This is sort of an expansion of Eat_My_Shortz's list in the "facts you should read before posting" sticky that I've unpinned. I wanted to give the FAQ a fresh start because there's been a bit more information released than there was when EMS started his thread. So, without further adieu...
The Myst V: End of Ages FAQ
Q. Who is developing End of Ages?
A. Cyan Worlds, Inc. is developing the game. UbiSoft is acting as the publisher.
Q. Will the game be available on the Mac?
A. Yes, for the most part. If you live in the US, the only version of the game that will be Mac-compatible will be the Limited Edition (black box version). If you live in Europe or Australia (or anywhere else, probably), the game will be Mac compatible regardless of what version you buy.
Q. Is there a demo I can use to test system compatibility?
A. Yes. MystWorlds.com has a list of demo mirrors.
Q. Will the game be released on CD or DVD?
A. Yes . End of Ages will be released in both CD and DVD formats in the US. The standard edition (in the white box, for those in the US) will be a CD release, while the Limited Edition (in the black box) will be a DVD release. The European standard edition is on DVD only, as is the Collector's Edition, so if you're in Europe, you'll need a DVD-ROM drive.
Q. Will there be a Collector's Edition?
A. According to UbiSoft's website, there will be a Limited Edition available in the US, which will include a 22-minute retrospective on the entire series, the official strategy guide from Prima Publishing, a frame-able print of game art, and the game soundtrack on a separate CD (Note: the soundtrack is not in a separate jewel case, but it does contain all 17 tracks and is a complete soundtrack).
The European Collector's Edition contains different goodies in a book-shaped box, like the Revelation CE. The goodies include:
Q. I can't afford / don't want to get the Limited Edition, or have purchased the Collector's Edition. Is there any way for me to get the complete soundtrack?
- Exclusive bonus DVD with:
- 25 minutes Making-of (encoded as DVD video, so you can watch it on the TV)
- Game soundtrack (7-track collection in .mp3 format, also contains a slideshow when played on the TV)
- Game trailers
- Exclusive collector booklet (152 pages) including:
- Intro from Rand Miller
- Exclusive world-premiering preview of the new Myst book (“The Book of Marrim"‚ written by Rand Miller).
- D'ni language grammar & dictionary
- Previous Myst games overview
- Artwork gallery
- The booklet is broken down as such, according to RAWA, a Cyan staffer:
- the intro is 2 pages
- the BoM preview is 4 pages (it's the prologue)
- the D'ni language guide is about 20 pages
- the game overview is about 30 pages
- the gallery is about 35 pages
- the game manual, about 20 pages
- blank journal pages, about 35 pages
A. Yes. Tim Larkin, the composer for End of Ages, has commented that Cyan will be selling the soundtrack separately, and that a release date will be announced as soon as the shipment comes into the office. Stay tuned. If it's anything like the Uru soundtrack, the CD will be available through a Cyan vendor front on Amazon.com, and I'm guessing that they'll be able to ship to Europe, since Cyan, not Amazon, will be in charge of the shipping.
Q. What are the game's system requirements?
A. PC System Requirements:
- Supported OS: Windows 2000/XP (only)
- Processor: 800 MHz Pentium III or AMD Athlon or better (Pentium IV recommended)
- RAM: 128 MB RAM (256 recommended) (256 MB required for XP)
- Video Card: 32 MB DirectX 9.0c-compliant video card (see supported list*)
- Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compliant
- DirectX: DirectX 9.0c (included on disc)
- 4x or faster CD-ROM drive (Limited Edition requires a 4x DVD-ROM drive)
- Hard Drive Space: 4.5 GB free
- Peripherals: Mouse, keyboard
- Macâ® System Requirements (For US Limited Edition ONLY and European Standard and Collectors Editions... The US Standard Edition WILL NOT run on the Mac):
- Supported OS: OS X 10.2.8 or higher (10.3.9 recommended) End of Ages is Tiger-compatible, and the demo has been run successfully on many 10.4.x systems.
