AskDefine | Define riven

Dictionary Definition



1 tear or be torn violently; "The curtain ripped from top to bottom"; "pull the cooked chicken into strips" [syn: rend, rip, pull]
2 separate or cut with a tool, such as a sharp instrument; "cleave the bone" [syn: cleave, split] [also: riven]riven See rive

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. past participle of rive

Usage notes

Alternative past participle of to rive; the normal form is rived.


  1. torn apart
  2. broken into pieces; split asunder

Extensive Definition

(Saturn)Summer 1997 In addition to the PC versions, Riven was ported to several other platforms, including the PlayStation and Sega Saturn.
The story of Riven is set immediately after the events of Myst. Having been rescued from the machinations of his sons, the main non-player protagonist Atrus enlists the help of the player character, to free his wife from his power-hungry father, Gehn. Unlike Myst, which took place on several worlds known as Ages and linked together by special books, Riven takes place almost entirely on the eponymous Age of Riven, a world slowly falling apart due to Gehn's rule.
Development of Riven began soon after Myst became a success, and spanned more than three years. In an effort to create a visual style distinct from that of Myst, director Robyn Miller and his brother, producer Rand Miller recruited former Aladdin production designer Richard Vander Wende as a co-director. Brøderbund employed a US$10 million advertising campaign to publicize the game's release. By operating mechanical contraptions and deciphering codes and symbols discovered in the surroundings, the nebulously explained goal can eventually be reached. The cursor changes in appearance, depending on its position on the screen and what it is hovering over, to show what effect clicking will have. These items can then be examined at any time, Atrus needs the Stranger's help to free his wife, Catherine, who is trapped on the slowly collapsing Age of Riven by his unhinged father, Gehn. Atrus and Catherine had previously trapped Gehn on Riven by removing all linking books from that Age; the very last book to be removed, linking to the island of Myst, was the one they held to escape Riven. Atrus hoped it would fall into the star fissure, a void leading out of the reality of the damaged Age of Riven and into unknown space. However, the Stranger discovered the book, sparking the events of Myst. Catherine was subsequently tricked into returning to Riven by her sons, and was captured by Gehn. Telling the Stranger that they must capture Gehn in the trap book, find Catherine, and then signal him, Atrus gives the Stranger the book that will take him to Riven.
Once there, the Stranger travels across the islands of Riven, eventually finding Catherine. Because of the decay of Riven's structure, the only way to clearly signal Atrus is to bring about a massive disturbance in the Age's stability—accomplished by reopening the star fissure, which Gehn had closed. When it was opened, Atrus immediately links to Riven to investigate, and meets the Stranger at the brink of the fissure. Depending on the player's actions, the ending to Riven varies. In the canon ending, the Stranger tricks Gehn into the prison book and releases Catherine. Atrus and Catherine thank the Stranger, before linking back to the Age of Myst. The Stranger then falls into the star fissure, to be taken on the path back to his world. Different actions can, however, result in the Stranger's entrapment in the prison book, or even his death.


Cyan started working on Riven in 1993, immediately after Mysts release. Before development began, when even the name of the game was undecided, the brothers Robyn and Rand Miller said they wanted a "natural flow" from the first game to the sequel. As Myst proved to be a popular and commercial success, the two developers were able to expand their four-person team to a much larger crew of designers, artists, programmers, and sound designers. Development spanned more than four years, and was a much larger undertaking than for the first game;
The design for Riven stemmed from a desire to create something different and more dynamic than the Romantic style of Myst. The first stage of development was to create the puzzles, in an attempt to integrate them as smoothly as possible into the areas in the game. The Millers met their co-designer, Richard Vander Wende, at a demonstration of Myst for the Digital World Expo in Los Angeles. As the third member of Rivens conceptual team, Wende ended up contributing what Robyn Miller described as an "edgier" and complementary vision, that made the game dramatically different than its predecessor. and developed a retail marketing partnership with Toshiba America. Anticipation for the game was high even among non-gamers, helped by web-based word of mouth and well-placed media coverage.


Robyn Miller composed Rivens music, which was later packaged and released by Virgin Records as Riven: The Soundtrack. Miller designed the liner notes and packaging, which included English translations of the hieroglyphic language found in the game. Whereas the music to Myst was, at first, only available by mail-order from Cyan, Virgin Records had bought the rights to release it initially, prompting Miller to make sure that it could stand alone in CD form. The resulting compact disc was released on February 24, 1998, with more than 54 minutes of music.
Miller established three leitmotifs for the game's three central characters, Atrus, Catherine, and Gehn. Gehn's theme is only heard in its complete form near the end of the game, but portions of the melody can be heard throughout Riven, highlighting his control of the Age. Miller tried to let the environment dictate the resulting sound, in order to make the music as immersive as possible. The game sold more than 1.5 million units within a year of its release, and was the best-selling game of 1997,
Jeff Segstack of GameSpot gave the game high marks, explaining that it is "a leisurely paced, all-encompassing, mentally challenging experience. If you enjoyed Myst, you'll thoroughly enjoy Riven." Computer Gaming World stated that the graphics were the best they had seen in any adventure game. Laura Miller of Salon declared that "Art [...] is what Riven approaches," and praised the gameplay as having "a graceful elegance that reminds [her] of a masterfully constructed novel." The game's sound and graphics were consistently praised. Even long-time players of the Myst games, such as Heidi Fournier of Adventure Gamers, felt that a few puzzles were too difficult; Computer and Video Games, meanwhile, believed that the story clues were too symbolic and scant, which made following the plot difficult.
Despite the success of the game, the Miller brothers eventually pursued other projects. Robyn Miller said: "I think it would be a detriment to always, for the rest of our lives, be creating Myst-like projects. […] We're going to change, evolve and grow, just like any person does in any manner." Wende would also leave to pursue other projects. The next video game entry in the Myst franchise would be 2001's Myst III: Exile, which was not developed by Cyan or published by Broderbund; Presto Studios took over development, and Ubisoft published.


External links

riven in German: Myst#Riven_-_The_Sequel_to_Myst
riven in French: Riven
riven in Italian: Riven: il seguito di Myst
riven in Dutch: Riven
riven in Portuguese: Riven
riven in Russian: Riven: The Sequel to Myst
riven in Swedish: Riven
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