hardware—such as iPhones, iPods, and iPads.

Now, though, Cyan, Inc. wants to try again. Not with another Myst sequel. Not with the “Linking Book” concept. But, with a similar concept to the beginning of Myst. Upon clicking on that first Myst Linking Book, you are dropped on Myst Island. You have to explore it. You have to figure out why you are there. You have to figure out where “there” is.

That’s exactly the same concept that Obduction uses. Instead of a Linking Book—which I will sorely miss—a “seed” lands near you on Earth and “abducts” you. It brings you to an alien environment. Again, you have to explore your environment, figure out why you are there, where “there” is, and all the rest. While I will miss, as I said, the Linking Book concept, this new “spiritual sequel” to the Myst series intrigues me. But, just as Atrus needed help from the Stranger so many times throughout the Myst series, Cyan, Inc. needs our help to make this new project a reality.

“Obduction” will only happen if Cyan makes $1.1 million by this week’s end. How? Through Kickstarter. How much is left before they meet their goal? Well, right now, just over 210,000, with less than six days left.

I donated $45 to the project earlier this week. As a reward, I will be receiving the following:

You’ll receive our Obduction digital Strategy Guide, a Digital Art of Cyan Artbook, and the digital version of the Obduction soundtrack. (+ all previous rewards)

Despite that it’s all digital and no physical, I feel that my donation is totally worth it, especially knowing that I am helping to make this project a reality. I’m optimistic that Cyan will meet its goal, but it’s a cautious optimism. That’s partially the reason I’m writing this article: I want you to make a donation too. I want you to help make this project happen.

Need more convincing? Check out the concept art below! What’s this? A farmhouse set in an alien environment? Why is it there? A woman—but what is she wearing? Who is she? What do the labels say that are blacked out?

These are questions that need answering. Questions that can only be answered through playing “Obduction”, a game that could change the way people think about video games—again. Go. Donate. Then after you do, comment below!