Seems like there’s been this Myst resurgence lately (or at least, someone’s trying to start one). I’ll admit I bought the wretched DS version even though I should have known better, and I bought the game again when it came out for the iPhone. I know I’m being suckered on some level, but Myst was a big deal for me way back when. I’m not so sure I think a movie is a good idea, though.
However, an indie film group by the name of Mysteria Film Group does think so, and they’ve announced that they have recently acquited the rights to turn the novel Myst: The Book of Ti’ana into a film. Instead of basing the film on the games alone, Mysteria says they will use the novels to develop a richer story for the film they are planning. Having read a few of those novels, I can safely say this could either be a really good or really bad idea depending on how it’s executed.
Legendary “Myst” Title Optioned to Hollywood Newcomers
South Bend, Indiana – July 29th, 2009 – Mysteria Film Group, LLC (MFG), an independent production company, has acquired the option to the novel, Myst: The Book of Ti’ana, for the development of the property into a major motion picture. The Filmmakers completed the script earlier this year and began unofficially shopping the project to major film studios last month.
MFG, based in South Bend, Indiana, began as a grassroots effort by two filmmakers. Even Cyan Worlds, Inc., the parent company of the Myst franchise, was not aware of their efforts for some time. “We began our adaptation without the rights,” says Adrian Vanderbosch, a Director and Producer with MFG. “It was risky and unorthodox, but we knew we would prove ourselves to Cyan with a solid blueprint of our vision for the film.”
After multiple failed game-to-film adaptations of Myst by industry leaders, Mysteria Film Group came up with a fresh approach to reinvigorate the franchise. “Our vision for the feature film found its source material not in the games, but within the deeply engrossing novels released as backstory. This provides a literary pedigree to the film adaptation,” explains Vanderbosch.
As a fantasy-themed book with its roots in the gaming world, Myst: The Book of Ti’ana finds itself planted squarely in the middle of two major Hollywood trends. “The success of film franchises like The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia have laid the groundwork for general audience appeal in the genre of fantasy, while the astronomical revenue streams in the video game market offer studios significant incentive for game-based cinema,” adds Patrick McIntire, also a Director and Producer with MFG.
The adaptation of the book garnered significant attention after Myst ’s creators endorsed the project. In January of 2008, a production blog was launched, offering an opportunity for fans to follow the journey Myst will make from legendary game icon to major motion picture. Viewership of the website, mystmovie.com, has expanded at an average of thirty percent per month. It now boasts 30,000 unique page views and 130,000 subscriptions to the blog’s RSS feed monthly.
The original Myst title was the first CD-ROM game ever developed and was lauded by critics and gamers for its groundbreaking technical achievements, engaging storytelling and unprecedented graphics. Myst quickly became the world’s best selling PC game of all time – a title it held until finally being supplanted an impressive nine years later.
In the last two years, the original title has seen a resurgence with a port to Nintendo DS, Playstation Portable width=’100%’ and, most recently, the iPhone. Within one week of its release on the iPhone application store, Myst achieved status as one of the top five best selling paid applications.
The rediscovery of this legendary game has gone a long way to validate MFG’s efforts. Once a long-shot, the Myst motion picture project has defied the odds and promises to be an exciting debut for a burgeoning production company.
“This option is a major victory,” concludes McIntire. “Cyan has placed a lot of faith in us, and we have no intention of letting them down.”