As I wrote about earlier, I have decided to branch out a little bit from my usual coverage of multi-user, social VR platforms and virtual worlds, and I’m going to start to look at some non-combat, open-world exploration and puzzle games such as Eastshade, which really caught my attention recently with its beautiful scenery and refreshing, non-combat-focused gameplay.
Of course, the first truly popular and successful game of this nature was Myst, first released by Cyan in 1993, which became the best-selling PC game of all time until it was eclipsed by The Sims in 2002 (source: Wikipedia). Cyan has an impeccable pedigree when to comes to building and releasing these type of games. It’s a niche market which they basically created from scratch with their evocative, mind-bending puzzle games that were so different from all the first-person shooters out there. Their games have attracted quite a following over the past 25 years!
Well, guess what? Today, Cyan launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to raise the necessary funds to create a brand new, open-world exploration/puzzle game, called Firmament. It’s being designed from the ground up to support users in VR headsets (Oculus Rift and HTC Vive), as well as Windows desktop users. Here’s their promotional video:
Cyan’s desire is to raise US$1,285,000 in only 31 days, a very ambitious goal! But if any company has the talent to pull this off, it is Cyan. I truly enjoying playing Myst, Riven and the other games in the Myst series back in the day, and I have also worked my way through their previous VR-capable puzzle game, Obduction, in 2017, which was extremely challenging and rewarding to play! So signing up for this Kickstarter is almost a no-brainer for me.
Here’s an earlier teaser trailer issued last March, which gives a bit more of the backstory:
This is an All-or-Nothing Kickstarter, meaning that Cyan has to meet their fundraising target in order to collect all the money. If they fail, everybody keeps their original pledged amounts. But I don’t think Cyan will fail. It’s actually been quite entertaining to watch as the live update of the total number of backers and the total dollar amount pledged inch their way up over the course of the day:
Raising the first 15% of your goal in less than 24 hours is a truly remarkable and enviable achievement! At this rate, they will reach their goal in a week!
So, if like me, you have fond memories of playing Myst and Riven, you might want to consider making a financial pledge to support this project. There are various levels of support, ranging from a small contribution of US$7.00 towards keeping the development team in coffee and donuts, all the way up to the highest-level full-blown prize package for a US$5,000 pledge:
You’ll join us for the 20th anniversary of Mysterium, the fan-based Myst-Con held at our headquarters in Spokane this year. Spend a day (Thursday, August 2nd) at Cyan with the team as an honorary Cyantist. Tour the studio, get a look behind the scenes, ask questions of the team, then join Rand [Miller, Cyan’s CEO] for an exclusive private group dinner! This package includes dinner, airfare (up to $800), and four nights’ lodging. We’ll also add your likeness to the game (but we can’t tell you where)!
Here’s a link to their Kickstarter where you can get all the details.