Message to Cyan: DON'T ADAPT THE GAME!

General discussion about Cyan products / the company.

Message to Cyan: DON'T ADAPT THE GAME!

Postby Yali » Wed May 06, 2015 2:30 pm

Judging from the numerous articles about the Myst TV show it seems a tremendous amount of people commenting think the idea of adapting the first game is really terrible. The alternative option that keeps being mentioned is to adapt the novels.

Why do I agree with this?

1) Adapting the game means messing with the story to shoehorn in characters and cast a face for the stranger who is supposed to be YOU.

2) Games due to gameplay limitations do not make for very compelling stories.

3) Most of everyone seems to indicate watching one or two people play out the Myst story would be extremely boring. There really is no action or drama in the first game, only backstory and puzzles.

4) Lost and Sliders already did the whole "people trapped in a mysterious place" type of show. This would be redundant and confuse audiences.

5) The novels are already written in a linear fashion with a wealth of characters and a highly detailed plot filled with adventure, politics, romance, thrill and tragedy. They are more suited for the screen due to being, well, stories rather than environments.

6) People who know Myst most probably DO NOT want to see a recap of their gaming experience. Trust me on this.

7) People unfamiliar with Myst would be better introduced to the epic saga of the D'ni from the Fall to Gehn - which is far more compelling than the small-scale story of a person on an island. Think of how popular Game of Thrones is merely because the audience is thrown into a highly rich and complex universe that has its own rules. This stuff sells. Audiences aren't stupid. They crave intelligent and detailed material that makes them think.

8) The novels have already well developed characters and story arcs full of intrigue and mystery. Think Game of Thrones rather than Lost. Writing in new characters to be on the island is idiotic when we have Veovis, A"gaeris, Ti'Ana and Gehn who are literary gold. It would take less effort to use pre-existing characters that have amazing qualities that Myst fans know and love then to invent characters that are untested in short period of time.

9) Think of how many game to film adaptations truly failed. Almost, if not all. Myst has an advantage in that it has an already written three-to-four act narrative (if you count the brothers story) rather than one mere game.

That's not to say the games can never be adapted, but potentially later when the events of Myst take place in the narrative. The story should start with Ti'Ana or -Atrus in the desert. If they choose to start with Atrus, BoT could be done in the second season as a kind of "Hobbit" style flashback season before a third season picks up with Ti'Ana's death and the brothers' story. Then the events of Myst could take place with an invented cast, but not as the beginning to the series. These characters were written by the Millers, hence they should have precedence.
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Re: Message to Cyan: DON'T ADAPT THE GAME!

Postby Ainia » Wed May 06, 2015 4:28 pm

Yali, take a peek at this article, especially the final sentence. :)

Reads to me like this will definitely be something outside the existing games. :mrgreen:
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Re: Message to Cyan: DON'T ADAPT THE GAME!

Postby Terokh Jeruth » Wed May 06, 2015 5:32 pm

I think it's a fair assumption that there isn't enough story in the game Myst itself to sustain an entire series, even a short run (I'm not sure if they've announced an episode count yet). I think ultimately there's only three options:

1) base it on the novels, be it Atrus our Ti'Ana

2) have it set during the time of D'ni but not specifically referencing any of the existing story lines.

Or 3) have a completely new story set amongst the Ages.

If they went for number three I could kind of see them making it something like Stargate, visiting a different world/Age each week, but weaving a grander overarching story throughout it. That's a somewhat "old fashioned" style of show though so I'd have mixed feelings about it if they chose that route.

Personally I'd have trouble choosing between #1 and #2. I'd like to see both. Plenty of room in #2 for drama and political intrigue which is all the rage at the moment, combined with the fantasy setting and it's starting to sound a little bit like Game of Thrones (only without all the sex and violence). Combined with the possibility of infinite worlds it could be a very compelling show.

Who knows, they might come up with something none of us have even thought of yet. I think there's some great pedigree involved in this, and we all know Cyan are sticklers for quality and cannon so I have high hopes for this no matter what they ultimately make it.
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Re: Message to Cyan: DON'T ADAPT THE GAME!

