Marking Riven’s 25th Anniversary: An Update from the Starry Expanse Project

Greetings from the team at the Starry Expanse Project!

It’s been some time since our last update. Trust us — we know!

With today’s exciting announcement from Cyan and the accompanying Open Letter to Fans of Riven, our team has been given the opportunity to speak publicly about our collaboration with Cyan.

We are beyond excited to share in Cyan’s announcement that the Riven remake is finally official, and that our team’s efforts have been instrumental in providing a foundation upon which the new Riven can be built. Although our part of the journey has come to an end, the next chapter will be an exciting one to follow for all Myst fans.

Our project began with a laudable (and what seemed like an easily achievable) goal: To keep the promise made by realMyst and recreate its successor in real-time 3D.

A sampling of our team’s work over the years recreating Riven

As our plans became more ambitious, and we moved beyond recreating Riven in the Plasma engine as a mod for Uru, the team grew in size and matured and our skill sets diversified.

Several (in)famous engine switches later, we had transformed from a group of students and hobbyists into a tight-knit team of professional artists and programmers united by our passion for doing our project justice.

In August 2019 we were invited to come to Cyan HQ to share our work, vision, and plans for the future. We are so grateful to have been given this opportunity, and for Cyan’s willingness to dive into our development process and methodology, one uniquely suited to recreate this one particular game.

The Starry Expanse contingent outside Cyan HQ, Mysterium 2019

We’ve kept a pretty low profile since that time — which was a shift for us after so many years of public transparency — but while we’d handed the reins over to Cyan in the months following our meeting, they were not ready to make a public announcement just yet.

Now the details have been ironed out and the torch has been passed. After well over a decade of planning, developing, and endless camera-matching, this amazing world that we pored over for so long is going to be realized. Riven is real.

So what happens now?

Cyan has definitely got their work cut out for them, and our team (with one notable exception) are moving on to other projects, but our love for Riven hasn’t faded. We’ll still be both here and in our Community Discord, just like we have always been.

We are looking forward to sharing more of our story and the things we’ve learned along the way in the coming months. And we’re really excited to be able to talk to you directly again, after all this time.

We would like to extend our most heartfelt thanks to all of our fans for their passion, encouragement, and most of all their patience. It’s been a long road. Thank you for walking the distance with us.

If you want to learn more about Cyan’s update, you can read it in full here. Likewise, there is an FAQ about the new Riven project posted on their website

If you have any questions about the Riven project, we encourage you to join the Cyan community Discord. For anything else Starry Expanse related, you can find us here.

11 Responses to “Marking Riven’s 25th Anniversary: An Update from the Starry Expanse Project”.

Team members' usernames are in red.
  • Aloys Says:

    Well.. ain’t that something! 🙂

    This is awesome news. I can’t imagine how exciting you guys are. More information for Spokane can’t come soon enough..

    Also, very important: next Mysterium (in Spokane, ha!) you guys *have* to make a panel to tell us the whole story there..! Can’t wait to see you there.

    Thanks so much to Zib and the whole team for sticking to the dream and making this happen over the years!

  • Khatie Says:

    I completely agree with Aloys…

    Thank you to the entire SE team for dreaming the dream. We often talk about the ending not yet being written but you all chose to begin the next chapter so thank you for picking up the pen.

    So happy to see this work continue.

  • Ken Says:

    Sorry to hear that after a decade you’ve been pushed put of the project 🙁 . Thank you for all of your hard work. Riven wouldn’t be what it will be if it weren’t for all of your hard work.

  • Ben Says:

    Wow that is great news. I have been patiently waiting for years, and I don’t mind waiting a little bit more, especially because now we know for sure it will happen.

    Still waiting for the firmament release. If I could pre-order the game, I would.

  • Brinton Says:

    Thanks for all the work you guys have done over the years. You’ve been a major source of inspiration for me, and I’m looking forward to how things go. We couldn’t have this remake without you!

  • Vern Says:

    I hate emails like this… Its confirmed that real Riven will NEVER be released… Riven is my number one game of all time (age 43) I watched the SEP develop real Riven for 7-8 years and the fact that cyan have emailed me today saying that development continues, is alarms bells saying it will never be released..
    To be honest, I waited for the remake of myst at cyan and it was a huge disappointment… I’d rather play the original… So maybe making these games real are not a good thing… I’m happy enough to play the game the way it was intended… With your imagination.

  • Ryan S. Davis Says:

    Congratulations! I’m excited the project will continue!

  • Jamie Says:

    Excellent news. I wonder if this is the the thing Rand wanted to tell us about but could not. What will you do now?

  • Jordan Says:

    Thanks for all your work guys. Looking forward to seeing what Cyan does with it, and hopefully it lives up to the promise of the excellent work you were doing.

  • Vincent Krebs Says:

    Well, first, let’s truly hope that Cyan does not rush the in-game characters as they did with their Myst remake.

    And honestly…

    I find it quite harsh on Cyan’s part to state that the SE team merely “assisted in kicking off this project”.

    Come on guys, is this how you thank them?

    They have done all the job for you, they have been working like mad men, voluntarily, sacrificing all their free time, being students, and in the end who will get the profit?

    And what then? Not only do you not give them half the credit they deserve, but (that’s such a joke)… you only hire 1 guy and drop the rest of the team down to the toilet? I guess the “partnership” went one way, uh?

    And what about us fans, Cyan, who have been following, translating, kickstarting the project? To us you give no respect, you wait for what, more than 2 years, in complete silence, and eventually you come out with pointless (non-)information.

    Pretty laughable in my opinion, if not sad…

  • Robert Kosten Says:

    Eh, I cant say this fills me with with glee. The open letter strikes me, as others have mentioned, as patronizing and luke-warm. Cyan has made a lot of bad and outright dumb decisions (e.g. A *very* disjointed amd mon-engaging Obduction, and unceremoniously killing off the Myst franchise, respectively). Would I have paid for starryexpanse? Almost certainly. Will I for RealRiven? Almost certainly not.

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