#432: Embedding a Story within a Place with ‘Obduction’

rand-millerWhen Rand Miller was a kid, he played Dungeons & Dragons with his brother Robyn where they would go on adventures together exploring and creating imaginal worlds. They wanted to embed that same sense of wonder and awe of exploration and discovery into a videogame, and so they were inspired to create Myst together. They tend to think of Myst, Riven, and their latest adventure game Obduction more as places than games since you can’t die, and you’re learning more about the story of the world as you solve puzzles.


Since the story is embedded within the place, then it’s the place that ends up telling the story. With Obduction, there are 3-4 discrete places that each have subzones, and there’s no set linear path to explore these worlds and discover each part of the story. This non-linear storytelling mechanism means that the story will unfold uniquely for each person as they make choices as to where to go and what to see.

I had a chance to catch up with Rand Miller at PAX West where he talked about his early inspirations from Dungeons & Dragons, their world building process for architecting a place with a story and puzzles, and some of the unique affordances and design challenges they faced making Obduction compatible with Virtual Reality.

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Music: Fatality & Summer Trip