- Processor: 1 GHz G4 (1.6 GHz G4 or higher recommended)
- RAM: 256 MB (512 MB recommended)
- Video Card: 32 MB video card supporting 32-bit color (see supported list*)
- Sound Card: Standard
- DVD: 4x DVD or faster
- Hard Drive Space: 4.1 GB free
- Peripherals: Mac-compatible mouse and keyboard
- *Supported Video Cards at Time of Release
- ATI Radeon 7500 to 9600 or better
- NVIDIA GeForce 2/4/FX families (laptop cards not supported)
Q. Why are Windows 98 and ME not supported?
A. Mark DeForest, a programmer at Cyan, has said that the game engine's Win98/ME code was maintained for End of Ages, and that the game has been tested by Cyan's internal QA team on both 98 and ME, so the game will work on older Windows operating systems in most instances. However, UbiSoft no longer supports Win98 for new any games, and Microsoft is scaling support back on the OS as well. Mark also notes that the game *should* work, but there are minor graphical glitches with isolated system configurations that have not been fixed because they aren't priority, nor are they on an officially-supported OS. Bottom-line: you can probably get the game to play on 98/ME, but Ubi tech support won't be able to help you if you have problems.
(Mark's email to the Lysts)
Q. In what languages will the game be available?
A. According to an article in Spokane's Spokesman Review newspaper, the game will be released in English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Russian, Czech, Polish and Japanese.
Q. Is this the last game as the title implies?
A. Yes. This is the final step in the Myst series. A Cyan employee, known to many as RAWA, the D'ni Historian, has said that Cyan doesn't like closing doors with absolute finality, but that their next game will not be set in the same universe as Myst and Uru.
Q. Is this game pre-rendered (like Myst, Riven, Exile, and Revelation) or realtime (like realMYST and Uru)?
A. End of Ages is a realtime game. However, unlike Uru, the game is entirely first-person perspective, so you cannot see yourself as an avatar.
Q. Since the game is realtime, does that mean I have to contend with Uru's complicated controls again?
A. No. End of Ages has two new control schemes, actually. The default is the traditional "point and click" interface from the other Myst games, with animated transitions between locations. The second, which can be selected from the menu at any time, is a fist-person-shooter-like interface, where you can use your keyboard and mouse to move around and interact with things off the set paths in the point-and-click mode. Mark DeForest, a Cyan employee, has said that "[t]his is the go everywhere mode that you can explore every nook and cranny. But of course, you might miss something and navigation might be more difficult, but you are in full control."
Q. I keep seeing people talk about "Havok" and "Plasma". What are they, and what is the difference?
A. Plasma is the name of Cyan's realtime engine. Version 1 was used to create realMYST. Version 2 was used to create Uru, and Version 2.1 is being used for End of Ages. Havok is a "plug-in", if you will, which controls the physics of objects in the game (namely, how they react to being dropped, thrown, kicked, etc.). Havok does not have a Mac-compatible library, which is why Uru could not be ported to the Mac. Learning from this lesson, Cyan is no longer using Havok, but is instead using an open-source cross-platform physics library to ensure Mac and PC compatability.
Q. How did the game have such a fast development time? Are they recycling more content from Uru like they did in Uru: The Path of the Shell?
A. The game is re-using only very small elements of Uru's content, all of which are from an unreleased version of the game developed many years ago, and which took a lot of time to re-build to work with the newest version of the game's engine, Plasma 2.1. However, virtually everything in the game is brand-new, built specifically for this game. The rapid development time can be attributed to Cyan's streamlined development process that was put in place for Uru Live (where new content needed to be ready once a month), but never realy put into practice until now.
Q. Are there going to be real actors in the game?
A. Unfortunately, due to the different way in which realtime games are drawn on-screen compared to pre-rendered games, using real actors in-game is impossible. However, the characters are much more advanced than the fairly simple avatars from Uru. All of the character animation is motion-captured, their clothes use cloth simulations for more realistic movement, and the faces of the actors are recorded during their performance and applied to the character model as animations to create much more believable expressions.
Q. When will the game be released?
A. The official release date according to an UbiSoft press release is now September 20th. Coincidentally, Myst was originally released on the same day 12 years ago.
To my knowledge, all outstanding questions regarding the game have now been resolved.