Back in the early 1990s, a school-friend asked if I’d mind going over to his house to help him out with a video game. He was having trouble finding the solution to a puzzle and thought a fresh pair of eyes might point him in the right direction. That game turned out to be Myst – one of the best-selling PC releases of all time, and a title which has one of the best opening sequences ever.
When Cyan launched their Kickstarter campaign for Obduction in October 2013, I became a backer straight away before even watching their promotional video. And when they then announced the project for the Myst 25th Anniversary Collection in April last year, I did the same because I really wanted to get my hands on a real Linking Book. It’s therefore no surprise then that I became a backer for them once again after receiving an email about their latest campaign earlier this month.
According to the Kickstarter page, Firmament is the ‘next step in the evolution of Cyan‘ and is ‘deeply rooted in the spirit of Myst, Riven and Obduction’. The story begins when the player character wakes up in a glacial cavern, crowded with metal pipes and clockwork gears. Massive doors open to travel a chamber containing an ancient table holding a tea cup on one end and a frozen body slumped over the other, the corpse’s hand holding a strange device.
A message is played as you reach for it. It’s from the woman who left this gift and she explains that she’d planned to mentor you – but, as with all good stories, something has gone terribly wrong. An unexpected and immense voyage now lies ahead and on your journey, you’ll discover deeper secrets. Cyan are calling Firmament an ‘enigmatic narrative adventure’ and say that this entirely new property is the beginning of an exciting universe.
The developer is planning to make this game for both virtual reality (VR) and PC from the ground up, saying that the market for the former is still young and so they want to explore its creative possibilities now. All backers will be able to play the titles on both platforms and effortlessly switch between them to continue their progress, and locations with a steampunk aesthetic which hark back to Myst are going to allow for some amazing visuals.
Unlike those worlds however you won’t be travelling here alone: a helpful clockwork assistant called an adjunct will be there to provide assistance every step of the way. It doesn’t speak but it does understand your hand gestures, so you’ll be able to evolve a vocabulary with your partner through your interactions. What starts as rudimentary communication will transform into a complex actions as you solve challenges together and begin to understand the epic nature of what lies ahead.
You may be asking why Cyan needs to return to crowdfunding once again when their previous campaigns were so successful and earned them a bucket load of cash. The leftover funding allowed them to optimise Obduction, design and create a proof-of-concept for Firmament, and enabled them to stay in business for a number of months. As the Kickstarter FAQ page says: “No private island, no Tesla, no huge bonuses, no shopping sprees – but we get to keep working!”
At the time of writing, the campaign has received just over 50% of its £980,924 target from almost 9,000 backers. There’s a way to go before success but still some tine before the deadline of 23:00 BST on 26 April 2019. Head over to the Kickstarter page to find out more, and follow Cyan on Twitter to stay up-to-date on their progress.
Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.