Creators of 'Myst' turn to Kickstarter

Video game maker seeks $1.1 million for 'Obduction'

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SPOKANE — Cyan Inc., the Spokane company that captivated video game players 20 years ago with "Myst," has launched a campaign to raise $1.1 million for its next big thing.

The company announced Thursday it will seek that money via a Kickstarter campaign, inviting contributors to share the cost of producing a game called "Obduction."

CEO Rand Miller, in a video posted on Kickstarter's website, said the company doesn't want to do a sequel to "Myst." But it's hoping to build "a spiritual successor to the 'Myst' experience without tying ourselves to the same storyline."

Cyan said it sold roughly 10 million copies of "Myst" or its successor versions from 1993 through 2012.

After developing "Myst," "Riven" and then "Uru" in 2003, Cyan ran out of cash. Downsized to fewer than 10 employees at its Mead office, Cyan kept looking at ideas for new games but struggled to find financial backers.

Cyan didn't want to concede to the market preference for games where players kill aliens or conquer land, Miller has said.

When the company did approach game publishers with its ideas for a new game, Miller said, the response was lukewarm or half-hearted.

On its Kickstarter page, the company commented: "It's not the 'Myst' heyday--money has come and gone, but we've managed to stay alive as a small, independent studio through times when indie studios were falling by the wayside. And now it seems that

times have changed, and indie studios are making a comeback."

Several hours after launching the fundraising campaign, Cyan had raised more than $170,000. The Kickstarter page offers rewards depending on amounts contributed. For instance, a donor providing $10,000 gets a dinner with Rand Miller and credit in the game as a "supporting producer."

"Obduction" will be a downloaded game, unlike "Uru," which was primarily played online.

The company says its goal is to release the first version of "Obduction" in mid-to-late 2015.