|Industry||Computer and video games|
|Headquarters||Mead, Washington, United States|
|Rand Miller (CEO and co-founder)|
|Products||List of Cyan Worlds video games|
Number of employees
Cyan, Inc., also known as Cyan Worlds, is an American video game developer, founded by brothers Rand and Robyn Miller in 1987, and best known as the creators of the Myst series. After Myst and its sequel Riven sold several million copies each, Cyan went on to create the massively multiplayer online adventure, Uru, which was cancelled and re-opened several times. After the departure of brother Robyn Miller from "Cyan, Inc.," a second company, "Cyan Worlds, Inc.," was started. Both companies are located in Mead, Washington, just outside Spokane.
Founded in 1987 by brothers Rand and Robyn Miller, Cyan originally produced adventure games for children. The company's early titles, The Manhole (1988), Cosmic Osmo and the Worlds Beyond the Mackerel (1989) and Spelunx (1991) were whimsical fantasy adventures for a young audience. The games offered numerous graphical screens with puzzles, mini-games and activities. Some of these titles were early forays of Cyan into both construction of interactive worlds using HyperCard, and the CD-ROM medium, both of which would later be used for Myst.
In 1993, Cyan shot to worldwide fame with the release of Myst, a "steampunk" 3D pre-rendered adventure game aimed at an older audience unlike their previous games. Myst was one of the earliest CD-ROM games, in a time when CD-ROM drives were beginning to become mainstream. The title sold more than six million copies, and was the best-selling PC game ever until The Sims exceeded its sales in 2002.
With the revenue from Myst, Cyan quickly moved to a new headquarters to accommodate a bigger staff, where they remain today. During this time, three novels set in the Myst universe were co-authored by the Millers and David Wingrove. The sequel to Myst, Riven, was released in 1997. This same year, company co-founder Robyn Miller left Cyan to pursue other interests, ten years after he began The Manhole.
The next eight years saw a huge amount of expansion in the Myst franchise, both from within and outside of Cyan. While the publishing rights were transferred from Brøderbund to Mattel, and then to Ubisoft, Cyan prepared for the next game in the Myst universe, which was to be a massively multiplayer online game, and not a direct sequel to Myst. During this time, a second company, "Cyan Worlds, Inc.," was started. Partly as a test of their new real-time 3D engine, Cyan released realMyst in 2000, a complete recreation of the original Myst game. At the same time, the next Myst game, Myst III: Exile, was developed by Presto Studios and published by Ubisoft, and released in 2001.
In 2003, Cyan announced that their multiplayer adventure, Uru, formerly known under the working titles DIRT ("D'ni In Real Time"), Mudpie ("Multi-User DIRT – Persistent Interactive Environment"), Parable and Myst Online, would be split into separate single-player and multiplayer components, at the request of the publisher Ubisoft. The single-player component, Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, was released later that year. The multiplayer component, Uru Live had a short beta test, but was cancelled before being officially released.
In 2004, Cyan released two Uru expansion packs (To D'ni and The Path of the Shell) that included content originally intended for the online component. The same year, Ubisoft independently developed and released Myst IV: Revelation, the second game in the series not developed by Cyan. In the following year, Cyan developed the final chapter in the Myst series, Myst V: End of Ages. After Myst V, the company laid off most of its employees due to financial difficulties, but shortly after rehired almost everyone after negotiating a deal with Turner Broadcasting. Prior to this, the company was working on an as yet unannounced project (reportedly named Latus by Richard A. Watson) and negotiating with an undisclosed publisher, but its status is now unclear, though Rand Miller made mention of it in August 2011 and confirmed its name as Latus.
After Uru Live closed, fans began developing their own server software. In response to this demand, Cyan Worlds released Untìl Uru in late 2004, a modified version of the client and server software of Live. This version of the game was unsupported – servers were owned and operated by fans, and no new content was provided. Later, through funding by GameTap, Cyan managed to offer the "D'mala" shard, an official game server. Fans also began developing new content for the game, in an unofficial context.
Myst Online: Uru Live launched officially on GameTap on February 15, 2007, after being available through GameTap as an open beta for a few months. This was the most successful incarnation of Uru, finally achieving the original goal of supported online play, with ongoing content releases. Despite this success, GameTap announced on February 4, 2008, that it would be closing Uru Live. Game servers remained online for 60 days following, and were finally shut down on April 10, 2008.
On June 30, 2008, it was announced that Cyan Worlds had regained the rights to Uru, and had plans to relaunch it under the name Myst Online: Restoration Experiment. Cyan no longer has funds available for further development on the game, and instead intends to release the code for the servers, client and tools as open-source software, and rely on user-generated content for expansion.
In November 2008, "Cyan Test" (a third "Cyan" company created to provide testing services) laid off about 50 game testers. The layoffs came as a result of the acquisition of their primary customer Gamecock Media.
In February 2010, Cyan took steps towards opening up Uru, with the launch of a new Myst Online: Uru Live server (dubbed "MOULagain" by fans) with access to all of the Ages of Uru. They made the client software available free of charge and began accepting donations. As of April 2014, over 128,000 accounts have been created.
On April 6, 2011, Cyan released the source code to the URU client as well its development tools.
In August 2009, it was announced that Cyan Worlds would be working with Creative Kingdoms to create an online version of their MagiQuest virtual reality game. MagiQuest Online makes use of the Plasma engine used in Myst Online: Uru Live.
Most of Cyan's titles (those in the Myst and Uru series) tell the story of a humanoid race called the D'ni, who have the ability to write linking books. Linking books teleport the user into other worlds, limited only by the imagination of the author. These worlds are referred to as "Ages." Cyan's games are known for their intricate plots, exquisite graphics, and immersive sounds. They focus on exploration and storytelling, presented by a simple, elegant interface that appeals to gamers and non-gamers alike. Related to the storyline of the D'ni are three Myst novels: The Book of Atrus, The Book of Ti'ana and The Book of D'ni.
- Rand Miller, co-founder and CEO
- Robyn Miller, co-founder and former designer/director
- Richard Vander Wende, former designer/director
- Richard A. Watson, lead programmer and [in-universe] D'ni historian
- Ryan Miller
- Martin O'Donnell
- Guilofil, Michael (May 22, 2001). "Beyond the Myst". The Spokesman-Review.
- Walker, Trey (March 22, 2002). "The Sims overtakes Myst". GameSpot. Retrieved March 17, 2008.
- Herold, Charles (March 4, 2004). "Tackling the Mystery of the Missing Game". New York Times. p. G5.
- Myst Creator Cyan Worlds Folds
- Mysterium 2011 Video Stream Chat
- TXT: Cyan Worlds trying to reach the last age, or Myst, The Final Offer
- "Cyan makes it official: "Myst" now in the hands of its fans". Spokesman Review. December 12, 2008. Retrieved December 20, 2008.
- Radd, David (November 5, 2008). "Cyan Lets 50 Game Testers Go". Spokesman Review. Retrieved November 14, 2008.
- "Myst Online: Uru Live Again". Myst Online: Uru Live. February 4, 2010. Retrieved March 18, 2010.
- "CAVCON Meter". Retrieved May 4, 2014.
- Kushner, David (August 24, 2009). "Real-Life WoW for the Chuck E. Cheese Set". Wired Magazine. Retrieved November 29, 2009.
- Chalk, Andy (October 17, 2013). "Myst Studio Brings Obduction To Kickstarter". The Escapist. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
- Farokhmanesh, Megan (Nov 16, 2013). "Obduction Kickstarter draws to a successful close". Retrieved 23 November 2013.