Myst V Renewal Project

General debates and discussion about the Guild of Writers and Age creation

Myst V Renewal Project

Postby Yali » Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:41 am

One idea that I've been consistently returning to whenever I play End of Ages is to somehow give it the Skywind treatment. There is so much potential in End of Ages that went squandered due to budget/time constraints. We hardly know who Esher is, obviously lacking character development and a backstory and the game's environments and puzzles are dastardly short and linear. What I propose is a concept called Myst V Renewal Project which would seek to transform EoA into the climactic final title worthy of the number 5 (and all its significance to the D'ni.)

My concept from 2014:
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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.

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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.
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Re: Myst V Renewal Project

Postby Sirius » Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:57 am

I'm not sure of the doability of this project, especially since Uru is quite idle right now. However I do like most of these ideas.

Myst V always kind of felt rushed to me. Yeah, it felt like something was missing at the bottom of the Great Shaft. The gameplay has a few good ideas, but the Slate/Take/Keep thing should have been kept to a single Age only - copying that mechanism over and over in each Age feels very lazy. And there wasn't much to do in each Age - actually, the Ages themselves are bigger than in the first Myst, but that doesn't work well since the gameplay is in full 3D which, although an impressive feat at the time, doesn't age well IMHO (hmmm, I feel like I've already said that recently). That, and puzzles for the sake of puzzles (although that's always tricky to get right anyway).
But yeah, my biggest complain about the game must be Esher. Oh, look, bad guy with no backstory that always pops-in to give you uninteresting facts about D'ni.

On the other hand, the game has a lot of potential, since it basically ties the Myst series to Uru, which were both on a completely different level story-wise. It also has some very good idea - like Yeesha having trouble dealing with both her past with her family and her present as a bitter and lonely Grower who feels like she failed everything despite having more power than anyone else. Or Esher who is nostalgic of D'ni, and for some reason hates Yeesha and the Bahro and Slates, and yet has no other choice but to rely on them - even if it means tearing down some Bahro skin to provide him a safe link to wherever he goes when we're not looking. Oh wait, that's right. If we can't see him, it just means he doesn't exist and doesn't do anything at all, right ?

Really, there are some incredibly good ideas but they are either spoiled by clumsy decisions (Yeesha carefully placing her almost-empty journals throughout the Great Shaft for no reason at all), or not exploited at all. For instance, what does Esher feel about the DRC ? About Atrus and Releeshahn ? Why does he seem to dislike Yeesha so much ? Where was he at the time of the Fall ? How does he feel about outsiders like you ? What's his opinion on D'ni's xenophobia ? About the Watcher ?
Also, why the heck are the Slates in these 4 Ages in particular ? Well, there is a good reason when you think about it, but that doesn't explain who placed these here. Was it the Bahro ? Or does the Tablet have a conscience of some kind ?
I don't mean everything should be spelled out, but there should be some well-hidden clues about all these things. It might seem a queer comparison, but games like Dark Souls do a very good job at this - you play the entire game thinking there is no background or story at all. Then you start putting all the pieces together and realize there is actually a stunning story in which everything is connected. A story that's actually better than anything that normal games throw at you. That's what Myst V should have done - especially since it's the culmination of two very rich stories: Atrus' family and the DRC.

Actually, Esher is so bland that at some point I decided that he was actually Kadish - that might seem a bit far stretched at first, but is a very satisfying answer to me.

Anyway, yeah, Myst V is a good game, but my opinion is that it could have been so much better. :shrug:
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Re: Myst V Renewal Project

Postby Tweek » Sun Oct 16, 2016 10:12 am

Myst 5 feels rushed because it was, it was a grabbing of left over elements pooled together to put a game out to a. make Ubisoft happy and b. earn some coin.

Originally Myst 5 was set 50 years after 2005 the DRC had long gone, Yeesha was looking a lot older and Atrus was almost ready to kick the bucket. This was retconned when MOUL returned with it being set in 2005 and with Watson being the person who freed the Bahro.

There were tablets in 4 Ages because originally this was going to involve the 4 Seers. MOUL's story over a period of years was going to introduce new aspects to the Bahro allowing players to learn more and more about them leading up to the Bahro Tablet and the freedom. The 4 Seers were going to play a large part in that. I haven't completely ascertained what the motives were behind the Seers yet but I have narrowed it down to two points.

a. They were people who had taken the Quest and failed, and now safe guard the takes/keeps and guide others through the task to free the bahro.
b. They don't want the Bahro freed and are guardians of the keeps/takes.

Currently we know of 3 of the Seers, Widsom Kindness and Justice. 2 appear to be of D'ni (Kindness and Justice) the Seer of Wisdom however does not bear a resemblance to D'ni physiology however she does seem to wear an outfit of D'ni style. Also she had around her neck a small medallion that appears to be made of Bahro skin and bears the "branch" symbol that many Bahro have on their heads (a result of a writ of passage they go through when young). Whether she is "good" or "bad" is thrown into uncertainty as a result.

With Myst 5 the concept of the Seers were all rolled into one guy Esher, again he has the Bahro hide taken from the Bahro King "Nekislahoth" which he uses to Link at will.


Personally if I was going to be rolling Myst 5 stuff into Uru I'd be working on bringing back the whole Seers aspect. But that won't happen because Cyan are really protective of the Bahro lore.
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Re: Myst V Renewal Project

Postby Sirius » Sun Oct 16, 2016 10:58 am

Ah, that explains the various Seer concepts Cyan released, and the fact that Esher is often referred to as "The Seer" into the game files. Maybe that also explains the tone of Watson's journal in Descent as well. Although I still can't understand why Cyan forced us to play as Watson in MV anyway, since "Me" or "The Stranger" would have been just as well.
Did you figure it all out from the concept arts, or did Cyan actually revealed some of these things ?

Heh, some time ago I saw a "Making Of" video of Myst V, in which they presented it as "The best game in the series", "The culminating point of the whole Myst universe", blah blah blah. To me it only felt like a rushed game that introduced completely new stuff (Tablet ? Bubbles ? Slates ? They're not even in Uru for all I know, except for a few paintings in Kemo) while failing miserably at tying with the older stuff (Atrus, DRC, etc). The "it's the end" feeling was only sustained by the thread of the Tablet, which once again we know nothing about anyway. And, once again, you have no idea why the four Ages you visit are where the Slates are.

Hmmm, this makes me kind of sad, I was hoping Cyan's intentions were to leave the game open-ended and leave it to the players to figure out what all that was about, from well hidden elements scattered throughout Uru. Since I only played ABM at the time, and didn't pay attention to the various journals in the game, believing this made sense. Instead, it's just the usual money problem with Ubisoft being unsurprisingly mixed in.

Oh well... In a way, failing to deliver an interesting ending means the fans are totally free to reinterpret it any way we want, IMO. Sure, Cyan won't ever acknowledge it, but whatever. They can't prevent us from having our own opinions on the events.
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Re: Myst V Renewal Project

Postby Tweek » Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:22 pm

Figured out from various artwork and via tidbits mentioned in game and by Cyan folks.

The Seers and Bahro are an area of lore I have spent a stupid amount of time working through.
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