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An all-new, immersive adventure game from the award-winning creators of Myst and Riven.
An all-new, immersive adventure game from the award-winning creators of Myst and Riven.
22,195 backers pledged $1,321,306 to help bring this project to life.

Content Update 2

Posted by Cyan, Inc. (Creator)
Hi all! Eric here. For you Cyan aficionados, you might know me from my work on Uru or Myst V, and I’m currently chugging along on the upcoming game The Witness, which you can check out here.

Like Rand has been saying, we really appreciate the outpouring of support... you guys have been absolutely killing it. But right now, it’s time for an update. Apologies for the delay... it’s been a busy week!

I want to talk a little bit about the world(s) of Obduction, and the design philosophy that is going into creating them. I’ll try my best to not get too spoiler-y, but it’s impossible to discuss this stuff without revealing some of what you might discover in the game... So: If you’d rather not know anything until you arrive there yourself, then read no further. And probably don’t look at any of the images, either. And maybe just close your browser and go outside. You have been warned.
(SPOILER ALERT: We’re going to reveal some things. If you don’t want to know anything - STOP HERE!)

So... Obduction is a sci-fi game, right? Yes... sort of. The game does take place on far off, distant planets. And technically, there’s a whole lot of interstellar travel going on. But maybe not in the way you might be thinking. (For now, we’ll save the mechanics of that “travel” part!!)

As much as we all love the sci-fi genre, we want Obduction to be something out of the ordinary. So we have made a very deliberate choice to steer clear of standard sci-fi tropes... No gleaming spaceships. No rayguns. No mob of power-armored space marines fighting against crab-faced aliens.

Instead of sci-fi equipment taking center stage, the worlds themselves are the featured elements - each one formed by their own ancient and varied histories. The remains of civilizations extinct and long ago forgotten, now inhabited by survivors, scattered from their own worlds... refugees set adrift in the stars. And the best way to describe this aesthetic is: an “amalgam”. Let’s take a look at some (early) character concepts:

Early character concept by Claire Hummel
Early character concept by Claire Hummel
So this fellow looks like he’s taken the long way around. He seems fairly at home in some vaguely familiar clothing, but also appears to have picked up a few trinkets along the way. Many of which were probably not standard-Earth-issue. (Like those boots… source unknown!)

Or this courageous explorer:

Early character concept by Derrick Robinson
Early character concept by Derrick Robinson
Amelia Earhart, eat your heart out. We won’t be discussing where she came from, but she seems to able to find her way just fine.

You’ll notice with both of these character studies that they have one thing in common - they are built not from one specific aesthetic, but many. And that blending of styles isn’t just a random mishmash, but is informed by their own unique journeys to this far off place. They may have arrived here with only the clothes on their backs, but over time, they’ve adapted, and traded, and scavenged as needed to survive. While many of their fellow refugees might be strange, they are at least friendly. Others, not so much.

Don’t be scared off by this post’s focus on character art - we’re using it to exemplify the design aesthetic. This is a Cyan game after all... The worlds of Obduction will be there for your discovery, at your pace. But you will run across people occasionally, who might help you come to understand what has happened to you and where you are. And possibly why you are there, if you look hard enough.

More soon,


“I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I've come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them...”

-Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Jim Higgitt, Stephanie Gerk, and 138 more people like this update.


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    1. Missing avatar

      illu45 on

      I think that one of the joys of the Myst games was that you were on the islands pretty much alone. You sometimes found journals/scraps/inventions left by other people and had to find out how they worked, but there were very few other characters. A lot of the atmosphere of these games came from the fact that you were alone, I think, especially in the original Myst. From the info released so far, it seems like there are going to have a lot of different characters to interact with. I worry that this will significantly change the atmosphere of the game, partly because I think that it's very, very difficult to do character interaction well.

      I guess my question is: Will there be efforts made to keep some of the 'lonely' atmosphere of the Myst games, or are you focusing more on character interaction this time around?

    2. Susan Rosalie on

      I'm confused, what part of.......

      (SPOILER ALERT: We’re going to reveal some things. If you don’t want to know anything - STOP HERE!)

      is so confusing? I figured everything after the announcement of the spoiler was, in fact, a spoiler.

    3. Wolf Doggie on

      @helena Yes I saw the spoiler tag at the top and then left my bit in comments section and left. The problem with the spoiler tag is that it doesn't tell anyone where the spoiler actually ends, so now if just end up deleting the update emails instead of taking the chance on accidentally reading a spoiler.

      Games like Obduction are very content sensitive, and giving away any of the content could mean a few hours of value lost once the game is completed.

