Riven is the sequel to the highly successful computer game Myst. Developed by Cyan Worlds, it was initially published by Broderbund. Riven was distributed on five compact discs and released on October 29, 1997 in North America; it was later released on a single DVD-ROM, with improved graphics and a fourteen-minute "making-of" video. 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. Broderbund employed a US $10 million advertising campaign to publicize the game's release.
Riven was praised by professional reviewers, with the magazine Salon proclaiming that the game approaches the level of art. Critics positively noted the puzzles and immersive experience of the gameplay, though publications such as Edge felt that the nature of point-and-click gameplay limited the title heavily. The best-selling game of 1997, Riven sold 1.5 million copies in one year. After the game's release, the Miller brothers drifted apart, with Robyn Miller forming his own development studio, while older brother Rand stayed at Cyan and continued to work on Myst-related products, including the novel Myst: The Book of D'ni. The next entry in the Myst series, Myst III: Exile, was developed by Presto Studios, and published by Ubisoft.