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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
These Myst III: Exile action figures were sitting nearby.

My brother was in one of these. John Keston was this 70-year-old marathon runner who played Gehn in that costume. He was like the perfect casting, he was so good. I did Atrus, and I don't even think we have an Atrus costume. I think at the last minute we went in San Fran, we were filming at Blue Screen Studios in San Fran, and we just went to some local costume theater place and picked up a bunch of costumes, and then had to return it later, so we don't have any of the Atrus stuff.

Myst book, Gehn's pipe, and other props
RM: Here's a cool story. Those are the original things from Riven, like Genn's pipe which you squeeze frog juice in and he smokes it for whatever reason.

Cyan Worlds Studio Tour

That's the original Myst book that my brother found at some thrift store that was like "Oh, this looks cool and we definitely should use that as a Myst book." It kind of became the basis for the Myst book.

The door
 
Cyan Worlds Studio Tour

RM: The door over there...Anything when you do blue screen work needs to be a practical. So we had to build a whole door so that Gehn at one point can open it from both the inside and outside. And we get to keep the door which is sweet.

Cyan Worlds Studio Tour
This lever is another practical that's laying around the office...

Cyan Worlds Studio Tour
...as is Gehn's gun.

The $10 million advertisements
RM: A bit of a cool story to these. Broderbund was doing Riven, they were going to publish Riven. They handled all the marketing and whatnot. So we're thinking "This is going to be a huge advertising budget. It's Riven. I mean, Myst made tons of money for them and they didn't have to advertise it really."

So the rumor goes out, they're going to spend ten million dollars on advertising and we're like "Wow, that's cool." They did nothing to stop that rumor. I think it was completely bogus.

Cyan Worlds Studio Tour

But they did come up with this really cool campaign that was just two-page spreads in magazines that just had a Myst page laying there, and somewhere in the picture, like on this boat I think it says www.riven.com. And that was it! That was the only thing in the ad! We were like "This is awesome!" And they did the same thing with those underground train tracks, except it was graffiti on the walls. "Oh that's going to be awesome." I think they did seven of these. Seven different ones.

 

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