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Thursday, July 5, 2001

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Red Herring Fishes for Mudpie 'Dirt'
10:12 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

The fact that a trendsetter financial magazine such as Red Herring is publishing articles about an upcoming video game is ample proof that game budgets (and profits) are becoming large enough to attract mainstream attention. However this article about Cyan's upcoming project Mudpie isn't just about the numbers, although some shocking figures are revealed in the process. In this interview with MYST co-creator Rand Miller, he discusses Mudpie, Rand's goals for the game and what he will need to get there.

In a market where game makers are lucky to even make their money back, Rand Miller is considered an unqualified master of the field -- after all, his first major game (MYST) raked in $320 million and is widely considered to be the first game to not only motivate hardware purchases (in this case CD-ROM drive upgrades) but to bring gaming to a mainstream audience. While reproducing such a feat seems unlikely in a market that is eight years older and even further entrenched in game "genres," that is exactly Rand's goal -- to create a game that once again brings the mainstream audience back into the fold, and once again motivates the market to upgrade (in this case, to a broadband Internet connection).

The article also discusses the finances of Mudpie (which are equally astounding), the search for venture capital to finance the project and some of the history behind it. Here's an excerpt about the game itself:

An early version of Mudpie walks the player through a vast maze of tunnels to the underground civilization known as D'ni, the deserted city that also serves as the backdrop for Myst titles. Rather than shoot at each other, players explore the underground world, which covers several square miles and is rendered in breathtaking 3D animation.

Players will be able to build their own neighborhoods, where they can control entry and shield their children from shady characters. In addition, Mudpie will include short games, like a form of hide-and-seek, within the game. And, of course, Mudpie will be built around a story (advanced by Cyan Worlds staff members, who will converse with players over the Internet) that Mr. Miller believes will draw people back again and again.

While a worthwhile read for fans anticipating this title (which is given a VERY tentative date of mid-2002) this article should be of interest to anyone curious about the finances of game creation and publishing. Perhaps one of the most significant facts noted in passing is that the Miller brothers only received ten percent of the $320 million that MYST made -- certainly a lot of money by any stretch, but the publishers and retailers did seem to get the better end of the bargain. Our thanks to The Riven Unnofical Home Page for the tip.

Riven Unofficial Home Page
Inside Tech: Miller makes a mountain out of Mudpie at

Other Mac Games News for Thursday, July 5, 2001

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Eliminator "Aftershock" Reviewed11:12 AM
New id "Games" Set Rumor Mill Abuzz11:01 AM
• Red Herring Fishes for Mudpie 'Dirt'10:12 AM
Bannister Emulator Updates9:15 AM
Ambrosia/ATMOS Unveil Nova Preambles9:11 AM
Pillars of Garendall on Third (Last?) Beta [Updated]9:09 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, July 5, 2001 on one page

Mac Games News for Wednesday, July 4, 2001

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Tomb Raider: Chronicles Demo Released9:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, July 4, 2001 on one page

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