Legendary Television and Hulu have teamed up to create a TV drama based on the seminal early ’90s PC adventure game, Myst. The Amazing Spider-Man and Sinister Six producer Matt Tolmach and Divergent writer Evan Daugherty are currently developing the project. Deadline reports that Hulu has signed the two for a “script-to-series commitment,” meaning that if Hulu likes Daugherty’s script, it will skip a pilot and go straight to a series order.
In Myst, players wake up on a mysterious, steampunk-inflected island without any memory of who they are or how they got there. The player, known as “the Stranger,” must explore the island by pointing and clicking through static, pre-rendered scenes in order to solve its puzzles and uncover its secrets. Myst‘s mythology revolves around special books that teleport people between unique, pocket dimensions known as Ages.
By exploring the various Ages the player gradually learns about a man named Atrus who created these books, and the schism between his rival sons. The world was further fleshed out through multiple sequels, a short-lived multiplayer spin-off, and numerous novels.
The gameplay itself is quite sedate and solitary, not lending itself obviously to TV dramatization. However, the underlying mythos of a bitter rivalry between people with the power to create and move between new worlds shows promise, and lends itself very well to visually-compelling world-building. The broad premise of a mysterious, magical island also bears a more than passing resemblance to LOST, a factor that likely came up in the project’s favor while it was being shopped around.
Legendary Television acquired the rights to the franchise in the fall of 2014. At the time, developer Cyan Worlds announced the deal as not just for a television series, but “a true transmedia product that will include a companion video game that extends the story across both media.” The announcement mentions the prevalence of people using phones and tablets simultaneous to watching television, citing this as an untapped area of exploration for interactive storytelling.
Myst was one of the first CD-ROM games when released in 1993 by brothers Rand and Robyn Miller with Cyan, Inc. It was a surprise hit, helping to drive the format’s adoption in home computers and stood as the best-selling PC game of all time until it was dethroned by The Sims in 2002. First released for Windows and Mac OS, Myst has been ported and remastered to numerous platforms in the subsequent decades, ranging from consoles and handhelds to phones and tablets.
Cyan is currently developing a Kickstarted spiritual successor to Myst called Obduction, which is scheduled to release in fall 2015. Although technically not connected to the mythos of Cyan’s defining franchise, it bears many of the series’ defining traits.
“It’s Myst in space,” art director Eric Anderson told PC World. “We call [the different worlds] Ages, in-house. We have the equivalent of Linking Books. So yeah, when people play it they’re going to say ‘Oh, they made another Myst game.'”