“There’s a great deal of history that you should know.” – Atrus (Riven)
In 1987, brothers Rand and Robyn Miller started a new company called Cyan, Inc. and released a new kind of children’s software they called The Manhole. It was a simple, whimsical, black & white world to explore, with very little to get in the way of the journey. It was well received by children of all ages. The brothers followed up with Cosmic Osmo and Spelunx – two more rich, whimsical, non-threatening worlds for children to explore. The products were heralded by critics receiving rave reviews and countless awards, including Best New Use of a Computer by the Software Publishers Association.
In 1991 Cyan began work on Myst, a project that would take everything they had learned about making worlds and use it to create a truly unique experience for an older, more sophisticated audience. The goal was to create a new kind of experience that felt more like a place than a game. There were some dramatic breaks from traditional gaming – no dying, no shooting, no starting over, no inventory, and it would require a CD-ROM drive. Myst was about finding yourself lost in a world and simply exploring, understanding and becoming part of the story — and the public response was nothing short of phenomenal. Sales for Myst and its sequel Riven have exceeded 12 million units worldwide making them the best selling computer games of the last millennia.
After five products in the Myst series, Cyan turned its attention to making an exciting new kind of Myst world, a never ending world that would allow players to explore together. Uru (Myst Online) made use of a broadband internet connection to allow players to join the adventure of a lifetime in the caverns of D’ni. It spawned a thriving community and is still available to explore for free.
Cyan Worlds continues to draw on their past as they dream into the future. The mobile platforms are wonderfully personal ways to experience many of the original Cyan products, and a few new products have been added to the mix. And all the while Cyan is looking ahead to creating more exciting worlds that move yet again away from the standard fare – to something unexpected.
It’s been a long journey, not an overnight success. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Cyan Worlds is located on the northern outskirts of Spokane, Washington, about 119 trillion miles from the nearest habitable planet.