Hollow Earth

To the End

Uru does have a way of staying down, doesn’t it? The game is beginning to remind me of half-knocked-out prize fighters slurring the idea that they can go another round and I’m curious to see how long it will take before that feeling begins to spread. That said, while this death-by-atrophy which I see Cyan going through is painful and (perhaps) one of the worst ways for anything to go, I have to say this is exactly the way I think Uru should die (if, in fact, it finally does). We’re going down fighting, we’re going down doing what we can (though not as much as I’d like), and we’re not letting it get us down too much.

Let’s not fool ourselves, Cyan’s in a very bad spot from what I see. The only game remaining on their visible work-list is the Myst iPhone port. While I freely admit some large-scale company-saving product could very well be kept hidden from us because of contractual agreements, I don’t see it as likely. The iPhone port seems, to me, very reminiscent of the old cliche of re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic (though I’d say it’s more like ordering another champagne on the Hindenburg, but that’s just me).

So why might Cyan be falling? Since this doesn’t seem to be talked about much (and, thus, not seen by people that much), I’ll flesh out what I’ve heard. The MORE suspension announcement was triggered by the cutting of a major source of funding. That source being CyanTest (Cyan’s backup company started with some of the Gametap funds as a fail-safe in case Uru Live fell apart). CyanTest has, like the world economy, “cratered”. Most likely a game was pulled by a publisher due to the economic crisis (even though games have been faring well). While Cyan hasn’t stepped forward and said as much (to JWPlatt’s glee so he can ignore it), it seems glaringly obvious. Particularly when members of the community who’ve had communications with Cyan have said so.

But what might Cyan’s situation be? There are two possibilities I see. Either Cyan has another project or foresees another publisher funding work on an existing project which they think could pull them out of this rut or Cyan doesn’t and iMyst is the largest project they’re working on. A lot has been said about open sourcing the code (mostly by JWPlatt and myself, though I’m sure others are being overlooked) and I think that could develop into something big for Cyan as well as giving them some needed credibility in the hardcore gaming world. I think Cyan is foolish to keep that kind of stuff to themselves if iMyst is their only/largest project. It’s a very short-sighted way of running a business, though I realize Cyan’s probably got little choice by now.

That said, hope remains. Primarily in the area of Cyan’s game concepts either being picked up by a major publisher or Rand and co. recognizing the potential of open source in the same way they belatedly recognized the oncoming storm of User-Created Content. Every successful Cyan game has pushed. Every successful Cyan game has done something new. Whether it’s using the CD-ROM to distribute Myst, the graphical and story bonanzas or Riven, the real-time format of Uru, or the spherical panoramic views of Exile and Revelation– Cyan has a history of doing new stuff and doing it well with the possible exception of Uru and the exception of End of Ages (which, I think, provided little more than a few headlines in gaming news). I think Cyan needs to encourage dramatic changes, try new things, and explore every avenue.


Filed under: Gaming

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All posts are my opinion only and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of others.
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