My concept from 2014:
Here's a basic rundown of the major improvements that we could implement to really tie everything together and make an overall better experience:
1. Space out the journey. One problem with EoA is the pacing is frightfully quick. I can finish the game in a day, evening even, unlike Riven, Uru or Revelation which took months. Obduction as well is taking a really long time to complete. However Myst V gives you a starter age "Tahgira", then the small section of the tunnels and the other ages and that's it. What I propose is to rearrange how the game plays out entirely. This leads to my next and biggest point...
2. The full journey to D'ni AND the Cavern/K'veer in its entirety. You know what bugged me about V? It was the obvious jerry-rigging of the tunnels from DIRT into EoA, teasing us with the potential of a grand journey to D'ni in the vein of Ti'Anna and Atrus and Yeesha's respective journeys, but it ended no more than one node out from the Shaft. What I propose is to make D'ni THE focus of EoA... basically making this the DIRT game we've long been waiting for. This could be done by overlapping the project with DIRT Uru Live and using the same tunnel levels and assets. Also making use of what areas we do have of the Cavern. What I imagine is to center the gameplay around reaching the Cavern and then finding 3 remote bubble locations within D'ni rather than in the tunnels. These bubble locations would match their corresponding Ages like how the places of protection on Myst matched the themes of each Age.
3. The spacing: The Direbo book to the Tahgira bubble would go where the Noloben book is now. Direbo now only has 1 bubble to Tahgira removing the need for Esher to name the other Ages in his Direbo speech. The remaining sections of Direbo can be linked to from the Tunnels where ancient D'ni artifacts and items from the tunneling project can be found, hinting at past stories here.
The first eder tomahn by the Volcano would contain a journal of a DRC member discussing the restoration effort. Yeesha's vocalized journals would be spaced out a lot more evenly and not in a linear fashion. The first journal would be found over by where the Riven journal is now next to an object of interest, like a chest of D'ni mining gear/gas masks that would attract the player to the journal. The second rest stop would contain another old chest with a gold emblem of Gehn's insignia. This would imply that its a relic of Atrus' family. Inside there would be clothing, and Ti'Anna's journal from the time of BoT along with Aitrus' map. The map and journal can be carried, the map coming into handy for navigating the tunnels below. The Todelmer, Noloben, and Laki'ahn bubbles would now be found in various locations of the Cavern.
4. Enhanced story. Who loves journals? I sure do. Adding to the backstory to counterract "Exposition Man" is important in improving Myst V. As the final title, the story should be ALL EMCOMPASSING. How about journals from every central character to the saga to provide gravitas and richness to the experience and choice one has to make in the end.
- Kodama's Journal explaining the discovery of the Bahro.
- Marie Sutherland's Journal detailing her encounters with Esher.
- Esher's "secret" journals discussing his experiments, written in English for Sutherland's team.
- Esher's journal discussing his life growing up during the era of the Fall and his eventual escape to Noloben and how he subdued the beasts.
- Esher's journal on his relationship with Yeesha and the first quest for the Tablet.
- Ti'Anna's journal detailing her observations as she descended to D'ni and the events of BoT and the Fall.
- Atrus' journals found in an old office in Ae'Gura from the BoD era discussing hidden elements of D'ni society, the potential of a sub-class of beings - the least - and ancient texts hinting at the Tablet.
- Yeesha's journal discussing the discovery of the Tablet and what it implies for D'ni society and the Least.
- Gehn's journal as he descended to D'ni the first time and the second time with Atrus.
- Gehn's journal found on K'veer detailing his problems with Age 37 and Riven and the then-recent quarrels with his son and his lust for Catherine.
- Translations of Veovis' journal found in Veovis' bedroom on K'veer (perhaps done by Yeesha or Atrus during one of their stints in the Cavern rather than a DRC member.)
5. The Cavern itself. Without a KI, the player could travel by boat (potentially as a cutscene) to major locations of interest. These are: the far shore near the entrance to the tunnels, Ae'Gura, K'veer, and perhaps another isle or area (undecided.) In the Cavern, the puzzles would avoid using the tablet and focus more on traditional Myst-style puzzles involving unlocking doors and areas, powering machinery, etc...
The Take to Todelmer would be somewhere on Ae'Gura, possibly in another section of the museum, surrounded by space and science-related D'ni objects and giant machinery that hint at the Age beyond. The Laki Take would reside in a common area of D'ni where the common citizens would go to watch the bloodsport. The Laki Take would be surrounded by objects of the common people - Laki bones, old bottles and everyday objects of leisure to represent the Age beyond and its significance to the story arc.
6. K'veer: While the Keep is in K'veer, it is in a section of the mansion that is inaccessible at the start. However, one of the Take bubbles could be found in another section of the Island. One idea is to have the book room at the island's peak locked off, and in order to open its massive doors, one would need to explore the various halls and rooms of the mansion to find keys which unlock cupboards and closets where hidden somewhere - perhaps under Rakeri's bed - would be a series of levers like those from the Gateroom on Temple Island that unlock important rooms, such as the book room.
In the book room there would be a circle of unused pedestals at its center, while adjacent to it would be a second small room, where behind a gate that is opened by another lever found in the mansion, there would rest a book to Veovis' Korfah V'ja where the final Take would reside.
The office at the back of the room is the one used by Gehn and Rakeri and would contain Gehn's journals from his time in D'ni. This journal could even reveal his desire to be the Grower, ultimately comparing and contrasting Gehn's actions with Yeesha's and pushing the player to the final moral decision.
Gehn’s chair would rest in this office and Wahrk bones taken from Riven would decorate the office walls along with many other chambers and halls of K’veer. Objects of interest like strange D’ni devices, trinkets, inkwells and other such D’ni luxuries of the elite would be interactable.
The elevator would take one down from the book room to the ground level of the island.
Veovis' Age would be small but incredibly beautiful and would symbolize the pride and hubris of D'ni at its Fall - written by the man who destroyed their civilization - ultimately a necessary action for redemption and the redemption of the Bahro as well. Here one would find Veovis' final journal where he questions' A'Gaeris' motives and his inner turmoil, ultimately hinting that he wishes to make peace with Aitrus and that Anna was right all along in giving him clemency (This would be written in D’ni but would include a translation in the back of the journal done by Atrus along with his own reflections and commentary.) Here would lie his bones and journal, placed here by Gehn when he returned to K'veer and began cleaning out the island from the events of the Fall. The Keep here would link the player back to the bottom of K’veer island to gain access to the Tablet.
7. Better puzzles on the Ages themselves. Some of the puzzles are a bit too obvious, notably the Laki color and symbol puzzle. Perhaps it would be best to provide the codes for Laki somewhere in the Cavern, perhaps in a journal like Esher's or inscribed somewhere inconspicuous. Perhaps the shape code for the jeweler's building could be found inscribed on the bones of a Kresh fighter somewhere in the City where the Arena masters would have kept it - perhaps in an office near the Take.
8. Potentially port to Unreal.