Video Game / Syberia

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/syberia1_1730.jpg
Mammoths feature heavily in this game.

Kate Walker, a lawyer working for an American toy company, comes to the remote French village of Valadilene to finalize the purchase of the local toy factory. Upon arrival, she learns that the owner of the factory, Anna Voralberg, has recently passed away, but there is an heir, Anna's long-lost brother Hans. She also learns that the factory doesn't produce mere "toys", but instead, "automatons", Ridiculously Human Clockwork Creatures imbued with a soul by their inventor, who is none other than Hans himself. Both intrigued by Hans' eccentric persona and determined to finish the deal, Kate embarks on a surreal journey through all the failed utopias of Europe in pursuit of the elusive craftsman, whose life goal is to reach Syberia, a mysterious island where mammoths are rumored to still exist.

Syberia (not to be confused with that cold, unfriendly place in Russia called Siberia) is a Clock Punk Adventure Game duology, developed by Microids, designed by Benoit Sokal, and written by Catherine Peyrot. Originally planned as a single game, it was split in two due to Executive Meddling, with Syberia being released in 2002 and Syberia II, in 2004. The original game became an epic Flame Bait immediately after the release: while the hardcore, long-time adventure gamers panned it for a simple story and primitive puzzles, the newer generation (many of them introduced to the genre through Syberia in the first place) universally admired its artwork and atmosphere, considering it a Spiritual Successor to The Longest Journey classic. When the second game came about, most players who expected a repetition of the Syberia wonder were disappointed, for the original atmosphere has been lost in development, which many attributed to Sokal's lack of involvement with it.

Microids has announced Syberia 3 as far back as 2009, with Benoit Sokal back in the director's seat. The game was originally to be an Intercontinuity Crossover with the Post Mortem/Still Life series (also by Microids), where Kate would have teamed up with Victoria McPherson, — although this ultimately proved to be an April Fools' Day joke by the publisher. At some point after the initial announcement, work on the game has been apparently quietly stopped, before it was Un-Canceled again in 2012 and eventually just as quietly released onto Steam and the PlayStation 4 on April 20, 2017.

This series offers examples of:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Cornelius Pons, the chief paleontologist of the university in Barrockstadt and an old friend of Hans. He's one of the most polite and good-willing characters you meet in the course of both games.
  • The Alcoholic: The aging cosmonaut from the abandoned and neglected Komkolzgrad cosmodrome. He considerably brightens up when you help him fulfill his dream of becoming more than a mere former test pilot. He takes off into low Earth orbit in a pretty cool Space Plane... launched by a clockwork-powered catapult designed by Hans, no less!
  • Bag of Holding: Everything Kate picks up, she tucks into her jacket.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Boris saves Kate from the Bourgoffs by flying over them in his plane, albeit inadvertently.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • The sailor from Barrockstadt is this trope real-time incarnate. Even if he's not really quite accurate to this trope, he manages to have German, French, Russian, Portuguese and English words mixed onto one language.
    Sailor: Guten Tag, schoene mademoiselle!
    • In the second game, the deceased monk's name in the Russian monastery is written in Greek on his grave.
  • Clock Punk:
    • Tons of it, especially in Valadilene, the ancestral home of the whole Voralberg family.
    • Komkolzgrad also showcases a hearty chunk of Soviet-style Diesel Punk.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: One puzzle requires you to make a cocktail. You're told you need lime juice, but all you have is a lemon. It works anyway. Why? The names (and availability) of citrus fruits vary greatly from country to country, and whoever translated the puzzle didn't keep the names consistent between the graphics, text, and audio.
  • Clockwork Creature: The automatons. That includes all of them, since all creations of Hans are, in a way, alive. Yes, the Cool Train, too.
  • Concept Art Gallery: Plays during the credits.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Helena Romanski passes away between the two games.
  • Dying Town: Almost every location Kate travels through in the first game appears to be a half deserted town past its prime:
    • Valadilene was once world-famous for its automaton factory. Since then it seems to have fallen on hard times as the demand for Voralberg automatons decreased, and many young people left the town to seek employment elsewhere. Many inhabitants fear that the death of Anna Voralberg may mean the shutdown of the factory and the ultimate end of the town.
    • Despite all its grandeur, there appear to be almost no students on the campus of Barrockstadt University. Local stationmaster admits that, while he still remembers days when students would come from all around the world to study in Barrockstadt, he hasn't seen a train come to the station in a very long time.
    • Komkolzgrad, once a renowned and highly advanced (for it's time, at least) mining, smelting, processing and manufacturing complex, very possibly considered to be the pinnacle of Soviet (Han's) engineering, now stands almost completely abandoned, save for the tiny mining automatons that still roam between it's rusted walls. No doubt a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union (or some similar in-universe event).
  • Dub Name Change: The Russian translation changes one of the cities' names, Komkolzgrad, to Komsomolskgrad for obvious reasons.note  In the second game, Romansbourg became Romanovsk, the Colonel was given surname Emelyanov, Cirkos became a Jew Izya (Israel) Zuckerman, the Bourgoffs became Bugrovs, and Alexey Toukianoff became Tukanov.
  • Eagle Land: The first game has a Type 2 view on America. Even Kate is portrayed as a whiney would-be layabout until she does a little exploring.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Hans definitely qualifies.
  • For Inconvenience, Press "1": Happens to your phone calls in Barrockstadt.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Hans. The Yukol tribes also have various ingenious contraptions, even though it's nothing but Bamboo Technology.
  • Ghost Town: Komkolzgrad was once a Communist industrial complex, but has since been abandoned. The only people left are crazed director of the complex Siergiej Borodin and former cosmonaut-turned-alcoholic Borys Charow.
  • Hero Antagonist: The PI who was hired to find Kate. Unlike his employers, he's not portrayed in any negative light at all other than that he would have stood in the way of Kate's quest if he hadn't been forced to give up the search.
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: It does at Anna's.
  • Keywords Conversation: Dialogue is facilitated by Kate's writing pad, wherein she collects relevant keywords and can interview each character she meets about them.
  • Large Ham:
    • The priest/head of the monastery in the second game.
    • The shopkeeper who welcomes you to Romansbourg at the start of the second game fits this like a glove as well.
    • Also, Sergei Borodine in the first game, during your second visit to Komkolzgrad.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: In the second game, there's a short mission with an island full of Penguins... but you've just crossed the ARCTIC circle!
  • Mundane Fantastic: The whole series is arguably built on this... The various places you visit on your quest to find Hans and Syberia have a dreamy, often surreal feel to them - as if they existed halfway between our real world and a slightly more fantastic version of it. They're all deliberately stylized and exaggerated versions of various generic European and Russian locales and regions.
  • Welcome to Corneria: The things in the middle of the dialogue do vary depending on the context, but, oddly enough, the beginnings and endings to them are usually the same.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Oscar does this to Kate twice in an optional dialogue path during the first visit to Komkolzgrad. The first time: Kate believes that the person who broke into the train and assaulted Oscar could have been Hans Voralberg. Oscar is not pleased when he hears this and claims that "a father would never attack his offspring". Kate also admits that her theory was far-fetched. The second time: Kate tells Oscar that she's had enough with adventures, and she considers returning home and telling her boss that Hans Voralberg is dead. Oscar is shocked when he learns that Kate is ready to lie to her superiors, and tells her he'd thought she was a sincere and honest person.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: You hitch a ride on an old automatic airship from Komkolzgrad to Aralbad and back in the first game. The whole ship is neglected and rusty, but still works like a charm.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/Syberia