Thursday, March 1, 2018

Cyan announces Firmament

Everyone around me just started yelling about a new Cyan game, so I have to jump off the bridge too.
Cyan has a teaser site and trailer for something called Firmament.
In their last public chat, Rand Miller said "...we're going to reveal almost nothing about it until it ships." Maybe he was kidding about that, or maybe this is all we're going to get until launch day. (No launch day is listed.) I'd be okay with that.
What we know is the blurb on the site:
The game of Firmament is a resplendent, magical, journey — a monumental voyage through four diverse and curious realms, working in concert with an ever-present, clockwork companion, and the support and instruction of a long-dead, ethereal mentor.
The trailer video shows the clockwork companion (clearly an ancestor of Bit) and the ethereal mentor. And there's some kind of realm portal. Check.
It's notable that this isn't a Kickstarter launch. And the trailer says "a new VR experience". So I'm guessing that Cyan got funding from one of their VR partners. Perhaps Sony, since Cyan posted last summer about their exciting Obduction Playstation deal with new content and so on. (I do not have a Playstation so I haven't seen this.)
They haven't said anything about platforms, or whether this will be VR-only. I'd be surprised if it weren't playable on regular displays, but funding deals can have exclusivity clauses so you never know.
Also, it looks like it's not related to either Myst or Obduction. Except stylistically.
However it comes out, it's nice to see that Cyan is still alive.

Followup with more info:
The Spokesman is a Spokane-area paper which is reliable at getting extra information out of Cyan. Their article just went up. Some quotes:
The team has developed what Miller called a working “experience,” similar to a demo, that will be shown later this month at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in an attempt to garner interest and financial backing.
[...] Cyan isn’t using Kickstarter for “Firmament,” Miller said, but rather appealing to backers directly with its package of gameplay that they hope to be able to complete with financial assistance.
“We put all of our ‘Obduction’ money back into that, but ‘Obduction’ hardly pays the bills,” Miller said. “We’re using up our bank money as well, and we’ve gotten to the point where we’re out at this point.”
So the situation is less optimistic than I thought. Or rather, it's all optimism, no money in the bank. Precarious!
I'll be at GDC, so I'll have a chance to try the Firmament demo. (If I can fight through the crowds around it! It's listed as being part of the Indie Megabooth, starting Wednesday.) I doubt there will be any more financial news by then, but if I hear anything, I'll post.


  1. Article updated with extra information. Quotes thanks to an article at The Spokesman.

  2. And an unrelated Cyan detail: the company has posted an understated 25th-anniversary tribute image at . The site is somewhat heavily loaded right now; you can see the same image at .

    The original release date (according to wikipedia at least) was September 24, 1993. I don't know if today is an anniversary of anything, or if Cyan is just marking out the year. I guess we'll keep an eye on the page come September.

  3. Even more (yes, I could write a new post at this point, but whatever):

    Eric Anderson notes on Twitter that Cyan's art team was laid off about the same time the teaser video was posted. That's pretty grim news if they don't pick up project funding in a hurry.

  4. I'm waiting for this one. Sad to know they're in financial troubles, but truth be told, I thought they were gone long ago, after Riven and adventure games in general, whose puzzle/exploration gameplay don't really ring a bell with today's fucked up youth.

    I bought Obduction when heard of the psvr port. It's both mindblowing and underwhelming as a VR title . It goes on to show how amazing a Cyan world feels like, the sense of scale in those alien lands is staggering. Plus, pushing levers or switches with your own virtual hands is much better than with a cursor. The underwhelming part is that it had to suffer some serious graphical downgrade to run at all on psvr, most notably on texture and screen resolution and the end result is very blurry, thus not many bought it. Plus, it's teleport-only for performance reasons, a much hated feature by many vr folks. Ironically, resolution and teleport only make it look and feel very much like classic Myst. As an old timer, it doesn't bother me that much. But they said something about a patch, this I decided to wait. The game is awesome and also plays great on regular flat tv. But I really want to just be there.

    About ps4, get one. There's The Last Guardian already and even the mindblowing and faithful remake of Shadow of the Colossus. Might also get a psvr after and become a psvr dev of vr walking sims with puzzles :-)

    1. Sadly, there has been no follow-on announcement, and Cyan hasn't hired art and dev talent back on. So it looks like Firmament is shelved until further notice.