I recently drove out to the Spokane, Washington headquarters of Myst creator Cyan Worlds to talk about their upcoming game Obduction. You can read my preview here, and a deep-dive Q&A about the Obduction development process here.
While I was at Cyan's offices, however, I thought I'd take a look around the studio and peek into the fabled "Myst Vault." I return bearing pictures and, in some cases, stories from Myst co-creator Rand Miller--like, for instance, that MythBuster Adam Savage was once unknowingly involved with the studio, or how Rand Miller really feels about The 7th Guest, or the book that inspired Myst's iconic tome.
You'll find that and much, much more below.
RAND MILLER, Myst co-creator: I don't know if we'd be alive if Myst hadn't built this house. Not paying rent...having it paid for and having a space to work, it means your expenses are so much lower. The small indie guys that have to rent space, that's a huge chunk of change. I mean, you're here when we've kind of fixed up the grounds again and cleaned the place up, but for years it was pretty slim pickings.
I mean, we didn't even run the sprinklers for a couple years and stuff just collected. We still had people doing stuff because I think we were, at that point...One of the smartest things we ever did was get the rights to the software to revert back to us, to get the IP to revert back to us. Any indie that can pull that off is smart. You can't always do it, but. The publisher's always right in perpetuity.
With Broderbund we said "Well, how about a long time but not in perpetuity. I don't even remember how long it was, but it was probably ten years or fifteen years. And they were thinking "Ah, we'll have milked it by then." But it was great for us because ten or fifteen years later the mobile market was coming up, and we were like "Oh man, if we could just convert some of these we could at least get bootstrap money to fund a little here, build up a couple people." It's worked, which is nice. We came back from the brink. It feels good. The place is in a little bit better repair, and we're just doing what we can.
Adam Savage and the enormous dagger
This is sweet. That thing...at the end of Riven there's this sequence where the whole world is destroyed, everything collapses, and we've got all these workstations and all this incredibly expensive hardware and software, but we're thinking, "Well, destroyed worlds are so many particles. We should do a real version of it. Just a small miniature version." And this big Riven dagger falls down like [explosion noise] and dust should fly up.
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