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Old 11-29-2009, 04:48 PM   #1
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Default Microids is acquired

by a French distributor called Anuman Interactive.
http://worthplaying.com/article/2009/11/29/news/70556/
I could not be any happier when the company relaunched in 2007, hoping to see more great games from Microids. But apparently it was not a developer anymore, and the Still Life franchise was destroyed.

Does the acquisition mean the Microids was in financial trouble? If so I find it strange since Microids itself acquired another company (Cryo Interactive) not long ago.

Any word on Syberia 3? It better not to come out unless Benoit or the old team does it. I dont want to see another Still Life 2.
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Old 12-01-2009, 08:22 AM   #2
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Any word on Syberia 3? It better not to come out unless Benoit or the old team does it. I dont want to see another Still Life 2.
When Syberia III was announced last year, it was stated that the game would be in full 3D. How will it compare to Still Life 2 is yet unknown, but I share your apparent lack of confidence. The Syberia games are still some of the most visually gorgeous games I've ever played, so why they deem it necessary to significantly alter the art style is beyond me.

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Old 12-01-2009, 09:21 AM   #3
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Well, perhaps they felt that a game in the usual 2.5D would not be commercially interesting enough, and that with the modern technology a game in full 3D could be done without compromising the artistic qualities. It's not like full 3D means bad visuals.

GK3 was full 3D in 1999, and although it sure wasn't visually stunning, in my opinion it has graphics that still are very pleasing to the eye and has an interface that in my opinion is still unmatched today (and much of the problems are simply due to a rushed schedule). That was 10 years ago, things could be done in quite wonderful ways nowadays and it can look just as beautiful as the original Syberias (which I finally have the privilege to play as of yesterday), even better with the development since then.

I personally think that 3D still has much to offer to AGs, and GK3 should've been (and was - in a way) a pioneer in the way AGs could evolve, even though the interface had its problems, it (in my opinion) allowed a much more versatile and immersifying experience than the usual 2.5D.

And althogh that has nothing to do with graphics and such - that area is simply a matter of tech advancement (which nowadays is far enough to assertain the level in 3D where it was with the previous Syberias in 2.5D) and art direction, not decisions in how a game is built (I'm sure someone could say it better). Of course, I'm not saying it means things will be better, but as long as there's effort put into it (and as I said, good art direction), there's no reason in my opinion why 3D should be visually any less stunning than 2.5D (of course, I understand that you didn't say that 3D is necessarily bad, but I'm sure that if the change had to be made, it had to be made (the first paragraph is the main point here )).
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Old 12-01-2009, 09:32 AM   #4
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GK3 was full 3D in 1999, and [...]has an interface that in my opinion is still unmatched today (and much of the problems are simply due to a rushed schedule).
I completely agree. And yet, my main issue with Syberia III is whether Sokal is involved or not. I don't want a third installment in the series without him at the helm, as much as I wouldn't want a GK4 if Jane weren't involved.
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Old 12-01-2009, 09:40 AM   #5
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When Syberia III was announced last year, it was stated that the game will be in full 3D. How will it compare to Still Life 2 is yet unknown, but I share your apparent lack of confidence. The Syberia games are still some of the most visually gorgeous games I've ever played, so why they deem it necessary to significantly alter the art style is beyond me.
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:48 PM   #6
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Well, perhaps they felt that a game in the usual 2.5D would not be commercially interesting enough, and that with the modern technology a game in full 3D could be done without compromising the artistic qualities. It's not like full 3D means bad visuals.

GK3 was full 3D in 1999, and although it sure wasn't visually stunning, in my opinion it has graphics that still are very pleasing to the eye and has an interface that in my opinion is still unmatched today (and much of the problems are simply due to a rushed schedule). That was 10 years ago, things could be done in quite wonderful ways nowadays and it can look just as beautiful as the original Syberias (which I finally have the privilege to play as of yesterday), even better with the development since then.

I personally think that 3D still has much to offer to AGs, and GK3 should've been (and was - in a way) a pioneer in the way AGs could evolve, even though the interface had its problems, it (in my opinion) allowed a much more versatile and immersifying experience than the usual 2.5D.

