Video Game / Syberia
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. At some point after that, work on the has been apparently quietly stopped, before it was Un-Canceled again in 2012 and originally slated for a December 2016 release, but delayed until early 2017. It is highly uncertain at this point how much of what was announced in 2009 still holds true.

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/Drowning My Sorrows: The aging astronaut 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.
  • 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!
  • Clock Punk/Steam 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.
  • Cool Old Guy: Several. But especially Hans Voralberg.
  • Cool Old Lady : Helena Romanski, a former Russian opera singer, from the first game.
  • Cool Ship: The Yukol "Mammoth Ark". It's referenced a bit in the first game, while you're visiting Barrockstadt and attend the lecture of Absent-Minded Professor Pons about Yukol culture. Guess what? You get to travel aboard it during the last few stages of the second game!
  • Cool Train: The one Kate journeys on was built by Hans and originally meant as a gift for his sister Anna, who was supposed to join him on their way to Syberia.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kate.
  • Ditzy Genius: Hans.
  • 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 
  • 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.
  • Holier Than Thou: The priest in the second game. And how.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Ivan from the second game. Twice.
  • 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/Magical Realism: 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.
  • Noble Savage: The Yukol tribes in general.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Oscar is especially persistent about being called "automaton" instead of "robot".
    • Possibly justified, since the game is set in the right area for people to be aware that "robot" is Czech for "slave".
  • Odd Couple: Kate and Oscar.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: One in Komkolzgrad.
  • One Game for the Price of Two
    • Despite being slighty more simplistic to the original (and bordering nearby the Porting Disaster scale), the DVD release zig zaggs this by giving you three DVDs with both games in one package... or two games for the price of three.
  • Our Souls Are Different: The automatons have a soul. What "souls" are is never explained.
  • Pretty in Mink: Kate wears a fur-lined jacket when it's colder than usual.
  • Retro Universe: The entire series, really. Boy, Kate sure has problems trying to stumble over anything resembling the more mundane parts of Europe and Russia...
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter/Mix-and-Match Critter: Yuki, Kate's Non-Human Sidekick from the second game. He's basically sort of... like a... young polar bear crossed with a baby seal... thing... And eats a lot and acts pretty much like a dog.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: The automatons, especially Oscar, your locomotive driver.
  • Scenery Porn: The background artworks are amazing.
  • Schizo Tech: Lampshaded in a dialog option while Kate is looking for gasoline to power an electric generator in order to operate the machine that will load coal into her clockwork train so it won't freeze on the journey north.
  • Spock Speak: Oscar, especially in the first game.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Sergei Borodin, the lonely and mildly insane foreman of the old Komkolzgrad factory, is apparently Helena Romanski's biggest Fan Boy.
  • Starts with Their Funeral: While Anna is not the protagonist, the game starts with her funeral and she turns out to be an important Posthumous Character.
  • Super Cell Reception: Kate's conversations with her colleagues and friends back in US are the biggest source of her characterization in the game, so they can happen anytime and anyplace the writers felt appropriate. They also serve to underline the contrast between the dull, mundane modern life and the impossibly beautiful worlds Kate travels through.
  • Take That!: Kate's arc in the first game seems to be this to America. The second game contains a somewhat more subtle Take That to Christianity (complete with some rather narmy strawmen).
    • Actually, only the Orthodox priest that governs the local monastery in Romansbourg is a clear Strawman Political, not very willing to help you because of his inner pride. Hans, while delirious, calls him " ass !". Later on, when he and Kate leave the monastery, Kate has now become the one disillusioned by the priest's behavior, while Hans seems surprisingly forgiving and exclaims "He's just misguided and a bit too self-centered.". The monks are portrayed sympathetically, even though they are mostly Cloudcuckoolanders. The Russian missionary that studied the Yukol culture decades before Hans and Kate is also portrayed as a kind and humble man (if his diary and notes are any indication).
      • Then again, his epitaph is Latin for "God has destroyed my science".
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Ivan and Igor. They're the main antagonists of the second game.
  • Translation Convention
  • 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.