Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Myst VR teaser drops

I'm sure you already saw it, but I strive for completeness here, so here you go: a trailer for Myst in VR. The Steam page and GOG page are also up.
There's really not much to say about this. As Cyan's announcement says, they've been teasing this for a while now:
In fact, we suspect that some of you were onto us as far back as last summer when Rand gave his keynote at Mysterium 2019... We’ve been holding our breath ever since that video hit the internet hoping his keynote speech wouldn’t go viral, so for those of you who picked up on what we were laying down last year... Thanks for helping us keep things under wraps!
(From today's Firmament news update, one of the places where Cyan announced this.)
I take that last bit as a direct poke, since I blogged about Rand's keynote in 2019! VR possibilities and all! No, Rand didn't say "VR" -- he just called it a "definitive edition of Myst". But we all knew what he meant.
The real surprise here is that they're announcing it now. Firmament is currently on track for probably 2022, so this is looking like parallel development rather than sequential. Of course, it's impossible to know how the schedule will fall out.
The trailer and screenshots indicate that they've gotten a good ways into development. And it is very pretty.
Other tidbits:
  • The title is just Myst, no modifiers.
  • It will be VR-only and Quest-exclusive at launch, but flatscreen Windows and other VR platforms will follow.
  • The Steam page says "Built from the ground up to play in VR and flatscreen PC with new art, sound, interactions, and even optional puzzle randomization..."
  • The teaser has a slightly different opening narration in Rand's inimitable voice.
  • The D'ni text seen in the Myst book is a rather delightful easter egg for fans. See the top comment on the youtube page for a transcription.
I am of course pleased by this news, although I'll have to wait for the flatscreen release. Mind you, Firmament is still top of my wanted list.
The note about "puzzle randomization" is interesting. Many of the puzzles in Myst are entirely suitable for this. (Think about the clock tower, for example -- the required time code could be anything.) This isn't a huge expansion of the game's design, but it will be a nice change for people who want to replay it without feeling like they're following an invisible teleprompter. And it will be "optional", so detail mavens don't need to freak out.
The video and screenshots imply that they've scaled the island up a bit, and added lots of detail. But they haven't redesigned anything from scratch. It's still the classic, "noncanonical" Myst. Trap books will still be trap books. The puzzles will still be mostly nonmimetic insertions. Myst Island will not have bathrooms or living spaces.
...Or will it? Cyan could add practically anything as new bonus content; we'd cheer for it. It's really just a question of how much scope they allow themselves.
Okay, back to waiting mode, everybody.


  1. Quick edits:

    The Cyan publicity guy takes pains to say that this isn't a Quest *exclusive*, it's just a game that will ship on Quest first. Okay.

    (Facebook recently announced that you now need a Facebook account to use their Oculus hardware. I might buy a VR set someday, but there's no way in hell I'm logging into Facebook. So there's that.)

    The question of Riven VR remains murky. The last we heard was in 2019, when the Starry Expanse team (the fan project) got adopted/legimitized/swallowed by Cyan. We did *not* hear from them in 2020, which was unusual and a bit worrying. So we just have to hope there's progress beneath the surface.

    1. This isn't on the Steam page, but various sources mention that the game is expected *this* December. Much faster than I thought!

      (Confirmed by the Cyan PR guy on their Discord.)

      So when Rand mentioned the idea in August of 2019, production was either already in progress or really close to starting.

  2. I am wondering how notetaking would work in VR. (I didn’t find Myst difficult, but I would have if I was forced to keep everything in my head.)

    1. No idea.

      I suspect they'll have an in-game screen-capture tool, at least.

  3. Since youtube sucks, I am copying the fan transcription of the linking book text here. Again, this was English pasted into a D'ni font, so it's not really a "translation".

    From this page and other sources:


    Shorah to our most avid of fans

    If you are taking the time to read this we know you [lov]e digging into all things D'ni and are excited for the upcoming release. We are too but as you can see there are a few things wrong with this trailer. Let's discuss them.

    We know that in Regestoy, or "The Art", that D'ni script is not traditionally used. As mentioned in the books the D'ni used a special writing dialect called Gahro Hevtee. While this language was understood by most D'ni as critical in creating an Age you should know that - much like D'ni heritage - the paths are many and varied.

    And of course in adherence to DRC directive 213.4.2 we are strictly forbidden in revealing any actual text from a descriptive or linking book. The last thing anyone needs is for you fanatics to successfully write a working book. So to keep an authentic aesthetic feel while maintaining compliance with DRC strictures we are taking artistic license and just changing this English text to the D'ni font. We know it's heinous and sloppy. Please don't tell anyone and never ever do this yourself.

    Uh, and one more thing we should mention. We know that tradition dictates that the linking panel should be on the very first page of a linking book. But again for aesthetic resaons we are throwing caution to the wind and making it look cool. And you've got to admit it looks pretty cool.

    Now go back and watch the trailer again and bask in the knowledge that you are truly one of the avids. [You] are the best.