I’m old enough to remember booting up the family PC and spending hours clicking through the world of Myst, a first-person point-and-click adventure puzzle game originally released in 1993. Hollywood has tried to translate the game’s mesmerizing world to both the big and small screen over the past ten years, first with a planned movie and then with a TV show on Hulu, but nothing came of either attempt.
Now, more than twenty-five years after the first game’s debut, a different company has come along and purchased the rights, so we may end up seeing a Myst movie and TV show after all. But is that world a good fit for those mediums?
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Village Roadshow Entertainment Group has scooped up the film and TV rights to Myst, and the company plans to “mine the game’s deep mythology of the Myst franchise to develop a multi-platform universe across film and television (both scripted and unscripted).” That unscripted angle is a component I can’t recall seeing from another major property like this. Since Myst is all about solving puzzles, could they be developing an escape room-style series in which real people have to solve puzzles inspired by the games?
For those who missed out on the Myst hype in the ’90s, here’s a brief synopsis:
Myst’s story concerns an explorer named Atrus who has the ability to write books which serve as links to other worlds, known as Ages. This practice of creating linking books was practiced by an ancient civilization known as the D’ni, whose society crumbled after being ravaged by disease. The player takes the role of an unnamed person referred to as the Stranger and assists Atrus by traveling to other Ages and solving puzzles. Over the course of the series Atrus writes a new Age for the D’ni survivors to live on, and players of the games set the course the civilization will follow.
The game made waves by dropping players onto its detailed island with practically no explanation, forcing them to explore their surroundings and learn as they go. But so many years after the games’ cultural zenith and a decade after the end of Lost – another property about a mysterious island with a deep, complex mythology – will audiences spark to a Myst movie and TV show? That description about Atrus and the D’ni is technically accurate, but it belies just how much time players spend totally alone in the game world, wandering around looking for clues. That’s not exactly cinematic – although the games’ jaw-dropping production design would certainly be impressive to see translated into live-action.
Village Roadshow will develop and produce the projects alongside brothers and Myst co-creators Rand and Robyn Miller, and it’s heartening to learn that the original creators will at least be able to have some input into these adaptations of this sprawling story. Maybe this means that abandoned idea for a Myst theme park will finally come to fruition somewhere…
Here’s an extensive history from 2016:
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