“Myst,” the influential video game that helped usher in the CD-ROM era, may inspire an ambitious multi-platform film and television universe.
Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, the co-producer and co-financier of the “Matrix” and “Sherlock Holmes” franchises, has acquired the rights to the first-person graphic adventure. For those born post-90s, “Myst” was wildly popular and hailed as a bold step forward in gaming when it debuted in 1993. It took players to a magical island and had them solve a series of puzzles. The graphics were considered to be state-of-the-art, and some fans had a quasi-religious attachment to its mythology.
“Myst” inspired several sequels and spinoffs over the decades, but its primary story follows Atrus, grandson of a woman who discovered the D’ni civilization in a cavern deep below the New Mexico desert. These mystical people create books that link to other worlds, but the discovery triggers a cultural clash that unfolded over several novels and games.
Hollywood has sometimes struggled to adapt video game properties. There have been hits such as “Mortal Kombat,” but duds like “Warcraft” and “Super Mario Brothers” outnumber the success stories. Despite the spotty track record of video game adaptations, media companies are willing to take a chance on pieces of intellectual property that arrive with name recognition. Disney, with an arsenal that includes Marvel and LucasFilm, looms large, and other players have been trying to find their other franchises to compete with the company.
In the case of “Myst,” franchise comes with a built-in fanbase, having sold over 15 million copies worldwide. Village Roadshow says it will use the games to develop a “multi-platform universe including film, scripted and unscripted television content.” The company will develop and produce the content with original co-creator Rand Miller and his youngest brother Ryan Miller, as well as Isaac Testerman and Yale Rice at Delve Media.
Village Roadshow is best known for its film work, but its operating under a new mandate to create more television and streaming programming. To that end, it hired Steve Mosko, best known for his 16-year stint as the chairman of Sony Pictures Television, to be its CEO.
Financial terms of the rights deal were not disclosed.