Archives by Day

August 2020


Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4
Genre: Adventure
Developer: Cyan
Release Date: 2021/2022

About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!


'Firmament' (ALL) Delayed Until Next Year... Or the Year After

by Rainier on July 15, 2020 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Firmament is a new steampunk VR adventure experience from the creators of Myst and Obduction.

Firmament is a resplendent, magical, journey — a monumental voyage through four diverse and curious realms, working in concert with an ever-present, clockwork companion, and the support and instruction of a long-dead, ethereal mentor.

Everything is not as it seems.

Deeply rooted in the spirit of Myst, Riven and more recently, Obduction, Firmament is an all-new, immersive, atmospheric adventure that will be released initially for traditional gaming on PC, and VR headsets Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

Firmament is an all-new story and experience, but it draws on and embraces the steampunk aesthetics (that define parts of Myst) to weave a rich and surprising narrative - with just a touch of magic. The player explores various fantastic worlds with the help of a mechanical adjunct. This constant companion gradually becomes an essential instrument as the player learns how to seamlessly interact, guide, and communicate with it, uncovering a remarkable chain of events.

Making a video game happens in phases (with some overlap, experienced devs will rightly point out that this is a bit of an ideal- the reality is often quite a bit messier). The first phase is to design the game. This is the part where the team comes up with the narrative arc, creates any characters, plots out the puzzles and twists, and figures out the overall gameplay. What comes out of the design phase is a design document that ends up being the roadmap for the development phase. The team is then able to begin actually developing the game you end up playing.

While we are quite far along in the design phase, we’re still very early in the development phase. For example, as Eric talked about a couple updates back, we’ve only had an art director on board for this project for a couple of months now… he’s fantastic, but not a miracle worker! It’s his concept artwork AND design leadership that are bringing the design phase to a close and paving the way for a smooth transition to the development phase. There is still a long way to go and a whole lot still to be done.

With that in mind, Firmament’s Estimated Delivery date of July 2020 was- as it turns out- a wildly optimistic one. We know some of you had your heart’s set on playing Firmament this summer, and we’re genuinely sorry that you’re not going to be able to play it yet! We’re really bummed about that too!

Although there is no Release Date to announce today, we can tell you a couple things with some level of certainty: Firmament is not coming in 2020. And unless the stars align (which we all know happens rarely in game development), it is unlikely that Firmament will be coming in 2021. Deep breath. Please keep reading…

The Cyan ethos has always been about shipping things when they’re ready to be shipped, not picking a date and then trying to shoehorn the game into the box in an artificially limited amount of time. The downside of that is we can’t always tell you exactly when you’re going to get your game (especially this early in the process). The upside is that it gives us the freedom to make the game we are proud of, swing for the fences, and deliver a bigger experience than if we had to design to a hard deadline.

We’re making something bigger than a studio our size would ordinarily be able to produce, and because we’re an indie without a deep pool of publisher money to draw from, the only way we can accomplish something ambitious like Firmament is to invest extra time it will take to do the work. For us, we know we wouldn’t be happy with anything less… and we know you wouldn’t be either.

In late summer of 2019, the team made the tough call to take another pass at the overarching story and gameplay. You can read more about why we did this in Eric’s update, Update #23, but the gist of it is that we wanted to build out a richer world, new kinds of gameplay, and a bigger story arc. We’re in the process of wrapping up that effort now as we move out of design and into development. And, we hope you trust us on this -- it's amazing and worth every extra design cycle we've spent on it.

The “bones” of Firmament are still identical to what you saw in the Kickstarter.

  • Steampunky goodness? You’ll get it!
  • An adjunct? Still there. (Even MORE integral than before, in fact!).
  • A richer, and even more substantial story? As a result of the process we started last summer, it’s going to be better than we ever imagined.
  • Gameplay? Some major changes and adjustments that we think will set Firmament apart.

We understand how frustrating a (non)answer like this may be for some of you, but we are standing firm in the idea that it is better to not commit to a hard ship date until we can be reasonably certain we will be able to hit the date, while also completing a game we can be proud of.

We’re working hard, and the proof is in the sharp uptick in frequency of backer updates and beautiful concept art we’ve put out over the last couple of months as we’ve moved from building the written design document into concept art creation. The fact is that for a lot of the design phase there was a WHOLE LOT happening that would have made for crushingly spoiler-filled updates, or utterly boring ones because there’s not a lot to SEE. But now that there is more to show, updates going forward will continue on-pace for the remainder of the project. You’ll be hearing from us frequently, and be able to see the progress we’re making as we go.

We also want more of your feedback! If you want near-real time discussion with the folks on the team, the Cyan Discord is a great place to drop your questions, comments, or concerns.

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback on how best we can reach out to the community during this time. We’ve read every single comment & suggestion sent in. Based on the feedback we received, we will be ramping up our streaming presence in the coming months, so be on the lookout for interviews, work-in-progress videos, team Q&As and whatever else we can think to do via live video chat. (And never fear, we’ll definitely be recording it all for those who can’t watch it live!)

Firmament is scheduled for release in 2021/2022 and be available for PS4, PC, Rift and Vive.

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