Q : Myst V: End of Ages offers to the player a gameplay innovation called the Slate system. How does it work?
RM : The Slate works like any good handwriting recognition technology: players can write anything they want on the Slate, although only certain commands will be registered by the system and recognized. As a result, the Slate offers unprecedented interaction and a completely new way of exploring that has not been seen in a Myst game up to this point.
Q : What are the various possibilities that this system offers in term of gameplay?
RM : In a sense, the Slate represents a whole new language, albeit one more entertaining and "fun" than traditional languages. Here, players only have to be able to draw rudimentary symbols to speak this "language". Any time a new word is learned, a host of puzzle and interactive opportunities are opened up. Players will find that the "language" of the Slate has amazing power to direct creatures, control nature, and, determine the future, as well as make for a unique game experience.
Q : Can you give us an example of a situation in the game when you will need to use this system?
RM : With the Slate it's possible to dramatically affect the environment through the control of nature. As an example, players will have the ability to force rain upon the landscape with a single drawn command. In order to not divulge any puzzles, suffice it to say that there will be instances players will think to themselves "this would work great if I could get some water here". It's not too hard for players to imagine a variety of scenarios where we can use the natural effect of rain in a puzzle.
Q : How does the Slate system influence the storyline of Myst V: End of Ages?
RM : Without the Slate, the story that drives Myst V simply would not work. The Slate will be an integral part of every player's experience and the driving force as they progress toward their goal. Without the Slate, it would be impossible to learn the stories and failures of the past, unravel and understand the present, and, in the end, determine a proper course for the future. After all, it is the player who determines how the game, and thus the series, ends.
Q : The importance of writing and the ability it has to influence the environment is a central piece of the Myst universe. Can we consider that the Slate system illustrates perfectly the intentions of the Myst series creators?
RM : In the beginning, players first arrived to Myst Island, and the Myst universe, via a Book. Ever since, writing has continued to play an important part in the Myst series. Without the ability to write into a Descriptive Book, as the Myst legend says, Myst or any other Age would never have been created. Though we have not given players the power of the ancient writers to create worlds from scratch, we have, for the first time ever, given players a taste of writing and, as a result, the ability to alter worlds and objects. Writing and its power introduced in Myst, expounded upon with Riven, Exile, and Revelation, is now a reality in Myst V. We think players will really enjoy getting to try their hand at it.
More articles about Myst V: End of Ages