IV Revelation Q&A
Genevieve Lord, producer
conducted by Jennifer Miller & Randy Sluganski
We first met the enchanting Genevieve Lord at the 2004 E3. Though
an interview had been planned once Myst IV Revelation had been completed,
a recent positive article in Time Magazine made the occasion even
We hope you enjoy our
chat with Ms. Lord as much as we did as took the occasion to ask
Ms. Lord to provide some details not only on
Revelation storyline, but also Ubisoft’s marketing plans for
their newest entry in the Myst franchise.
In a recent Time Magazine article about Myst IV,
Gamespot Executive Editor Greg Kasavin described the Myst series
as representing "an antiquated style of gaming." How
do you as an adventure gamer
interpret such a remark and how do you as Myst IV producer
respond to such a remark?
G. Lord -
As a fan of adventure games, and of Myst in
particular, I can only say that I love adventure games and I
know that I am not
alone. As producer of Myst IV Revelation,
I’m very proud of
our team in that we’ve been able to create beautiful artwork,
integrate extremely dynamic animations where Myst “comes
to life” and incorporate a “help” system so
that this will be the Myst game that
everyone will finish. I think the collaboration of these elements,
the immersive soundtrack, composed by Jack Wall
with a song by Peter Gabriel, definitely push the Myst franchise
in exciting new directions.
Hardcore action gamers claim that adventure games are too slow
paced and the puzzles
are too hard. Lead Designer Patrick Fortier in Time Magazine
promises a faster paced, more immersive game where “The whole
idea is about living an adventure, not solving a particular puzzle. ”While
this sounds interesting, are you not then just designing the game for
a demographic that won’t purchase it regardless of any innovations?
G. Lord - We’re designing the game for a large audience of
both traditional videogame players and non-videogame players. We
feel that we’ve created a game, in Myst IV Revelation, that
will appeal to both of these important audiences – they need
not be exclusive. In other words, our foremost goal was to create
the best Myst game we possibly could.
In fact, we did what any good videogame developer does before they
create a new game - they research, they compare, and they try to
look for ways to make the game more appealing, exciting, dynamic,
JA - Time states that Myst:
Exile and Uru combined have sold only 450,000 copies.
Is this because of game quality or do you believe that the Myst franchise
can be better marketed?
G. Lord - Both of those
games were highly acclaimed, so quality definitely wasn’t an issue. In regard to how each was marketed,
I can’t really speak about that since as a producer, my job
is mainly to make Myst IV Revelation a great game. I will say, however,
that the marketing team has been quite responsive to the team suggestions
on that matter.
JA - What would you suggest be done differently to market the Myst series?
Whereas it’s easy to market a sports or fps game as the male 15-25
year-old demographics are clear-cut, the adventure genre appeals more to
the intellect and appeals to all races, sexes and age groups.
G. Lord - Well, we’re
excited to have been part of a Time Magazine article, which is
obviously an extremely well known weekly
magazine; we will feature the game trailer in movie theaters in October;
and we feel a strong push by the Myst/adventure community will help
spread the word.
JA - What type of reviews are you anticipating for Myst
IV? More of the “This
is the same old game with fancy graphics” or “Myst IV sets new
standards for adventure games?”
G. Lord - Well, early
indications from the journalists lean more toward your latter statement
that, “Myst IV sets new standards
for adventure games.” We’re excited
about reading/hearing from everyone who plays the game.
JA - Do you think that Myst
IV being DVD only will negatively affect sales?
G. Lord - Our research
shows that using a CD format would have simply ruined the gameplay
experience for Myst IV Revelation – swapping
up to 12 CDs during gameplay. Last year, Ubisoft released the Myst
10th Anniversary DVD Edition and the number of support calls were
extremely low as most computers now come with a DVD drive; DVD is
the way of the future just like CD was when the original Myst title
JA - How involved has Rand Miller been with Myst
G. Lord - Rand plays again
in his role of Atrus in Myst IV Revelation, so from both a direct
in-game and from an overarching perspective,
Rand Miller’s definitely involved.
Do you feel that the recent success of games like Syberia
2 and Schizm have influenced
the creative decisions you made on Myst
G. Lord - We started development
of Myst IV Revelation more than three years ago, so in many ways
we were working within a “Myst-bubble” so
to speak. In other words, we know the Myst franchise and fans very well and
we wanted to make sure to address their needs first and foremost with this
title. The adventure genre is one of which game makers must always take a
new spin and/or push the envelope in order to stay a step ahead.
Some other types
of games are more patterned similarly to each other than dissimilarly – take
the FPS as an excellent example, once someone introduces a particular feature
or technique, everyone else plays catch up to incorporate the same thing
in their own unique way. Adventure games wouldn’t be successful if
they simply tried to “mask” other types of previous adventure
games – much
like a mystery novel.
JA - The integration of
the "living" element into the
worlds of Revelations provides an unprecedented amount of realism
not previously found in any adventure game. You can even "touch" things
(which I love!). Will these new technologies feature heavily in the
puzzle solving process?
G. Lord - The way we
incorporate the technology with the storyline and puzzles is something
proud of and we’re
very confident players will find them enjoyable. More details on
this would be spoiling.
JA - Ubisoft has really
given themselves a huge challenge in developing the Achenar/Sirrus
story from Myst, perhaps even giving it a more
satisfying end. In many ways, it's like someone trying to write a
new volume of Lord of the Rings. Were you nervous at all going into
the writing process of such a well known story? Where did you begin?
G. Lord - I’m not sure we’d classify it as “nervous”,
however, we were anxious about working on Myst as a franchise in general. In
fact, we enlisted Mary DeMarle, script writer/contributer to Myst:
she would be a better source to answer this question.
JA - In both Myst and Exile, the brothers were portrayed as moral-less, power
hungry tyrants. Will we see more of (if any) the humanity in Sirrus and Achenar?
G. Lord - Without answering
that question directly, I can say this … you
will find out a lot about each of the brothers, including many things
you might not have expected.