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The Riven remake, with new content and VR support in Unreal Engine 5, promises 'an homage to its roots and a leap into the future'

 Riven screenshot - walkway leading to a globe-like building jutting out into a large body of water.
Riven screenshot - walkway leading to a globe-like building jutting out into a large body of water.

The remake of Riven, the sequel to Myst—which was actually called Riven: The Sequel to Myst when it first arrived in 1997 but is apparently now just called Riven—is set to arrive later this year with a "meticulous, from-the-ground-up" do-over that promises new puzzles, an expanded story, and of course the trademark Myst aesthetic all tarted up in Unreal Engine 5.

Riven was more technologically advanced that Myst, but still played in basically the same way: Clicking on the screen snapped players to different static images, sometimes dotted with little animated bits, where they'd mash buttons, twiddle knobs, and otherwise dick around with obtuse puzzles, trying to figure out how to open a door, activate a thing, or otherwise move the action forward.

One big change in the remake is the ability to move freely through the environments in real-time. The 2021 Myst remake did the same thing (as have newer games in the series, including the please-remake-this-next Uru: Ages Beyond Myst), and while oldsters might find that it dulls the nostalgia hit somewhat, it definitely engenders a great sense of immersion in the game world.

That's not the only change coming, either. Developer Cyan Worlds is being stingy with details, but says the Riven remake is "both an homage to its roots and a leap into the future of interactive storytelling," and that it will "recreate and expand on its vision" for the game "with new puzzles, expanded storylines, and breathtaking visuals."

That's a big promise for a game that helped cement one of the most love-it-or-hate-it subgenres in gaming history. Myst and Riven were groundbreaking and tremendously influential games back in the day, but they were also divisive: One of my fondest gaming memories is blowing through the original with a friend over a single weekend, but PC Gamer contributor Richard Cobbett hates it so much he was compelled to write at least two in-depth stories about it. I don't think technological enhancements and the addition of even more to dig through is likely to change anyone's mind on that front.

Still, it's been more than a quarter century since Riven first appeared, and bringing it to a new audience in a more immersive and accessible format is bound to open the door to new fans. As a lapsed fan of the series, I'm happy to see it happen.

Riven will support both standard displays and VR, and is available now for wishlisting on Steam and GOG. For a better sense of what Riven is all about, take a few seconds to enjoy the original launch trailer below.