Designed by Benoît Sokal and developed by Microïds, the Syberia game series was released for the first time in 2002 and continued with a second, equally successful title in 2004.
Syberia is available for both PC and console users, the Xbox 360 version was made backwards compatible on Xbox One this month. Syberia contains different puzzles to solve, elements of art nouveau and steampunk fiction.
How it begins (2002)
Kate Walker is an American lawyer sent to a remote French village (Valadilène) in order to finalize the take-over of a very important toy factory. She soon learns that the owner, Anna Voralberg, has recently died due to old age and the only heir is her missing brother who must be contacted in order to proceed with the contract. What seemed like a simple and quick weekend job transforms into a long and dangerous adventure, leading Kate across Central and Eastern Europe on a special train with Oscar – an automan created by Hans himself – and making her question her own life.
Hans Voralberg, presumed dead by the entire village, is still somewhere in the North-East. Kate’s research reveals that Hans was injured in his attempt to retrieve a prehistoric doll of a man riding a mammoth when he was very young, leaving him mentally handicapped. Hans’ sole goal became to find mammoths to ride as the doll depicts.
Kate will find different clues scattered around, learning about the Voralberg family and Hans’ movements.
The sequel (2004)
Syberia II continues Kate’s adventures right where the first game ends. Once she finally meets Hans Voralberg and proceeds with the take-over thanks to the man’s approval, instead of returning home the lawyer decides to start a new journey and follow Hans’ dreams, throwing away her own carreer and abandoning the previous, stressful life. Now that the romantic relationship with her boyfriend is over, the woman embraces the upcoming dangers and adventures with a worried mother left in New York and a boss who desperately tries to find her and bring her back unharmed.
The story continues (2016)
Syberia III has been announced this year during an E3 conference and it will continue Kate Walker’s journey right where it ended back in 2004. Hans has finally seen his childhood dream come true and parted from Kate to ride the Mammoths and disappear into the cold, white Siberian landscape. Kate, however, is soon found adrift on a makeshift boat by the Youkol people, who already rescued her once in Syberia II after a bad fall caused by the ice breaking right under her feet due to a bad confrontation with a man named Ivan (a trickster in search of quick roads to wealth). Kate will soon find a new purpose and new people to help.
The game is now fully rendered in real-tme 3D for a more immersive experience (it was previously just rendered without special effects and not so interactive environments except for some specific clues and puzzles) and the estimated release date is December 1st this year. Syberia III will be available on PC, mobile, Playstation 4 and Xbox One.
The third installment was actually supposed to arrive on our favorite platforms in 2010, but because of certain negotiation issues and low funds they couldn’t even start with the development. In 2011 Sokal said he would want to use real-time 3D graphics comparable to those of Assassin’s Creed, but it would require a large amount of money. In 2012 Microïds could finally start working on the third chapter thanks to a signed contract between them, Benoît and Anuman for the publication.
Syberia is not particularly dynamic in terms of roaming, you do not have the same freedom you get in open world games. This one is all about logic and investigations, clues and letters found along Kate’s trip. You can only interact with specific objects and characters, solving different enigmas while trailing Hans.
I got the first Syberia at the age of 17 for a very cheap price, since it was included into a sort of PC magazine for a very limited time. I wasn’t even aware of a sequel until I found it in a local store. I grabbed it and paid for it without thinking, curious I was to see what was about to happen next.
Although I wasn’t a huge gamer yet I really enjoyed it for its deep story and all the mysteries in there. I still believe Syberia remains a very unique saga and I highly recommend it to whoever likes this genre.
I honestly can’t wait for Syberia III, they announced something big with a new epic journey and a lot of incredible surprises. Plus I really trust Benoît Sokal’s hand and I’m sure we’re going to see another wonderful story.