Looking to the Past for the Future of VR: Interview with Rand Miller – PAX East 2017

At PAX East 2017, there were quite a few VR games on display- most of them embraced newer design paradigms and aesthetics- quite understandably. Virtual reality is in many ways thought of as the future of gaming, and though it faces some issues regarding widespread adoption, many developers are embracing support for VR headsets, each hoping to produce VR’s “killer app” that makes HMDs a must-have item for any gamer.

Rand Miller, meanwhile, seems to be going in the other direction. Even if you’re not familiar with Mr. Miller, chances are you’re familiar with his most famous work: Myst. One of the lead developers of the classic PC adventure, Miller’s studio, Cyan, has gone on to create a new game called Obduction, a sci-fi adventure that puts you on another planet- your goal is to solve puzzles in order to get back home. Currently available on Steam for Windows, the game features support for the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and OSVR systems; support for more headsets, including the PSVR, is on its way.

I went hands-on with the game at PAX East; though the demo was brief, it was abundantly clear that the game took after old-fashioned 3D adventure games. Obduction has been billed as a spiritual successor to Myst, and in many ways it is- “Myst had this great feeling of being plopped onto a dock,” said Miller. “You don’t know why you’re there, you don’t know any of the story, and you get to explore- by starting fresh with a new storyline, Obduction, not connected to Myst in any way, we get to do the same thing; you’re plopped in here and you have to figure out why.”

The interview, embedded above, is well worth checking out; Miller’s got plenty of wisdom from his years in the game industry, and it’s interesting to see what he has in mind as a developer. Have you had the opportunity to play Obduction, or are you a fan of Myst? Share your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to hit us up and follow @1RuleBeCool on Twitter for all the greatest game editorials and interviews; follow me for my own views.

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