And althogh that has nothing to do with graphics and such - that area is simply a matter of tech advancement (which nowadays is far enough to assertain the level in 3D where it was with the previous Syberias in 2.5D) and art direction, not decisions in how a game is built (I'm sure someone could say it better). Of course, I'm not saying it means things will be better, but as long as there's effort put into it (and as I said, good art direction), there's no reason in my opinion why 3D should be visually any less stunning than 2.5D (of course, I understand that you didn't say that 3D is necessarily bad, but I'm sure that if the change had to be made, it had to be made (the first paragraph is the main point here )).
GK3 looks absolutely horrid now. Syberia does not.
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Old 12-01-2009, 05:32 PM   #7
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there's no reason in my opinion why 3D should be visually any less stunning than 2.5D (of course, I understand that you didn't say that 3D is necessarily bad, but I'm sure that if the change had to be made, it had to be made
I've got one reason why it won't look as good as 2.5D - budget. Like Jane Jensen said in the Grey Matter interview, why spend all the time and money making it 3D when you can put that effort towards story and character? There was no change that had to be made, it's like you said earlier, it's heavily influenced by commercial trends. Same point applies to Dreamfall booB, they had budget and a lot of time for that one (doesn't anyone else but me remember the constantly changing release dates..?).

I agree wholely with DeadWolf in that Syberia carries much of it's charm in it's presentation - you mess with a games charm and you're already messing with it's potential.

AndreaDraco83 also raises a point to be noted though - all of this means nothing without Mr. Sokal at the helm.
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Old 12-01-2009, 05:36 PM   #8
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GK3 was full 3D in 1999, and although it sure wasn't visually stunning, in my opinion it has graphics that still are very pleasing to the eye and has an interface that in my opinion is still unmatched today.
Unlike Andrea, I couldn't disagree more. The "pleasing to the eye" graphics were the 2D backgrounds. Everything 3D, most of all the main character visuals, was grotesque. I'm not an X-box, PC3, etc., owner. But I have seen 3D on those machines. And I've seen nothing on a PC that compares.
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Old 12-01-2009, 05:47 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by AndreaDraco83;530883...my main issue with [I
Syberia III[/I] is whether Sokal is involved or not. I don't want a third installment in the series without him at the helm, as much as I wouldn't want a GK4 if Jane weren't involved.
We've all been down this road before. Could a new LSL be created without Al Lowe? Et al. (No pun intended on the latter.) By and large, the response has been Yes, of course. (See various discussions and comments by Josh on the status of "lead" designers at Sierra.

So, could a very satisfactory Syberia3 be created without Benoit at the helm? Probably. In the case of a GK4 without JJ, again probaly. But the latter is moot as she said, in the last portion of her video interview, GK is so far in the cellar that we'll never likely see it resurface.
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Old 12-01-2009, 06:06 PM   #10
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Could a new LSL be created without Al Lowe? Et al. (No pun intended on the latter.) By and large, the response has been Yes, of course. (See various discussions and comments by Josh on the status of "lead" designers at Sierra.

So, could a very satisfactory Syberia3 be created without Benoit at the helm? Probably.
But could a sequel without these people be utter trash? Even more probable
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Old 12-01-2009, 07:27 PM   #11
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Who is involved in the artistic and thematic and story direction of a game really does matter. They are not just clones made of a mass produced original. The good ones and the great ones are the product of much love, devotion, vision and dedication. I would hope and pray that Sokal is indeed part of Syberia III and that they devote their energy to content and quality of story, not just graphics bells and whistles. We dont need another eye candy showcase....good graphics should support the game, not be the purpose of it. We will pray for wisdom among all the game developers re future games and good direction.
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Old 12-01-2009, 11:56 PM   #12
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I personally think that 3D still has much to offer to AGs, and GK3 should've been (and was - in a way) a pioneer in the way AGs could evolve
Under a Killing Moon pioneered full 3D five years before. But people prefer shooters and RPGs, so the logic behind modern low-budget 2D adventure games is understandable.

And as for Syberia 3, it was a bad idea from the start. Microids obviously didn't have enough resourses for a game with an eye-candy graphics, even in 2.5D, and that's what Syberias are all about. There's no story to continue or whatsoever - only settings.
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Old 12-02-2009, 03:24 AM   #13
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There's no story to continue or whatsoever - only settings.
I agree with you on this topic, but I'd still be interested in playing other stories featuring Kate Walker. At some point, Benoit Sokal said in an interview that, although he was done with the main Hans Voralberg storyline, he'd be willing to imagine other stories with Kate; sending her back to New York, where she's trying to catch up with the life she left behind, or featuring her in a completely different setting or continent. But after that, Mr. Sokal founded White Birds and is now busy with other projects.
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Old 12-02-2009, 03:25 AM   #14
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We've all been down this road before. Could a new LSL be created without Al Lowe? Et al. (No pun intended on the latter.) By and large, the response has been Yes, of course. (See various discussions and comments by Josh on the status of "lead" designers at Sierra.
I remember that discussion perfectly. Still, I'm certain that Jane was one of the designers that actually wrote everything for her game, and having had the chance to see her at work, I'm positive that a GK4 without her wouldn't simply by a Gabriel Knight game.

