Hollow Earth

The GOG Deal

Few seem to be noticing this in the community, but Good Old Games just recently announced it got a deal with Cyan to sell it’s games through their service. For less than$6, you can get Myst Masterpiece with Riven and the Manhole coming soon. This is a fantastic deal for Cyan, giving its games a new life. Cyan seems to be recognizing something very important that, if played right, could be very profitable:

Myst is Cyan’s most powerful brand. As one commenter on a Youtube video on Myst IV’s music put it:

“Man the imagery and music alone make this game alone the greatest. If this company would like to still make money they better ditch Uru and make more of Myst.

This is something Cyan should look at and take to heart. Myst is pervasive, it is cultural, and it has a huge potential audience. Another comment I’ve seen in regards to Myst is “I never played it, but I know what it is”. Cyan has multiple generations that have had varying experiences with Myst. There are precious few who don’t know about Myst.

The problem I see is that Cyan keeps trying to lure in the customers it already has. Uru has frequently sported a Myst tag (Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, Myst Online: Uru Live) and many places and people are taken from the original games. This is fine. Both games are in the same universe. But it doesn’t help Cyan diversify its fanbase. Valve has a wide fanbase because they appeal to fans of shooter games through Half-Life and fans of puzzlers through Portal.

Cyan needs to go back to Myst. This doesn’t mean “keep releasing Myst, the game”. Ports to the iPhone and other areas are great for generating interest (not to mention the game seems supremely suited to the platform) but there will ultimately come a point where that interest is lost if Cyan doesn’t capitalize on it. Not just because the games are old, but because it would look like Cyan had no ideas. The difference between Myst and Myst is Concept vs. Game or Idea vs. Product.  One Myst is the product, the game or games we refer to as Myst. It is all the Ages and the lore. The other Myst is the idea/concept/”feel” of Myst. It is steampunk and puzzle-based and has no player-initiated/rewarded violence. Myst the concept is what Cyan needs to produce. In a way, they started that with the recent Hex Isle game. Along with bringing Cosmic Osmo to a new group of consumer who never knew about it, it definitely feels like a Myst game to me. Particularly a Robyn Miller game and perhaps too much so. However:

This doesn’t mean Cyan forget about Uru. It means Uru needs to get its priority and appropriate action. In my opinion, its priority for Cyan is low, so the appropriate action is to strip the unlicensable portions of the code out and release it to the coders who will probably happily rebuild it in an afternoon. Uru’s style, however, is no longer one Cyan can viably support. Uru is an excellent off-shoot which, with the right development by the fans, could prove to be an “Imagination Center” for Myst fans. Call it “Build your own Myst” or whatever you’d like. While I doubt Age creation tools will ever be simple, the fans who want to see their worlds will stick with it and get that satisfaction. What this prioritizing should do is strengthen Uru by hurrying the open source process and getting it into the hands of the people who have the time to devote to a product without a revenue stream. We won’t get an Uru Live unless, as vid calls it, we get some Uru Love.


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