Starry Expanse: A New Direction

Hello everyone!

We have a very big announcement for you, but first, some backstory:
Since its birth, we had always planned for Starry Expanse to be a 3D recreation of Riven. realMyst had just come out, so free-roam 3D just seemed like the way to go. But as time has gone on, it has become more and more apparent that this may not be the best option for us. Since this realization, we’ve been working hard to steer the project in a direction that we’re all happy with.

This process has led us to identify and remedy many serious flaws in our old structure.
So, we looked at what was doing well. Our favorite games that we actually play. Temple Run, Lords Mobile: War Kingdom Paper Mario, Sago Mini Babies Dress Up, Sand; what do all of these have in common? That’s right, they’re 2D. All successful games ever – and especially modern ones – are embracing 2D, and more specifically 2.5D technology.

So what does that mean for Starry Expanse?
Well, I’m happy to announce that we have assessed and implemented a far superior and more accessible control scheme, and implemented a highly realistic physics system that adds a whole new level of realism to the game.
Additionally, we know how badly the community wants us to use the original actors’ performances in our game.
We heard you, and we’ve listened. 

And best of all? The game will be free to play! The microtransactions are entirely optional, and you can play through most of the first part of the game without even thinking about them!

So, without further ado, we’re proud to announce this far superior direction, fully realized in glorious 2.5D. Utilizing 2.5D gives us such a fresh, unique perspective into the world that’s just not possible in first-person. And development time with this new style is so much easier, that we’ve already been able to work up a small demo! While this is by no means the final product, we think it gives a very good idea of what the finished game will be like!

We’re so excited for you to join us in this new chapter of Starry Expanse, and can’t wait to hear your positive comments about our demo!

Here is the download:

Written by Hollister, directed by Hollister, produced by Hollister, hair and makeup by Hollister, demo created by Hollister and Stuart, credits by Hollister.

49 Responses to “Starry Expanse: A New Direction”.

Team members' usernames are in red.
  • Flade Says:

    That’s awesome ! Thank you

  • Peter Weersing Says:

    Great news! Super excited!
    Not home or able to download or play otherwise… First thing when i get the chance.

    Thank you very much for this, as i know for a fact, awesome update.

  • riven2000 Says:

    April Fool’s right back at ya!

  • RIUM+ Says:

    Now this is the content I’m here for XD

  • tonk82 Says:

    Ok… that was great xD

  • Brian Fredricks Says:

    You get me EVERY YEAR with this crap!

  • Mark Says:

    Fun mini taster game! Great work!

  • cameron Says:

    You had me there for a second!Good job!

  • Josh Mattes Says:

    Y’all are hilarious.

  • Kha’tie Says:

    Finally, the demo I’ve waited to play for years!!! Well… 2.5 years, anyway.

  • Jonathan Says:


  • Mahmtee Says:

    Ok, it’s a very googd start indeed. Still needs a few refinement, but I’ve loved playing this demo. 🙂

  • Torbjørn Says:

    That. Was. Amazing.

  • John Drake Says:

    Ha ha ha, you got me guys, very good, very good lol

  • Chris Says:

    Wonderful ^^

  • imaestro Says:

    Awesome puzzles! LOL

  • Amfomy Says:

    2.5 D might actually make this Nintendo Switch compatible.

  • Misty *Hummingbird Says:

    Is this for real? Windows defender won’t let me install.

  • Cyn Says:

    Hahahahaha! A good April’s Fool! Those damn cones! And, hopping like the Easter Bunny!

  • Stormister Says:

    Truly a step in the right direction. I can’t wait to get home so I can borrow my moms credit card and buy all the micro transactions 🙂

  • Averagemoe Says:

    In all seriousness, that’s exactly the method I was suggesting for the pin table. Except, you know, not buggy.

  • K'laamas Says:

    Dear Starry Expanse Team:


  • Matt Giuca Says:

    First playable demo in 7 years… I’ll take it!

    How do you shoot?

    (In all serious though, this website needs SSL / HTTPS if you’re going to offer binary downloads. It’s pretty scary downloading executables from a non-secure website.)

  • Jamie Says:

    HILARIOUS! Thanks for the laugh!

  • Ainia Says:

    Gotta love those ads!! 😉

  • Hollister Says:

    We’re not quite sure why the demo is raising false positives, but I assure you with 100% confidence that both downloads are completely safe.

