It’s not hard to see why once-legendary developers who’ve lost their way flock to Kickstarter. Second chances are rare, especially in an industry where a single dud can sink entire 100-person studios. Rebirths and reinventions, meanwhile, used to be damn near unheard of. But now it’s all possible, and wouldn’t you know it? Everyone you fondly remember from your childhood is coming out of the woodwork. A true Myst revival, however, has been conspicuously absent throughout NostalgiaFest 2013, but then, I suppose it’s only fitting that exploratory, methodical puzzling took its sweet time getting to the scene of its own potential resurgence. So then, what exactly is Obduction? Pretty much what you’d expect: a spiritual sequel to Myst and Riven, powered by shiny Unreal Engine 4 tech.
So basically, it’s Cyan’s bread-and-butter, but set in a new, utterly alien world. The idea is that you’ve been abducted, and all you can do is try to cope with this menacingly pink and purple (yes, those colors can be menacing) land. Here’s how it’ll work:
“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. Obduction is an entirely new property, delivered using one of the most powerful game development technologies available today. Obduction is an adventure game for the new millennium that stays true to the concepts that made the genre great.”
And that’s pretty much all we know at this point. Seriously. The Kickstarter features zero gameplay, instead opting for (admittedly very nice-looking) concept art and vague descriptions. And sure, I get that Cyan’s a bit late to the Kickstarter party, but that doesn’t mean it can just show up with the meager goodies it would’ve brought if it hadn’t missed the first bus. I think we all yearn for the sense of wonder and magic Myst once conjured, but, “Hi, we’re developer X, we made that one game you liked a lot before you grew hair in really strange places” doesn’t really cut it anymore.
As of writing, Obduction had cleared $100,000 of its $1,100,000 goal and then some. It’s a solid start, but we’re not exactly looking at the next Star Citizen or Torment: Tides of Numenera here. Will it ultimately pass muster? It’s tough to say at this point. But Obduction really does feel like it’d be a shoe-in if it wasn’t currently a pile of napkin scrawlings and a series of excited hand gestures. Hopefully, succeed or fail, Cyan will learn something from this, as this first attempt feels slipshod and desperate. Also, while we’re putting hopes in the hope jar, let’s go ahead and pray that Cyan’s creative spark is still glowing after being buffeted by the winds of change for years. And also, sure, you’ve been good, so I’ll see if the deities can throw in a pony too. Just for you.