On the 25th anniversary of the release of Riven, the sequel to the mega-hit adventure game Myst, developer Cyan has announced that it is being remade in a “ground-breaking modern remake.”
“Riven is one of the most highly regarded games in Cyan’s history,” the studio said in an FAQ (opens in a new tab), explaining why it waited 25 years to commit to a Riven remake. “We didn’t want to approach it lightly or frivolously. Cyan is a small independent studio. We wanted to make sure we could take on such a difficult, expensive and complicated endeavor—and do it well.”
(Myst, by contrast, has been remade several times, including as Myst: Masterpiece Edition, realMyst: Interactive 3D edition, and realMyst: Masterpiece Edition. The most recent remake, simply titled Myst (opens in a new tab)came out in 2021 with VR support.)
While Cyan waited a quarter of a century to bring back Riven, there was a long-running fan project aimed at reviving it “in a fully realized real-time-3D environment” called Starry Expanse. (opens in a new tab). In 2019, the Starry Expanse team said it was “officially working with Cyan Worlds to realize the dream of real-time Riven”. Cyan said in a separate message (opens in a new tab) posted today that members of that team aren’t working on the official remake, but that “we reached an agreement that allowed us to reference core pieces of their efforts to jumpstart our development.” The Starry Expanse project itself quietly halted development a few years ago, after Cyan informed the team that it was preparing to launch an official remake.
To be honest, I didn’t like Riven as much as Myst—which, to be clear, I absolutely loved. Myst was revolutionary: an unprecedented gaming experience wrapped in photorealistic graphics and lush, exotic music that showcased what seemed to be the virtually limitless potential of CD-ROM technology. Riven was more technologically advanced, yes, but like so many sequels it was also more of the same, and coming four years after Myst it just wasn’t as magical the second time around.
Still, I’m glad Cyan is finally moving forward with the update, and maybe 25 years of separation from the original will give me a different perspective on it. Unfortunately, there are no details on platforms or a possible release date at this time, but Cyan did clarify – because apparently an explanation was needed – that owners of the original Riven will not be upgraded to the remake version for free.