  • Acorn Says:

    Noooo – I installed it on my laptop but it won’t run – something about my video card being out of date. And it even runs Obduction OK. What spec are you guys working to for Starry Expanse – it must be high if I need to buy a new computer just to run the spoof demo!

    • NM64 Says:

      It can’t be anything too new since this “demo” ran fine on my measly Intel Haswell integrated graphics on Windows 7 SP1 64bit.

      Therefore any GPU with at least DX11 support should work without issue (that’d be any AMD and Nvidia GPU made this decade; for Intel it should be anything since Ivy Bridge from 2012)

    • LadyLei Says:

      I can’t get it to work either and I have been searching for drivers, updates etc for 5 days now. Tells me a driver is missing of OPEN_GL not supported….it is supported up to version 4.0. Can’t find a driver anywhere and MS is useless, keeps telling me everything is uptodate. Am wondering what version of open_gl you used or if you could send me the driver for it. Am running W7Pro64. This is the first time I’ve ever run into something that wouldn’t load after installing. Darn it I wanna play too! 🙁

      • Acorn Says:

        I found today that another game – the free download of The Witness – gave me the same video card error. But if I could run Obduction, I should be able to run these other games. I checked and apparently I had the most up to date drivers, but there was a Windows 10 update due and after that installed, I found I could run both The Witness and the Starry Expanse demo after all 🙂

  • Apostolos Krommydakis Says:

    I got fooled. thanks!

  • Jeff Says:

    Who else found the balloon?

    I’m still trying to figure out what “all 4 are” means.

    What’s the phone number for the hint line?

  • 5 Pyr Says:

    Y’all got me good

  • Sehrvis Says:

    This an excellent shift in direction that I think will meet, nay, exceed the quality of the original game.

  • Voulty Says:

    I was like: “What the fuck is this shit, are they for real?”

    Then I realized t’was April Fools
    you lads got me good 🙂

  • Lyubo Says:


    I have a serious question, though. Will the final game be available for Linux? I know Myst games have never supported it but now you are using Unreal 4, which supports Linux out of the box, hence it shouldn’t be a big issue… and as a Linux user, ans as a contributor of translations for Starry Expanse for Bulgarian (and a little Esparanto), I really hope for that.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Doug Says:

    You legitimately had me going! Only because these days you can’t put a blatant cash grab like this past any studio. Thanks for being a shining light in this increasingly dark industry.

  • mYsTiFiEd Says:

    This is pretty elaborate, with fake ads, fake browser warning page, and everything.

  • Andross Says:

    Awesome! This is exactly the direction that RealRIVEN should go in!

  • Angharad Says:

    I know this is meant as a joke, but I have to say that part of me is sad — I cannot play any of the 3D first person games because of motion sickness. I was so, so lucky to be able to play URU! But RealMyst and all the others are off limits to me.

    Anyway, thanks for the laugh and I do think the project is very exciting (LOVE Riven), even if I won’t be able to play it 🙂

  • mangoduck Says:

    The Mac demo just sits at a black screen and pegs my CPU. Is that the joke?

  • Ben Says:

    That’s the most fun I’ve had with any April Fool’s day joke in a long time. Excellent job, guys. xD And you used Godot Engine! Very fun!

  • Snerd Burfle Says:

    Let me start by saying i downloaded this in November 2019, and was completely unaware of The Starry Expanse Project until today.

    Before Installing Demo: I literally could not contain my excitement.

    After I Loaded Up The Demo: I was soooooo mad, being led to believe that realRiven turned into this atrocity.

    After I Came Back to This Page: Oh…an April Fools joke. You got me.

    Can’t wait for the finished real version!

  • Jeremy Says:

    Been following this project forever (maybe over 10 years?) and checking in every couple of years or so. Stumbled upon this post and saw the text about moving in a new direction. I was sad and thought well… it was probably just too much to continue this long running hobby with little mainstream interest. Then saw moving from 3D to 2.5D and already having another demo. I thought ok… well I guess they want to go back to an old school look. It probably will make the progress faster and easier. The picture looked decent.

    After the first few seconds of the ‘Demo’ starting I was soo confused. Then I started thinking that the team from Starry Expanse was playing me for thinking it would turn into an actual game. Then I realized I was played… for believing it was anything other than a gotcha joke that happened to be posted on April 1st.

    Well done! But I am really hoping there is real Demo that shows just how far you guys have gotten in the past decade. But I know the Pandemic situation has made everything weird. Glad you guys are still going though!

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