Postby Magic88889 » Wed May 06, 2015 8:44 pm

I know when they were going to do the movie, it was all either the books (mostly is was Ti'ana), or an original story. It stands to reason that this is what they're doing. Rand is not stupid, I think he realizes that Myst by itself would not make a good show. Games directly to a visual medium very rarely work anyway, and Myst I think would make a poor choice for that kind of adaptation in the first place.

Personally, I always wanted to go back to the beginning, see the end days of Garternay, and the political and personal reasons Ri'neref chose to break with the majority of the Ronay and create D'ni. And of course, go into the very early days of them there. It would work wonders as a movie or short series. I could even continue on later. There was a lot that happened in those early days, while everything was kind of unsettled.
The only issue with that idea that I ever saw was that it was kind of removed from the games, and other than the linking books, didn't really have any connection to Atrus or his family.

My other idea was to tell the story of the early days of Sirrus and Achenar. It could begin with them at a young age. Perhaps some flashbacks to trapping Gehn on Riven. As the series continued, it could incorporate events from the games, ending with Rev. It would fill in the gaps between the games, and tell how these two brothers really started out. We only get snippets of that story in the games, and this would be an excellent chance to flesh it out.
This idea would be much harder to pull off, but would connect to the games very easily.

Those were always my thoughts whenever I heard about Myst being adapted. I think we can trust Rand to make sure that things work properly. He may not know how showbiz works, but he knows how to tell a compelling story.
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Re: Message to Cyan: DON'T ADAPT THE GAME!

Postby WeldFord » Wed May 06, 2015 9:03 pm

I am also worried about the previous works of the team : Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Divergent, Snow White and the Huntsman ? Sure they may be great teenager movies but they aren't good ones. And they haven't a richness of story nor a deepness and mature writing you could expect from Myst...

But let's see ;)
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Re: Message to Cyan: DON'T ADAPT THE GAME!

Postby Magic88889 » Wed May 06, 2015 9:08 pm

I agree, but I have to wonder how much those were studio films, and how much freedom these people really had. I hope Rand has a good deal of creative control on this.
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Re: Message to Cyan: DON'T ADAPT THE GAME!

Postby Ainia » Wed May 06, 2015 9:49 pm

If you haven't already, read the article I linked above. It has a number of good quotes from Cyantists. This one in particular bodes well for the script and storyline (emphasis mine).

“We are very excited to see his script ,” said Blake Lewin, vice president of business development at Cyan. “Both he and Cory (Lanier of Legendary) are hardcore Myst fans.”

:mrgreen:
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Re: Message to Cyan: DON'T ADAPT THE GAME!

Postby belford » Thu May 07, 2015 8:15 am

I don't want to step on this discussion, but please remember that for Cyan this is last year's argument! (Or, more likely, 2013's argument going back to 2008.)

They've already developed a story idea, worked with Daugherty to get a script, and pitched it. Now Hulu is looking it over.

...Okay, as you were.
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Re: Message to Cyan: DON'T ADAPT THE GAME!

Postby Graizur » Fri May 08, 2015 7:02 am

I think it's time to turn our brains off on this unless you have a burning preminition that's motivating any one of us to get involved. I have a good feeling about this from what I've seen of some of the lower budget films on Netflix like Parallels.

I believe the more we focus our intensity at this the more psychic scrutiny the creative team will feel and the less breathing room they might have in being creative and taking risks. Right now they have breathing room because most of the eventual audience they will have in the future doesn't even know about it yet. That's good.

I suspect this force of scrutiny is what demented the URU project. I was super dissapointed in URU, tbh. It just didn't hit the mark from the very first images I saw it it, I'm sorry. I just had too much invested in the Kerath's Arch shape from the MYST novel illustrations.

You know, if anything I would really like THAT illustrator to find a place in the production of this series, both the eventual game and the television episodes. But that's a long chance. Who knows, all may be well.

You know, URU is sitting there being a really good beta, and example of what doesn't work. I didn't find it to be fun and the puzzles barely felt MYSTy. It wasn't a platformer game of any quality but it had platformer elements and it really didn't visually give us that same sort of enclosed park like spaces that MYST or Riven were known for, something that the Ubisoft sequels achieved well.

That's one thing they can learn from Exile and Revelation. The Ages themselves were really cool, beautiful "Ages".

