October 31, 2022
On this day 25 years ago, Riven: The Sequel to Myst was released. It sold like wildfire and has gone on to become one of our most cherished and critically acclaimed games. Riven’s aesthetic realism, cohesive puzzle integration, and narrative depth contributed to it being touted as a masterful example of building an interactive experience which felt like a real place, not just a game… This has allowed Riven‘s legacy to endure through the years.
Unlike Myst, no official Cyan remake of Riven had been seriously considered before…
But there was a grassroots effort.
13 years ago, a community effort called “The Starry Expanse Project” came to life. This group of dedicated fans took it upon themselves to begin the faithful recreation of Riven in a fully-realized realtime-3D environment, which took many years of camera-matching efforts and texture comparisons to what the original Riven’s still-image renders displayed. Most of their efforts to recreate Riven were undertaken entirely from scratch, driven solely by the desire to see Riven come to life in a new format.
We spoke confidentially with the Starry Expanse team a couple of years ago about the exciting news that Cyan finally had the resources to tackle remaking Riven. Together, we reached an agreement which allowed us to reference core pieces of their efforts to jump-start our development. They subsequently ceased development on The Starry Expanse Project, as our official efforts to remake Riven began.
Some questions from our community have come up since then: “Was the Starry Expanse team absorbed by Cyan?” “Is the Starry Expanse team still in charge of the remake of Riven?” “Are you keeping the Starry Expanse team trapped in your basement?” “Did you KILL AND EAT THEM???”… to all of which the answers are “no”. The Starry Expanse Project team members are very much alive and exist independently from Cyan. Over the past couple of years, we have worked with and continued to stay in contact with various members of the Starry Expanse team, and have even hired one of their members to join our Riven team at Cyan.
So for the first time publicly, we are happy to report that our effort to remake Riven officially here at Cyan is alive and well, and it was helped by the Starry Expanse team’s years of effort, enabling us to begin the huge task of rebuilding Riven from scratch. With a very focused development team here at Cyan, Riven is well on its way to being reborn!
We will have plenty more to share about this at a later date.
So on this 25th anniversary, now that Riven is officially old enough to rent a car in the United States, we hope our fans can rest easy knowing that you haven’t seen the last of Riven! And when you get a chance, please thank the members of the Starry Expanse team for being a part of its creation and for keeping the dream alive.
The team at Cyan