V: END OF AGES was the final entry in the standalone PC Myst series.
It was released in late 2005, only 18 months after a broad
decision was made by publisher Ubisoft to shut down their online MMO
games division, including Myst Online (Uru)
disappointing sales record of the recent Myst games - RealMyst and Uru
actually lost money and Myst IV barely passed the break even mark -
Ubisoft wanted to cut costs, trading on Cyan's name and releasing a
lower-budget, tighter-schedule Myst game.
The result was not
good, but not really bad by any means either. Myst V had a thin
and rather tangential plot, with more connections to Uru than to the
singleplayer Myst series. The graphics were pretty but realtime
3D, like Uru, in the mid-2000s, so not as detailed as the series was
in, say, Riven, Myst III or Myst IV.
Still, good art direction,
sometimes a bit rushed looking in execution but not bad, and the
soundtrack and audio was good but not great.
Puzzle wise it was
hard to see any of the puzzles as horrendously ill-concieved and there
were some flashes of clever design that made some parts genuinely
All I can say for Myst V, in the end, is that it
was fairly good but could have been far better if there were more time
allocated Cyan to the project.
A documentary promoting the game
was included with the Limited Edition and it provides some insight but
glosses over Uru completely and the genre's deteriorating situation,
and pretends as though the last game was a great product and that the
developers were happy about how things were going.
I'm sure there
was some real enthusiasm behind Myst V and the game did have some
bright spots, but Cyan staffers privately probably were less upbeat and
far more nervous - about the truncated production timeline for the
game, and about what might happen to their jobs if it tanked like Uru
recently had, which it did to some degree.
the end of 2005 laid a bunch of people off as the game posted
unimpressive sales figures. The studio was in a dire situation
after this, and they pitched a bunch of ideas to any publisher who
would listen. One idea they had involved time travel and the
butterfly effect as a core game mechanic, and they had three software
tech patents related to the concept. A second was a Myst-like
game that would shift more in the direction of science fiction than
pure fantasy (this later became Obduction) and the third was to
relaunch Uru in hopes that post-2005 it might catch on given that
broadband internet in 2005 was becoming far more common than during
Uru's first failed launch during 2003. That last pitch paid off in the form of Myst Online: Uru Live on Gametap, which ran from 2006 to 2008 before the MMO was shut down for a second time. (The Myst MMO would later be relaunched one last time as donation-supported freeware in 2010 and that version is still available today.)
Myst series and Obduction are creative works by Cyan, Inc. No
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