This series allows me to feel. I like that about it. Built right into the game is an open space for self reflection that was subtly highlighted in Book of Atrus, when Anna says "What do you see Atrus?" I recognized the key to all Cyan games.

If they are adapting the books that MUST get in there. And if they aren't then I hope somehow the audience is given that same nurturing energy from relating the their favorite characters. The story must have blanks, unanswered questions, places to self reflect.

When Anna asked Atrus what do you see, she was also asking him to admit to his biases, to relax the preconceived notions that colored his vision and to meet the visual space for its own worth and not the values he might place on them. This requires self honesty and a willingness to be wrong.

Right now I am living with a soldier and it is very difficult to talk to him about anything because he is a reflection of my own desire to always come back with the right answer to get that gold star of acceptance. I tell him "When I tell you something or show you something I don't want to know how much you understand it but how much you don't understand it, I'm a doctor, I have nothing to do with how healthy you are, and no interest in how much you know, instead try to describe the void, admit to what you lack."

But it's difficult like I said. He's a reflection of my own motivated state to not be caught wanting.

Is there anyway that this series could be really bad and it's badness make it perfect?

We think of MYST as a peaceful game but The books were tremendously violent.

Maybe we should get ready for a MYST series that takes place in the middle of a war zone. Look at the Middle East, huge histories of wars but TONS, litterally tons of mysteries to discover and explore.

Wow. This got long. I guess I love the MYST fan base. I'm trusting plenty of lack, my post an example of that, I hope it's not wack.
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Re: Message to Cyan: DON'T ADAPT THE GAME!

Postby Main_Avvie » Mon May 11, 2015 4:13 am

I don't think an adaptation of any of the existing material would work from a marketing and creative standpoint.

1.) Myst was a Big Thing (tm) ... in 1995. People moved on pretty quick. Those few who stuck with it are the only ones who possess intimate knowledge of a long, extensive, convoluted, vague, and often contradictory fictional cannon. There exists no adequate "jumping in" point to the series that would be accepting of a new audience.

2.) The nature of how narrative is conveyed in Myst games doesn't work for television. It would be difficult (ie "nigh impossible") to tell an existing story from a Myst game.

That being said, BoT is the most likely candidate for adaptation. It occupies the earliest place in Myst series timeline chronologically, serves as an adequate introduction to D'ni, and it tells its story from the start independent of outside material so it can stand alone as a self-contained narrative. It would also lend itself to an 'epic' scope in the way it could present D'ni as a busy, active wonderland instead of an empty desolate ruin... and then of course tear it all down dramatically (complete with special effects). People do love a good disaster drama, especially where romance is involved.

BoA might work as originally conceived by Robyn Miller for "Dunny Hut" but BoA assumes too much prior knowledge of Myst and Riven for uninitiated audiences to really appreciate. It would function well as a whimsical Wonderland-esque fantasy of delving into a fantastic hidden realm, but I think the tone of the story is a bit too dark and serious to pull off. Stories with that premise are usually geared towards children.

I still expect - and even hope for - an original narrative.
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Re: Message to Cyan: DON'T ADAPT THE GAME!

Postby Terokh Jeruth » Mon May 11, 2015 5:45 am

I'd also think that the most likely thing is a new narrative but that might mean an "alternate universe" kind of thing as well. Much like the new Star Trek movies use all the same characters but don't follow the same cannon as the original series. I'm not sure how I'd feel about that as an option. It would have to be very well done to overcome people's attachment to Cyan's original.

Another option that came to mind while reading your last post "Main_Avvie" was that, if they wanted to adapt both BoT AND BoA, they could intercut the two stories. You could draw people in with the smaller, more intimate story of BoA and then "flashback" to the BoT story. For instance they could have scenes of Gehn and Atrus making their way down the Great Shaft, then cut to scenes of Aitrus and the guild digging the shaft. They could have scenes of Gehn and Atrus sailing under Keraths Arch and into the harbour cut with scenes of Aitrus and Ti'Ana doing the same thing on their way to Veovis's Korfah V'jah. As I said this would draw the viewer in with the less busy intimate story of Atrus, and then at the same time give them the deeper richer history of the D'ni.

