20th Mysterium, Day 2

The second day of Mysterium has come and gone, and what a day it was. If you could not be present, remember that you can follow the convention live on Twitch and Discord.

The day started with the guidelines for the trip and parking instructions (including the hard-to-follow recommendation of “try to keep to the path”) for the various groups headed to Cyan HQ: some shared cars, while others went by a rented bus.

At 11:00 am the crowd, gathered in the courtyard, greeted Rand Miller with a cheer. Rand, who gave up celebrating National Watermelon Day to be present, started the event (“me talking”) by claiming that the office was not set up as a giant puzzle. In an emotional moment, he invited Rawa on stage, to say hi and get a heartwarming applause from the crowd.

Then, Rand gave a few announcements: a big performance update for Obduction, and its future porting to the Xbox; the release of ZED for macOS on August 15, on Steam and the Mac App Store; their future venture plans including a collaboration with Numinous for their VR series Into The Mind; and a not-a-game mobile app (initially only for iOS) named Crowbox, related to the photo library.

Next, he noted how the Myst25 and Firmament kickstarters have given them the chance to make more and bigger plans. First, Cyan want to make a definitive, VR edition of Myst. Next, a VR edition of Riven (without “real-” attached), in collaboration with the Starry Expanse project. Then, they feel it is time for new stories in the Myst universe; not specifically a “Myst VI”, perhaps the start of a new series.

Rand then mentions their plans for the TV series (“this time for real!”). Cyan is much more involved than on previous attempts, with Rand and Ryan working on a treatment and a pilot script. It will be a different take, not based on the Myst novels or games, set in the “lost years” – between The Book of D’ni and Uru, perhaps?

Then, Rand answered some fan questions, with his proverbial obscurity: are the gahrohevtee a different script? It was never determined, they were always meant to be the vague, ‘magical’ part of the story. Will there be a Making of Firmament? Sure, they have a ton of video. The Book of Marrim? It is now off the back burner! Will Cyan work with external publishers? Difficult choice, they don’t want to be locked in exclusivity schemes, but more funds mean bigger and better games.

After being gifted by the Committee with a pair of ‘birken-socks’, because of his habit of doing presentations wearing sandals, Rand then invited the crowd to visit the studio building – with some of the props and costumes from the games on display! –, try VR demos of Obduction, Firmament and ZED, get signatures from him and Rawa (with scenes like this one), and of course have lunch (with cookies provided by a fan!). There was also a shop, where you could get posters, the Obduction artbook, sondtrack, Hex Isle and a free, vintage box of The Manhole. At some point, a raffle was held: the prizes were a life-sized journey cloth, an Obduction banner and a highly detailed 3D model of the Myst island, printed by Rand himself.

Back to the Ruby hotel, some time after 3:00 pm the Soundscapes Beyond Myst panel (hosted by Katie ‘Kha’tie’ Postma, Russell Brower, Tim Larkin, Marty O’Donnell, and Jack Wall) shared their experiences designing, conducting, and directing music and sound for games and media published by Cyan, but also Blizzard, Valve, Microsoft, Disney, etc. The question about the meaning of the Myst III: Exile lyrics remains unaswered once again, Jack Wall gave a sample of his a cappella singing, Tim Larkin expressed his preference for electronic instruments, contrary to the rest of the panel, and they mentioned their involvement with the Video Game Live concerts.

At around 5:00 pm, the Evolution of the Myst Community panel (hosted by Elliot ‘Taniith’ Borenstein, Katie ‘Kha’tie’ Postma, Ryan ‘Grey Dragon’ Warzecha, Blake Lewin, and Vicki ‘Tor’i’ Almond) looked back at the history of Mysterium, the changes the community has gone through, and its resiliency through the years. Memes from the original Cyanchat were mentioned; the reasons behind the Gametap cancellation of Uru Live were explored; and Kha’tie noted noted how she kept jumping between game cancellations.

At around 6:00 pm, the return of the Mysterium Showtunes was announced. After the dinner break, the crowd splitted: some of the attendees continued to work on the puzzles; some tried the Starry Expanse VR demo; some tried the Escape the Age card game; and some sung songs with Myst and Uru inspired lyrics.

Other attendees just chilled out with new and old friends, chatting about games, puzzles, and ideas.

And now, we are ready for the third and last day!

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