Myst Remastered HD

General discussion about Cyan products / the company.

Myst Remastered HD

Postby Yali » Tue Oct 11, 2016 1:19 pm

Here's something I've been thinking about...

Myst Masterpiece Edition is still the most "classic" version of Myst that one could purchase, being almost identical to the original 1993 release, however it has many issues on newer machines and runs in a very tiny resolution making it more inaccessible to younger fans.

realMyst Masterpiece Edition has the opposite problem... its shiny and new in a full 3d engine but deviates from the artistic charm of the original 1993 game. Some of the textures are fantastic while others come off as more jarring. Most of the models are from the 2000 version of realMyst which look dated in the current engine. Also much of the lighting is different, being often brighter in places and lacking the raytracing of the original. The inclusion of the flashlight, the lack of daytime Stoneship, several jarring scenes (such as the head in Achenar's cache) that lack the impact they had in the pre-rendered version are common in this version.

What I'd like to see is a solution to preserving Myst's power and magic that seeks to preserve the experience one would have had in 1993 while still providing the best game experience yet with a resolution fit for modern machines.

What I propose is a Myst: Remastered HD Edition. The concept is to be an update to Myst Masterpiece with full 1080p re-renders of each shot from the original game, allowing the pre-rendered art to cover one's whole screen like a modern game.

Alternatively to most other remakes is that this version would preserve the charm and experience of the early 90s pre-rendered slideshow experience of clicking on hotspots to explore. This was one of the most significant experiences of playing Myst was this tactile feel of clicking, revealing perfectly framed imagery that took into account composition and light play. Preserving this slightly stiff, almost interactive-painting art-game experience that people would have enjoyed 20 years ago is key to preserving and accurately representing Myst as a classic work. It's akin to mobile developers who bring back NS games using the "blow into mic" effect to preserve the experience of blowing into cartridges in the 80s.

A good argument for preserving the pre-rendered experience comes from an example previously mentioned, that being Achenar's cache. In the original game, Achenar's cache was dark, frightening, moody, obviously echoing baroque painting with its heavy use of shadow and strong lighting. The severed head appears like a grotesque apparition half-submereged in the shadows of the box, its leathery skin coiling away like the skin of an apple in a Mememto Mori painting, revealing yellow-stained teeth. However, in the 2014 realMyst ME, this scene is harshly lit, with the head, not illustrated as in the original but simplistically modeled for the 2000 game, bright, shiny and unrecognizable. The experience of seeing this object for the first time as I did back in 1994 which was aesthetically and emotionally impactful is ultimately neutered in this version, divorcing the experience for a first time player from the original 90s experience.

I think its important to stress that with such a project, one should attempt to preserve the 1993 dated graphics in terms of aesthetic rather than photorealizing Myst. Myst was surreal precisely because of its naif art graphics. The exception to the rule would be in places where the original lacks - thus where something could be direly improved. For example the paintings and tapestries in Sirrus and Achenar's rooms could use HD versions of the original artworks (Girodet's Napoleonic War allegorical painting behind the mechanical bird for instance is heavily pixelated in both Myst and realMyst/realMyst ME.)

Other improvements could be such things as the inclusion of the music box:


...which could be openable as it was intended in the original game, the use of the better-acted version of Sirrus message that appeared on the PC release of Myst, the full, non-abridged version of the soundtrack, perhaps even including "Selenitic Mystgate" as the music for unlocking the Spaceship book. Moreover, perhaps such additions could be toggled on and off in the settings menu - indicating if one wants to include modifications to the original 1993 experience or not.

Additionally perhaps a Strata 3d pre-rendered version of Rime could be included along with the corresponding journals like in realMyst, however following the original 90s graphical style rather than the more modern realtime aesthetic of the Age. Including Rime and other post-Robyn Myst additions could also be toggleable.

This gives the player the best and most well-rounded experience of Myst, staying true to the surrealism and haunting naivete of the original while giving the option for the expanded, post-Robyn experience that we get in realMyst.

Perhaps additionally there could also be an "Extra" section containing concept art, recent dev interviews discussing the legacy of Myst, and the original Making of Myst video.

Maybe this kind of project could be another in-between project for Cyan to make some cash while tackling the Next Big Thing.
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Re: Myst Remastered HD

Postby KathAveara » Wed Oct 12, 2016 2:33 am

Despite having quite a number of versions of Myst already, I would buy this.
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