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:
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:
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.
“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...”