There are some sequels people can wait many years for. An obvious example is Half-Life 3, which has become a meme in itself. Benoit Sokal’s Syberia franchise is in the same basket.
The first game, introducing us to Kate Walker came out in 2002, its direct sequel two years later in 2004. But the third entry was only announced five years later, in 2009, then spent another 8 years in development to finally be ready for launch this April.
How has Syberia changed in the thirteen years since its last installment? Has Benoit Sokal’s unique art and story direction dulled or sharpened? Let’s take a look at what we can expect from Syberia 3.
An adventure in three dimensions
Let’s get this dealt with right away, because it’s probably the least “Syberia” thing in Syberia 3. Yes, Microids upcoming game is presented in full 3D. Instead of largely static boards, now camera can move around much more, and follow Kate as she moves around the locations.
This change makes Syberia 3 look slightly less outdated, although it is undeniable that it may leave die-hard fans rather startled, if not put off. It will, however, allow the environments to play into the puzzles much more. It will also make the presented world feel more like an actual space instead of a painting.
In the end, it will be up to the players how they approach the change. All we can do is recommend an open mind and seeing how it plays into the narrative and gameplay before decrying it as blasphemy.
Syberia: Season 2, coming soon
Kate Walker has been through a lot since her first journey into the European unknown, but a certain episode of her life is over. What we’ll see in Syberia 3 has been likened to a second season of a show. The same character, the same world, but the previous adventure is over, time for a new one.
At the beginning of the game, Kate is half-frozen after the conclusion of Syberia 2. She is rescued by a friendly Youkol tribe, currently migrating with their snow ostriches – huge fantastical creatures central to Youkol culture. They are the tauntauns of Syberia (the game, not the region).
She tags along with them, having befriended these people previously. Which means another adventure she couldn’t have seen coming.
Ok, but who’s Kate Walker?
For those coming completely fresh: Kate Walker was an American lawyer, who got sent to Europe to finalize a toy-factory takeover. Because nothing is ever so simple, she gets to travel far and wide across the Eastern and Central Europe. What followed was a fascinating adventure, complete with stunning vistas, self-discovery, and mammoths.
Puzzles and solutions
The puzzles are seemingly going to remain Syberia’s strong point, expanded greatly by fully rendered environments. It really adds to the sense of presence in the world when you can look around the puzzle-locked room, or get a good look at an object you’re trying to use.
Often you’ll be able to see some hints and solutions before you even encounter a problem, but that’s not even the greatest help. It comes in the form of music increasing in complexity the closer you are to a solution, and Kate herself commenting when, for instance, a combination of objects doesn’t seem to do the job. The level of such feedback will be limited or turned off completely on higher difficulty levels, which may appeal to adventure game veterans.
Kate Walker’s new adventure is right around the corner at this point, and it certainly looks intriguing, if certainly catering mostly to the fans of the franchise and adventure games as a whole. A new, fully-3D presentation, a new story, puzzles using the new engine, all of it is something worth waiting for. Let’s all hope that voice-acting and writing will be up to par, and Syberia 3 might turn out to be a worthy sequel.
Syberia 3 is going to launch on April 20 this year. You can use the remaining time to scout out other trailers, previews, maybe get some extra supplemental materials included in the preorder. Or, you know, wait and see how it goes.
Are you going to join Kate on her journey?