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Analysis / Syberia

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Syberia as a Crash Course in European Utopias

The first game is described in the trailer for the second as Kate traveling through all the "failed utopias" of Europe. Indeed, the whole plot of the game can be interpreted as a gradual deconstruction of various utopias:

  • Valadilene is the pastoral utopia of romanticism, with all its untamed nature and beauty and zero modern tech (even the hotel fax is off-screen). And yet it is a dying town, stuck in its ways and populated by old people, because it couldn't move with the time and the young have all left (starting with Hans).
  • Barrockstadt is the academic utopia of the Enlightenment, where every man strives for knowledge. Yet there are so few students attending the university and most lectors are so old, it's almost a ghost campus. Young people need science almost as little as they need Valadilene's nature.
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  • Komkolzgrad is the socialist/industrial utopia with its grandiose machinery that doesn't really do much anymore and two old men left behind, hanging to their respective old dreams. The young people are no longer interested in the exploration of space or have any nostalgia for the old culture.
  • Finally, Aralbad is the post-modern utopia, where every need is provided for and people grow old in peace among boredom and the ruins they have turned the environment into while getting there. Nobody is there but old people because that's not a place you go to live, it's a place you go to die.

    • You could say that, in a way, Syberia is a story about dreams, and the lengths people follow (or don't follow) to follow them. All throughout the journey, Kate and Hans travel from one lost utopia to another - from one failed dream to another, all on their way to follow Hans' own childhood dream of riding the mammoths in Syberia, which Kate, a cynical person from the modern world with all its broken dreams, doesn't even believe is possible. It comes true.

All the while, these impressions are punctuated by Kate receiving calls from the US, the modern world, and growing ever more alienated from it and its endless bustling (what with her boss constantly giving her the flak, her mom going on and on about irrelevant things, and her boyfriend cheating on her with her best friend).


Original Syberia as Stages of Life

An alternative interpretation to the above would be that each major location represents a stage of human life (Hans' life, specifically):

  • Valadilene is Childhood, a carefree time of youth and mingling with nature.
  • Barrockstadt is Studentship, the time of intense learning and (self-)discovery.
  • Komkolzgrad is Professional Life, a period of skill refinement, grandeur, and ambition.
  • Aralbad is Retirement, the barren but peaceful living out the remaining years.

By extension, the locations of Syberia II may represent the stages of the world beyond death.


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