After 15 years of producing stunning CD- and DVD-based games, Cyan Worlds, Inc. closed its doors this month, quietly laying off all but two employees.
I recently reconnected with a favorite game, the original, still-awesome Myst. In writing my retro-review of it, I was excited to learn that Myst V: The End of Ages was about to be released. I even speculated at the end of my post that the spell-binding property of the game might be why Cyan Worlds (the creators) named the fifth game in the series as they did.
Little did I know.
I was checking up on the game’s progress through the publishing process at UBIsoft, when I came across this stunning news from Cyan Worlds blogger GD: “Almost all of Cyan Worlds, Inc. was laid off today, including me.” Searching for further news found blog Kairos: “…one of the world’s premier developers of graphical adventure games—Cyan Worlds, Inc.—has been hemorrhaging employees and is giving every indication of going out of business,” plus further corroboration from dozens of gaming sites and Wikipedia.
Myst V: The End of Wages, one ex-employee called it.
Speculation as to cause ranged from issues of debt (denied by company insiders) to last year’s departure of founding brother Robyn Miller. Tony Fryman and the CEO of Cyan, Rand Miller, remain at the company’s offices in Mead, Washington (near Seattle).
Former Cyan Worlds employee Bill mourns at his blog GigaGiggles (changing the day, one world at a time):
As for the dream that was Cyan, man, that hurts. It’s not quite dead yet… there’s a skeleton crew manning the ship for a little while longer, and if something works out, they want to hire back anyone who hasn’t moved on.