We have to go back to the island!
No, not the Lost island, Myst. Although, you’d be right to consider the similarities. But Myst! Yes, the first superstar computer game, which landed in 1993 and blew everyone’s minds at the time. Now, according to Deadline, Cyan World’s mysterious, gorgeous, and sometimes incredibly creepy puzzle game may (finally) become a TV series on Hulu, with a script-to-series commitment. The project will come from Legendary Television, producer Matt Tolmach (The Amazing Spider-Man), and writer Evan Daugherty (Divergent).
This project is interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s a hugely different thing for Hulu to be attempting. The streaming platform is mostly known for acquiring second-run (though great!) British series, or developing original comedies. A fantasy drama of this scale (along with some of its other recent projects from the likes of J.J. Abrams, Amy Poehler and others) signals Hulu’s desire to compete with other streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime, especially by commissioning such an ambitious series.
The other fascinating question about a Myst TV show is: how would it work? For those unfamiliar, Myst is a first-person game that starts with a man (who is never seen; a stand-in for the gamer) waking up on alone on an island with no idea where he is, how he got there, or what to do next. And … go!
Myst island is a kind of home base for a variety of island worlds (known as “ages”) that can be explored through portals accessed through sometimes very complicated puzzles (getting off of those other islands and back to Myst island also takes a lot of puzzling around). There is no one to interact with anywhere within the game, although there are occasional video feeds of those looking to lead you in the right direction (or astray, depending on whether or not they can be trusted).
One of the things that made Myst so great though was that peculiar loneliness, as one explored dead worlds with so many fascinating and often beautiful mechanical elements to them. The game could be both soothing and incredibly frustrating.
But, Robyn and Rand Miller, the brothers who created Myst, also had a sprawling mythology in mind for the island’s past and its future. It spawned a moderately successful sequel game, Riven, as well as a fantasy book series (all of which I played and read, Lord help me). All of those elements could definitely be used to bring the story of Myst to life in a very viable way as a TV drama.
Back to the specifics of the deal, Legendary acquired the rights to Myst last fall, and the competition for where the potential series might land has been fierce. Hopefully, Hulu’s commitment to the project will lead it to some great places, creatively. After all, this has been a long time in coming.
As a final note, if you are nostalgic for Myst or want to see what all of the fuss is about, the game has been redesigned (to fantastic effect) for iPad as realMyst. If you’ve found it on other platforms or want to discuss your experiences with the game or the world of Myst, please share in the comments!