I don't think that's a very likely option, but it's interesting to imagine all the same. I think the biggest determining factor for the show will be its intended length. Is this a contained "once off" kind of thing. One season and we're done. Or are there hopes of many seasons? I'm staying reserved with my expectations as many a good movie or series has been ruined by these very same expectations being overblown.

I hope to be pleasantly surprised. :-)
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Re: Message to Cyan: DON'T ADAPT THE GAME!

Postby korovev » Tue May 12, 2015 1:59 pm

Ah, the Unpleasable Fanbase and its Nostalgia Goggles :P :lol:
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Re: Message to Cyan: DON'T ADAPT THE GAME!

Postby Graizur » Tue May 12, 2015 6:12 pm

Main_Avvie wrote:I don't think an adaptation of any of the existing material would work from a marketing and creative standpoint.

1.) Myst was a Big Thing (tm) ... in 1995. People moved on pretty quick. Those few who stuck with it are the only ones who possess intimate knowledge of a long, extensive, convoluted, vague, and often contradictory fictional cannon. There exists no adequate "jumping in" point to the series that would be accepting of a new audience.
-snip-
but BoA assumes too much prior knowledge of Myst and Riven for uninitiated audiences to really appreciate.
-snip-
but I think the tone of the story is a bit too dark and serious to pull off. Stories with that premise are usually geared towards children.

I still expect - and even hope for - an original narrative.



Terokh Jeruth wrote:Another option that came to mind while reading your last post "Main_Avvie" was that, if they wanted to adapt both BoT AND BoA, they could intercut the two stories. You could draw people in with the smaller, more intimate story of BoA and then "flashback" to the BoT story. For instance they could have scenes of Gehn and Atrus making their way down the Great Shaft, then cut to scenes of Aitrus and the guild digging the shaft. They could have scenes of Gehn and Atrus sailing under Keraths Arch and into the harbour cut with scenes of Aitrus and Ti'Ana doing the same thing on their way to Veovis's Korfah V'jah. As I said this would draw the viewer in with the less busy intimate story of Atrus, and then at the same time give them the deeper richer history of the D'ni.
-snip-
it's interesting to imagine all the same.
-snip-
I think the biggest determining factor for the show will be its intended length. Is this a contained "once off" kind of thing. One season and we're done. Or are there hopes of many seasons?

I hope to be pleasantly surprised. :-)


1. Does BoA or BoT really necessitate prior knowledge of MYST or Riven? I dunno. I do know that if they COULD successfully make series based BoA and BoT that would buy them some time since the game that they would make along with the TV series wouldn't have to meet the market until at least end of season 2.
Actually, a complete reset after Riven would perfect. BoD nice, and I think if any game world from Cyan could exist smack dab in the middle of an on going story, it would the story in BoD, actually. BoD is great it was only retrospect that I saw as a little bit wishfulfilly, and that only towards the end.

URU went so far though, and all that stuff is on YouTube.

It's unheard of, but do you think it's possible that all the MYST fans would delete their lets plays just so Cyan could rework the visual elements of those games, tone them down a bit, tweet them, turn them up a little, that sort of thing.

I don't completely hate URU. I don't completely hate the Bahro, I just saw a different future for the series is all. :-(

2. Is there going to be a forum just for this topic. Jeez, I wish that TV wasn't such a passive medium. In my heart, from my internal organs, I just don't believe in too many cooks in the kitchen anymore. Budget for production is one thing, but when something like URU goes so far down one road and its destination is what is, it's like,
Well, I guess we can hope the guys at Legendary surprise us. Money usually doesn't surprise me though.
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Re: Message to Cyan: DON'T ADAPT THE GAME!

Postby Vector Cramp » Wed May 13, 2015 5:07 pm

Graizur wrote:It's unheard of, but do you think it's possible that all the MYST fans would delete their lets plays just so Cyan could rework the visual elements of those games, tone them down a bit, tweet them, turn them up a little, that sort of thing.


Not sure what deleting videos of Uru would do as Cyan has pretty much given the game to the fans and have been working with some of them to add fan created content to the game. While it is possible that Uru may be written out of canon by the TV series, I don't see Cyan scrapping all the hard work that fans have put into new areas and stories.
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