Cyan, the company behind the legendary Myst adventure game, is back with an unexpectedly well-received sequel, Obduction. Though the original and Riven were huge hits, further sequels suffered from changing tastes, growing ambitions, and a crank-em-out publishing deal with Ubisoft. But 2016, it turns out, is a great time for perfectly-refined retro adventures in beautifully strange Art Nouveau worlds.
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After Myst 5's release Cyan was in dire straits. Staff was let go then rehired and the studio was only surviving through contract work and ports of its older titles on new platforms like IOS and Android. A new version of Myst was released on Steam.
"We finished up Myst 5 as contract work for Ubisoft because the way things panned out and then it was just a matter of trying to stay alive," Miller says. "We got some gigs selling some of the older stuff and trying to put stuff online. We converted our stuff to mobile apps, which kind of saved us a lot with people leaving and we were getting getting smaller and smaller.
"And then the mobile market came up and allowed us to at least keep some of our key people. And that allowed us to think, gave us some breathing room. The mobile market was keeping us alive, then we realised there was potential now with Kickstarter to maybe consider something larger. And that's where the seeds of Obduction started to take route."