The adventure genre has been around since the early days of the game industry, but with studios like Telltale repopularizing the genre, we're seeing new adventure games pop up more frequently than ever. The Syberia franchise has been dormant for over a decade, but publisher Microids is working with artist and developer Benoît Sokal, Koalabs Studio, 3DDUO, and Kylotonn to bring the franchise into the modern age with Syberia 3, which is now scheduled to launch on December 1.
With Syberia 2 acting as a continuation and conclusion of the narrative that began in the first game, Syberia 3 begins a new arc for series protagonist Kate Walker. This means players that missed the first two entries are able to use Syberia 3 as a jumping-on point with minimal confusion. Syberia 3 represents the first time the series is being rendered in full 3D, giving it a more modern look than either of the first two, mostly pre-rendered Syberia games.
The story begins with Kate Walker stranding and in dire need of assistance before the Youkol people save her from certain death. Kate and the Youkol have common enemies, so she decides to assist them with their strange ritual of escorting snow ostriches to their reproduction grounds.
Microids recently visited us to show off an early section of Syberia 3. In our demo, Kate Walker awakes in a medical facility that has some very peculiar prison-like elements. Upon talking with her roommate, a Youkol man who is tied up, she learns there are perhaps some more sinister prejudices at play against his people. She leaves her room and talks to some of the facility's workers, who all have something shady about them, save for the head of the facility, a kind, older gentleman who seems unaware of any malicious activities happening within his facility's walls. One worker even straps Kate down and interrogates her using a lie-detector.
Though the game was still very much a work-in-progress with placeholder voice acting, the visuals were impressive. The character models and environments were detailed, and the contrast in the world gave it a distinct beauty. As you open drawers, you can even interact with items individually and move them within the drawer independently – a step above what many adventure games do in simply allowing you to highlight an object and examine it.
As the demo progressed, I saw conversation trees that can affect details in the story, and environmental puzzles like an electrical box that required you to find a knife to pop open the cover before you hot-wired it to make the device work. One puzzle that looked particularly fun came when we attempted to fit a Kraken-shaped key into a corresponding keyhole. In order to get it to work, we needed to rotate each of the tentacles individually to match the silhouette portrayed by the keyhole.
As Kate finally left through the facility's doors, she was thwarted by a locked gate. Someone was clearly trying to keep Kate within those walls. The demo ended with another puzzle involving opening a door which led to a sewer system that allowed Kate to stealthily escape. Though my demo took place entirely inside the walls of the facility, Syberia 3 will feature many locales, cities, and outdoor areas.
For more on Syberia 3, you can listen to the developers speak about the project and see new footage of the game in the below video from the team. Syberia 3 is currently scheduled to release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Mac on December 1.