MYST, the top selling computer adventure game franchise of all-time, wouldn’t seem to be a likely candidate for a film adaptation. As popular as it is, the format of the games—a non-linear narrative requiring you to explore and progress through mysterious environments by pointing-and-clicking—doesn’t conveniently lend itself to the film medium.
But has that ever stopped anyone in Hollywood before?
Partnered with producers Hunt Lowry (Duma, The Last of the Mohicans) and Mark Johnson (Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, The Chronicles of Narnia), Mysteria Film Group has optioned the rights for MYST for a live-action film. Learn more after the break.
Deadline reports that the film will partially focus on “the influence of a human who entered Myst and inadvertently brought down the civilization”, while also drawing on the plot from the mythology that’s been built up over the course of the games.
Easing the burden of trying to adapt the series into a film-friendly narrative are three companion novels, which were produced by MYST-creators Rand and Robyn Miller to develop Myst’s back-story.
Mysteria’s Adrian Vanderbosch said this of the undertaking:
Our aim with this project is to stretch the genres it operated within, much like the source material did. It is such an innovative property and by utilizing the novels as our primary resource, we have the opportunity to offer audiences the essence of MYST without being limited only to the famous island of the first game. Our focus has always been on creating an entirely new visual experience driven by engaging characters and an epic narrative.
This isn’t the first time somebody has tried to adapt the MYST franchise. In 2002, Sci-Fi Channel announced that it would creating a TV miniseries based on the games, but the project fell apart because Rand Miller and his development team at Cyan Worlds felt their proposals were too formulaic or silly.
Miller must have saw something in this project though, because in 2006, two independent filmmakers—one of whom was Adrian Vanderbosch—sent a DVD proposal to Cyan, and the developers gave them permission to begin production. It’s taken until now for any movement to be made on the film, but the rights being optioned and two notable producers coming aboard show that Vanderbosch’s persistence is starting to pay off.
Here’s a plot synopsis for the games:
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.
And here’s a cinematic trailer for one of the games—MYST III: Exile, to be precise—for those who have never experienced the MYST series before: