In a Kickstarter update to backers, the makers of Obduction, a spiritual successor to the Myst point-and-click adventure games, has revealed that Cyan — yet again — have been left in the lurch thanks to a publisher.
Obduction was meant to be a solid success. Gamers backed it nearly two years ago to the tune of $1,830,355. It was being built by Cyan, the creators behind Myst, which was the highest selling game of all-time for several years and one of the few bright lights of the FMV era.
It was also meant to be released this month, but that undoubtedly won't be happening with the developers announcing in an update that the game's scope has had to be downsized significantly.
"About six months ago we realized that Obduction had evolved with enough content to be a bit larger than the Kickstarter-sized experience we had planned," Cyan wrote in an update. "With that in mind we decided to see if we could raise some small additional funding to move Obduction to that larger vision—instead of moving the scope back down."
"We had serious interest from several sources including a small publisher. After several meetings and reviews the small publisher said yes, and we proceeded to negotiate a formal contract that was ready to sign two months ago. They assured us that this was a done deal, and so, with their very specific recommendation we moved forward with the larger Obduction production — leaving the option to reduce behind us."
Cyan added that a contract was on the verge of being signed two months ago, but they began getting the silent treatment. "Long story short, we were expecting yesterday we would finally sign and move forward, but instead we found out that, in spite of all the good faith negotiating, early assurances (that we based some rather important production decisions on), and even gestures on our part to sweeten the terms of the contract (if that was the problem) — the publisher did a 180 and reneged for what were apparently financial reasons."
Cyan opted not to reveal the name of the publisher — standard business practice — but they went on to stress that the negotiating has pushed the project a few months behind, meaning Obduction won't see the light of day until next year.
"It’s always awkward to have to hang out your dirty laundry. Last week we were so excited that we would finally be able to tell you about a publishing deal that would enable a larger Obduction experience, and this week we’re scrambling to adjust. But our team is small, nimble, and amazingly talented. It’s ironic and sad that every time that Cyan has been pushed to the brink, it has been related to some unexpected move by a publisher. I suppose we were hoping for something better this time — shame on us."
Seeing Cyan end up this position yet again, after already having so many issues with publishers, is a tad heartbreaking. I played through much of the Myst series growing up and I'd love nothing more than for them to have a successful hit in this day and age. And maybe that will still be the case. But, now, we won't find out until 2016 — although after games like The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and The Talos Principle, I'm optimistic that there's a healthy crowd ready and willing for another Myst.