PAX West: Obduction

Monday, September 12, 2016

Myst is one of those games that you don't really forget. Back when Cyan's first big adventure was released, no one had really seen anything like it before. The strange vistas, bizarre puzzles and eccentric characters were enthralling, and I remember thinking that this was as good as graphics were ever going to get. Times have changed, but Cyan is still around and they've recently produced a new game in the vein of Myst, an expansive puzzle adventure story called Obduction and I got a chance to go hands on with it in VR at PAX West.

Cyan holds a special place in my heart. I've been playing their games for a very long time and it was very exciting to get to meet some of the creative team behind Obduction. This new game is not a sequel to the Myst series, but rather a spiritual successor. The demo that I played at on the floor at PAX was brief but really demonstrated how perfect Cyan's brand of storytelling is for the VR platform.

I found myself in a cavernous, alien looking monument that reminded me of the massive dwarven holds from the Lord of The Rings. I hopped through the area slowly, teleporting with the motion controllers to different spots within the cavern so that I could get a closer look at everything.

At one point I noticed something on the ground that looked like a flower petal. Looking up, I discovered a strangely shimmering lavender colored banner. At first I thought the texturing on the object wasn't quite complete or had glitched out somehow, but looking closer I found that the banner was made up of hundreds of these tiny scales, each one glittering in the light. It was a mesmerizing detail and I sat there transfixed by it for some time.

Though I didn't get to play them, the game features a number of other interesting environments, including a sort of old Mesa town and an old house that looks like it was ripped right out of where it was and plopped down on an alien world. At this point, I'm still mystified (get it?) by the story and can't wait to get my hands on the full game so I can begin unraveling it.

Though the VR mode is not fully ready for release yet, the team hopes to have it ready soon. It is games like this that I hope to see more of from VR. As a fledgling platform, VR has a glut of small experience type games at the moment, but very little in the way of a fully fledged story driven experience. Obduction in VR is a bold step in the right direction, and I hope that enough players take note of its rich experience. Obduction is currently available for PC.