Teased a year ago, Cyan Worlds are ready to unveil their next esoteric point-and-click puzzler, Firmament, and have turned to Kickstarter to raise the $1.28 million it'll take to get it finished. Weird steampunk technology, ghosts in machines and all the obscure pushing of buttons and pulling of levers you'd expect from the makers of Myst and Obduction, but this time with a focus on VR. Fortunately it won't require a fancy headset and controllers, but it seems like that's the intended way to experience the game and its tactile puzzles. Below, their Kickstarter pitch trailer.
One of the most intriguing parts of Firmament is the idea of communicating via hand gestures. You're accompanied by a little construct called the Clockwork Adjunct, a floating drone-thing that can apparently project a humanoid hologram. Unfortunately it can't talk, so if you're playing in VR you'll have to direct it to things by pointing, waving and flailing angrily. In little clips they've shown of their proof-of-concept demo, mouse and keyboard users can select from a variety of gestures and use a floating hand cursor to interact with things, but that doesn't sound nearly as fun.
While the campaign is well on its way to its $1,285,000 (£972k) target, I do find it a bit odd that they're advertising a demo (or at least their 'vertical slice' proof-of-concept build of the game) as a post-funding reward for people who put down $250 (£190) or more. While this is just personal preference, I do tend to be far more likely to back any crowdfunding effort if there's a playable demo made available early on. Cyan are a veteran studio so I don't doubt that, if funded, Firmament will be completed, but it wouldn't hurt to take a peek at their homework so far.
Still, they've racked up a good $50,000 (£38k) in funding in the time I've been writing this, so the lack of demo doesn't seem to be slowing things down. It's good to see such an influential studio (even if Myst wasn't very good) still kicking around the same old formula, but in fun new ways.
Cyan estimate that Firmament will be solid and ready to rock by July 2020. They do have crowdfunding experience, having partially funded 2016's Obduction through a Kickstarter. Putting down $30 (roughly £23) on Firmament's Kickstarter now gets you a copy of the game when it's done. Sadly, with their new VR focus, there will be no Mac version unless something changes.