Myst 4: Adventure Beyond the D’ni Ultraworld (lost prototype of Myst game series; 2002)


Myst 4: Adventure Beyond the D’ni Ultraworld
A screenshot of the garden in the Cascade world from the cancelled version of Myst 4.
A screenshot of the garden in the Cascade world from the cancelled version of Myst 4.
Status Lost

Myst 4: Adventure Beyond the D’ni Ultraworld (not to be confused with Myst 4: Revelation) was a cancelled video game that was intended to be the fourth sequel to the best-selling point-and-click puzzle adventure game Myst. Cyan, the original developer of Myst, didn’t intend to have any more sequels to Myst after Riven: The Sequel to Myst. However, Cyan was impressed by a pitch for a new Myst game from the developers at Presto Studios, and decided to outsource the development of a third and fourth sequel. Myst 3: Exile was developed by Presto Studios, while the fourth game was going to be developed by DreamForge Intertainment, the same developer behind the video game Sanitarium.[1]

According to a post by Patrick Fortier, UbiSoft's Creative Director at the time, on the (now dead) URU Obsession forum, the working title of the game was Myst 4: Adventure Beyond the D’ni Ultraworld.[2] Around the time Myst 3: Exile released towards the end of 2002, the rights to the Myst franchise changed hands from Mattel Interactive to Ubi Soft. At this point, according to Fortier, the game had been in development for two years. The design was finished, although the entire game was only 20% complete. UbiSoft decided to scrap DreamForge’s Myst 4 and restart its development again at their own studio: UbiSoft Montreal.[3] UbiSoft Montreal’s game became Myst 4: Revelation, while DreamForge’s Myst 4 was never released. Shortly after, DreamForge Intertainment went out of business.

Story and Gameplay

The game’s premise was going to be largely the same as that of Myst 4: Revelation. It would have taken place years after Myst 3: Exile and would’ve been about returning characters Sirrus and Achenar coming back and kidnapping Atrus and Catherine’s new daughter Yeesha. The found screenshots revealed the game would introduce new characters, named Kervis and Merinia. It is unknown what role these new characters would play in the story.

The game would’ve used real-time rendering rather than using pre-rendered graphics like the games before it. It would have featured four ages (in the Myst games, each level is referred to as an “age,”) though only the names of two of them are known: Tomahna (making a reappearance from Myst 3: Exile) and Cascade. Cascade was to be focused on water puzzles and would have a Quasi-Roman look. One of the ages was going to be an icy landscape, and one of them was going to take place “in a giant tree.”[4]

Additionally credited for working on the game are Rob Breisch, Greg Stengl, Kim Haines, Sunil Ketty, and Marty Stoltz.[5]

Screenshots and Videos

Various information and screenshots have been found of DreamForge’s Myst 4, mostly via the portfolios and resumes of the developers who worked on it. These screenshots were found and preserved on the Mysterium fansite. Concept art has been uploaded to CGSociety by the artist Brian Busatti. Renders of character models were found on the website of Mark Shahan.[6] One sketch shows a blue world, unlike anything that was seen in the screenshots, likely to be the aforementioned age which was based around ice. The most extensive account is David Locke’s, the head of R&D for Myst 4. His (now defunct) website is how many of these details are known, and it had screenshots and video footage of the unfinished game.

The captured Bink Video is blurry, low resolution, letterboxed, has poor color balance and sound mixing, but is undoubtedly the same game shown in all of the found screenshots. The videos prove that the game was far along enough in development to have a working prototype, and show off both Tomahna and Cascade. They were reuploaded to YouTube by users Przygodoskop and Unseen64. The music is from Jack Wall’s draft for Myst 3: Exile, though this is most likely because the music for Myst 4 was not finished yet.

DreamForge also worked together with Presto Studios on Tomahna, which would be more extensively explored in DreamForge’s Myst 4 - an idea that UbiSoft recycled. Models from Myst 3: Exile’s Tomahna were reused and altered to be more low-poly for performance reasons.

Fan Reaction

Although the original Myst released over 25 years ago, its fan community is still going strong. Myst 4: Adventure Beyond the D’ni Ultraworld is obscure, even amongst Myst fans. What little gameplay is seen in the footage has been praised for being able to recapture what was so great about the original Myst, and some fans have claimed they would rather have this version than UbiSoft Montreal’s, which met mixed reviews. However, it was also criticized for the decision to use real-time graphics, the rather primitive looking character models, and looking too similar to the original Myst at times.

Overall, the general consensus is that fans think DreamForge’s Myst 4 would be interesting to play, to compare it to what Myst 4: Revelation truly is. It's clear from the screenshots and artwork that there is more to the game than what is seen in the poor quality videos that have surfaced.

Gallery

Unseen64 video of the cancelled game

References

  1. Mystolgia article about Myst 4, briefly mentioning DreamForge Retrieved 22 Nov '17
  2. URU/Myst Beta info on BetaArchive Retrieved 4 Apr '11
  3. Page on the Mysterium fansite about DreamForge's Myst 4 Retrieved 22 Nov '17
  4. David Locke's broken Myst 4 website in the Wayback Machine Retrieved 9 Feb '05
  5. Unseen64 article with sources. Retrieved 26 Nov '14
  6. URU Obsession forum post in the Wayback Machine with found screenshots and sketches. Retrieved 22 Jul '04

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