Ob`duc´tion,n.1. The act of drawing or laying over, as a covering.
Obduction is an all-new, real-time, first-person adventure that harkens back to the spirit of Cyan's earlier games Myst and Riven. Obduction resurrects that incredible feeling of suddenly finding yourself in the middle of a new world to explore, discover, solve, and become part of.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of Myst, one of the best-selling computer games in history. Myst was an exploration through a landscape of dramatically realistic images (rendered in Strata - check out the new Strata reward tier!) tied together to create an experience that was described as "becoming your world." The Myst name is widely recognized as uniquely defining a new kind of gaming - amazingly immersive worlds where the point is to understand your environment rather than test your reflexes. The Obduction project will take what Cyan knows about creating deeply immersive worlds and apply it to an entirely new game with fantastic scenery, incredible architecture, compelling story, and exceptional challenges.
Obduction will be built with the same framework that made Cyan's earlier games such a wonderful experience: stunning landscapes, deep storyline, engaging characters, dramatic soundscapes, and challenging yet intuitive puzzles. Obduction is an entirely new property, delivered using one of the most powerful game development technologies available today. Obduction is an adventure game for the new millennium that stays true to the concepts that made the genre great.
Obduction will be developed for both Windows and MacOS, with a targeted release of mid-to-late 2015.
The game is being designed with a flexible scope in mind, so that as the budget grows, the game grows. More places; more puzzles; more mystery; more complexity; more adventure!
With the generalities out of the way, it's time to dig a bit deeper into specifics. If you know anything about Cyan's worlds, you know that you don't want to know too much ahead of time. We'll try our best to whet your appetite, without giving away too many spoilers.
Obduction's experience supplies what every good storyteller does: a very personal window into a much larger world. Obduction begins with... well, an abduction - your abduction. On a crystal clear, moon-lit night, a curious, organic artifact drops from the sky and inexplicably whisks you away across the universes to who-knows-where (or when, or why).
And, as anyone who ever played Myst or Riven knows, exploring everything around you allows you to read between the lines and to begin to answer your questions. Why is there an old, abandoned farmhouse - complete with white picket fence - in the middle of an alien landscape? You'll find out. From this point on the story becomes your story.
Obduction has a few game design elements in common with Myst and Riven, and it skews into new areas as well. Cyan's basic design philosophy is simple:
Cyan has a proven history of delivering visually stunning environments that immerse players in our games. We plan to continue that tradition, leveraging Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4. Today's modern realtime engines have plenty of horse-power to produce zillions of bullets per second, but they can also be used to make remarkable landscapes and architecture that approach and even surpass the pre-rendered days of Riven. Unreal Engine 4 is an amazing resource that enables us to build a world that you can lose yourself in.
Very simple: It's what we love!
We love the wonder of having an entirely new world at our fingertips. We love the twisted unraveling of an unexpected storyline. We love the satisfying "Aha! moment" of solving a particularly perplexing puzzle. We love the rush of revelation when we find out what's around the next corner. We love the twinge of emotion entering a dimly lit room because we feel like this place has become our world.
And we hear from more and more people who love all of those things, too. We'd love to make it for you!
Cyan has done it all. We started with self-publishing, hand-stuffing 3.5-inch floppies into boxes. We've done full-blown publisher models, where they get 88%. And we've even done all kinds of hybrid publishing models between the two.
Currently, we are independent, and it feels right. It's not the Myst heyday - money has come and gone, but we've managed to stay alive as a small, independent studio through times when indie studios were falling by the wayside. And now it seems that times have changed, and indie studios are making a comeback thanks to some interesting new publishing platforms and models. We've already obtained funding through a Kickstarter campaign, and by keeping the pre-funding opportunity open through PayPal we can enhance Obduction already stunning experience and provide it to you at a discounted price. This independent funding also allows us to make choices that a publisher might not understand. (Like we did with Myst 20 years ago.)
Instead of a detached, corporate marketing department guaranteeing to upper management how many units they will sell to justify a budget, we'll be relying on excited fans, family, friends, and even strangers who love what we're doing and want to be part of it. The funding and the budget become part of the development process instead of being coldly handed down from an accounting officer who doesn't even know the name of the product - let alone the names of any of the real people who will be making it.
As part of this process we will be making our development process transparent and accessible to supporters and pre-purchasers in the form of exclusive backer forums. You'll be able to interact directly with the creators, read behind-the-scenes blog posts about the ins and outs of the game's development, and stay current with our overall progress. Don't worry, we'll do our best to keep the information spoiler-free, so that you still have a rich and surprising game to explore, even if you are an avid process junkie!
The Kickstarter funding and the PayPal pre-purchase funding will be spent solely on Obduction. It's very straightforward: we'll spend the funds on making Obduction the best possible experience.
We already have a team here - a few who've been here since the Myst days, and some who are more recent. We'll be adding to the team after we get funding, so we can flesh out our design and then get started on all the new art, modeling, texturing, sounds, music, lighting, characters, interface, technology, and more.
We don't want that team to be too large. One thing we've learned over the years is that it can be much more efficient and satisfying to have a smaller team that works closely together. We want everyone on the team to have ownership as we design and build this experience together. And we'll make sure you know who is on the team and how things are going.