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Inside Cyan's 'Myst Vault,' the living history of Myst and Riven

Hayden Dingman | Oct. 7, 2014
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.

Cyan Worlds Studio Tour

So the art department's like "Okay, someone make the Riven dagger and we'll just build out all this dirt everywhere. So Tony gets in touch with some prop guys in the Bay Area and has that sent up, and by the time we got that the CG guys had already been like "We did a mock-up, I think we can do it all in CG. Let's just do it in CG."

But that was still...Sweet prop! We'll hang that up! But then what we find out is that...Eric Anderson, our art director, he sends around this video. Come to find out that it was basically Jamie and Adam, the MythBuster guys, who he called, back when they were still a prop company. And it was Adam who built this thing. He says it in an interview, "I don't play many games but I built this cool crazy dagger thing for those guys." And we didn't know! It's hanging here and we're like "What?! That thing's special now! We thought it was just a cool-looking dagger!"

Concept art
Cyan Worlds Studio Tour

RM: This is concept art by either Robin or Richard Vander Wende on Riven. This is stuff they...Oh my goodness the Riven stuff, you can see a lot of the evolution. It's kind get to see the way brains are working. The original espresso machine or whatever it's called. You can see the different variations. This is all stuff we originally threw out, and my brother Robin pulled it out of the trash cans and said "Yeah, we should keep this." It's nice to have it here.

Cyan Worlds Studio Tour

ERIC ANDERSON, Art Director: Uru, during the early days, we were having a hard time trying to figure out what the heck the city itself looked like. We were having a hard time wrapping our brains about it. And we were working with some architects who suggested "Maybe we can get some clay and work some stuff out." So for a few days several of us on the team who were going to build the city mocked it up, and this is the result.

Clothing, Part 1
Cyan Worlds Studio Tour

RM: These are two of the costumes from Riven. The cool thing about this is we designed these...We had money for Riven, obviously, which was sweet. But we don't know how to get costumes designed. So Tony, who's our president now, called around because he was the producer for the thing, and found the Seattle Opera and who made clothing and costumes for the Seattle Opera. We sent them sketches, we'd send them sketches that were not as detailed as this, and then it comes back, we're like "Oh this is so cool they sewed shells and beads into this and all this detail into this thing." That was really an eye-opener because all we'd done was Myst. You know, small-scale. So it was kind of fun having all the extra fun stuff.


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