    4. Helena on

      @ Chris: the problem with that idea is that the content updates are partly aimed at attracting new backers, who obviously won't be on any distribution list. I guess Cyan could put the spoilers on an external site and link to it through the update, but I really think people should just avoid reading them if they're that concerned. All of them are preceded by a spoiler warning, after all.

    5. Chris Thatcher on

      NO MORE SPOILERS! Or put "Spoilers" in the Subject line. And while you're at it, please stop spamming my inbox. Kickstarter has no way of moderating the amount of notifications you receive from projects-- you receive everything or nothing, so just email important updates, and set up a separate distribution list for those who want spoilers.

    6. Helena on

      @ Wayne: why read them, then? Did you miss the big SPOILER ALERT up at the top? It's fine if you don't want to see this information, but a lot of us are very keen to learn more about the game we're backing.

    7. Wolf Doggie on

      I'm really not enjoying the content updates. No offense intended, I'd rather wait for the game to come out before I know too much about the story.

    8. Austin Storm on

      The Annie Dillard quote at the end - you guys never stop surprising me.

    9. Missing avatar

      Ian Lewis on

      Wow wow wow, this sounds awesome. Just getting a little anxious about the target. Is it just me or has funding slowed down? Really really hope it gets to target. Need to get more publicity out there!

    10. Missing avatar

      Anthony Tardiff on

      I second the motion to get the word out with an interview. Get one of the major game sites to cover you by giving them some interesting info. Obduction needs more exposure. I can't, CAN'T see Cyan go back to surviving on iOS sales, their creativity smothered by lack of publisher support.

    11. Christian on

      Up until now I kinda expected that you'd play someone who was abducted and put in an elaborate alien Skinner box. But refugees ... ok, seems to be something else entirely.

    12. Christian on

      The real Amelia Earhart didn't look so cute. No, I'm not protesting! ;)

    13. Grover on

      I try to not read the Spoilers, but it's hard ! Really like what I've read so far! We've already translated this Update in french :…

    14. Kevin SgtPepper Geaney on

      This concept art is getting me pumped! Can't wait!

    15. Nick Roberts (the Ranting Thespian) on

      Love it! This game seems like it will be as amazing as MYST, RIVEN, and URU.

    16. Missing avatar

      Barry Drennan on

      A good couple of updates, but don't forget the publicity campaign, too! People actually need to hear (or be reminded about) the KS in order for these updates to be effective. An interview with one of the major gaming media outlets - one that can turn around quickly to publish - would be ideal, if you can come to an arrangement with someone.

    17. Narq on

      alien steampunk

    18. Lisa Zoet on

      Sooo long to wait! I am glad to hear of some content, so I know what I'm backing. Firefly type sci-fi yes, Alien, Predator no way! Maybe it will encourage more pledging!

    19. Maarten Dijkstra on

      So hard not to read the spoilery bits. I sorta skimmed them and decided against reading too much :) But thank you, and please keep the updates coming. And if it's not obvious, thank you for the SPOILER warnings - I'm sure many people appreciate those!

    20. Missing avatar

      Mitchell Bandes on

      This sort of mix-and-match fashion that each character builds from the unique experiences that they collect over the course of their journey... it seems very heavily inspired by the character customization mechanic you find in most MMORPGs. In online games, people want to create unique designs for their characters, and they do this by equipping all the most valuable items they find from their dungeon raids and monster hunts. So it seems to me that while the NPCs fashion their own aesthetic appeals, the player is going to be left out on the fun, being that this is a first-person game.

      Are you open to the idea of making this an "out-of-sync multiplayer" game, like Spore was? It would be interesting to let a player dress his character using items that he's picked up throughout the game, and upload his character to a server, along with an AI that attempts to emulate his behavior based on what he's done in the game so far. At that point, any other player can download player-created characters from the server, and they would populate her game.

      It would still be a fundamentally first-person experience, but one shaped by the entire player community.

    21. Deg on

      Sounds great! The design reminds me a little of Firefly; The characters each have their quirks and history from travels through an eclectic and tarnished universe instead of the pristine gloss of a starfleet.

    22. Dana "Mystdee" Brightman on

      Thanks for the updates! with each one I am more excited and anxious for this game to be made!!

    23. Adam Morgan on

      Great update! So curious now as to how the NPC's will be represented in the game itself!

    24. Christina 'Riv' Hawkes on

      I want this game to happen so badly! :D

    25. Missing avatar

      Ja Powers

      I...I'll come back and read this...after I get the game. Thank you for the spoiler warning, and the update.

    26. Morten on

      Lovely with some more info, it just looks better and better! Keep up the good work <3