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Creators Of 'Myst' Hope For Comeback With New Fan-Funded Game

Cyan, Inc.
Promotion photo from Obduction.

The Northwest programmers behind the computer game Myst are now trying to write their next chapter.

Rand Miller and his brother Robyn set out to create a different, more pensive, ambient adventure game in 1993. In Myst, you couldn't die, you couldn't shoot anyone, and you had to read a bunch of books in the game to solve the puzzles. It became the top-selling game of the '90s.

The company behind the world of Myst was in the Spokane area – and, it still is. But Cyan has struggled since the success of Myst and its sequel Riven. An expansive online version of Myst lost its financial backing and for many years it was touch and go.

“We've had several big scares over the years,” admits Rand Miller.

But now things are changing again. Smartphones and tablets brought simplicity back to gaming -- and Myst now has new life as an app. The company is also preparing to launch a new Myst-like game with a science fiction bent, called Obduction.

“We want to make places where you want to go to -- not just to kill things or have to level up, but you actually are enticed to be in these places,” Miller explains.

Something else that exists that didn't two decades ago? Crowdfunding through sites like Kickstarter. That's how Cyan is financing Obduction.

“Myst felt like it was this grassroots, indie, out of our houses, that wasn't mainstream in the industry and this feels so much like those early days,” says Miller.

After Miller turned to Kickstarter, the campaign for Obduction looked like it would come up shy. But it turns out, the Myst devotees are still out there. One in particular stepped in. With a single tweet, actor and Myst fan Neil Patrick Harris helped push the campaign past $1.1 million, and counting.