As far as Sokal is concerned, I'd like to see his involvment mainly because the story of the first two Syberia was so tightly wrapped up at the end of Syberia 2 that, if there were one capable of writing a third chapter without failing, it's most certainly him.
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Old 12-02-2009, 04:53 AM   #15
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I completely agree. And yet, my main issue with Syberia III is whether Sokal is involved or not. I don't want a third installment in the series without him at the helm, as much as I wouldn't want a GK4 if Jane weren't involved.
I agree. I mean, just look at Still Life 2. That game wasn't written or made by the same people who did the original Still Life and just look at all the problems and criticism it received. It's completely understandable to feel skepticism over Syberia 3 or Gabriel Knight 4 if their original creators aren't involved. I know that's how I'd feel if Gabriel Knight 4 wasn't written and designed by Jane Jensen.
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Old 12-02-2009, 01:00 PM   #16
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I'm not an X-box, PC3, etc., owner. But I have seen 3D on those machines. And I've seen nothing on a PC that compares.
That's maybe because you haven't really seen a modern game on a modern machine with a modern monitor. These systems are very expensive, but you get higher resolution, higher frame rates (smoother graphics) and more complex scenes.
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Old 12-05-2009, 05:13 PM   #17
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Unlike Andrea, I couldn't disagree more. The "pleasing to the eye" graphics were the 2D backgrounds. Everything 3D, most of all the main character visuals, was grotesque. I'm not an X-box, PC3, etc., owner. But I have seen 3D on those machines. And I've seen nothing on a PC that compares.
Huh? PC hardware updates much faster than console hardware, is on the bleeding edge, and if you follow the trends a bit you'll mostly hear the PC graphics are better compared to the console version of a game (Borderlands being a recent example).

Console games aren't always ported to the PC right, causing clunky controls, but that's a different matter. And PC gaming is pretty niche nowadays, with more titles coming out for the consoles. But if you're saying PC graphics are subpar compared to consoles, then your graphics card is probably older than 2 - 3 years...

I agree with you about the GK3 graphics, though. I bought the game when it was about 6 months old, even then it already was horribly outdated, graphics wise. Realtime 3D graphics don't age as well as 2D images.
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Old 12-06-2009, 02:08 AM   #18
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I've got one reason why it won't look as good as 2.5D - budget. Like Jane Jensen said in the Grey Matter interview, why spend all the time and money making it 3D when you can put that effort towards story and character? There was no change that had to be made, it's like you said earlier, it's heavily influenced by commercial trends.
Well, that's very true. Budget will of course be very much limiting in an adventure game. I guess I assumed that they had the necessary budget then if they were to make the 3D transition. Also...
Quote:
I agree wholely with DeadWolf in that Syberia carries much of it's charm in it's presentation - you mess with a games charm and you're already messing with it's potential.

AndreaDraco83 also raises a point to be noted though - all of this means nothing without Mr. Sokal at the helm.
First of all, I guess just like with GK4, I didn't even consider that Sokal wouldn't be at the head (obviously, I was a bit optimistic there).

And I also agree - I don't think that Syberia should be 3D, I guess I should've made that more clear. It was just that, first of all, I just thought to point out that it isn't too hard to imagine the reason they'd transit to 3D. Secondly, I was just trying to point out that even though today most (if not all) 3D AGs apparently aren't very well executed (and to be honest, I don't even know one, though apparently all the talk of Still Life 2 means that it is?), it doesn't mean Syberia 3 would have to be bad as well...

Also, I cannot say whether it's a good idea to do a Syberia 3 at all, I have yet to finish even the first one.
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Old 12-06-2009, 11:31 AM   #19
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I think we've gotten a tiny bit off the main point, which is that Microids has been bought out. I personally welcome our new alien overlords, if for no other reason than that I personally feel that Still Life II was a bit of a letdown. Personally, I feel they rushed it out the door, and in doing so gave us something that utterly fails to carry the torch for one of my favourite adventure games of the last decade. If the franchise has been deep-sixed because of it, perhaps it's just as well.

As for Syberia III without Benoit Sokal, from what I've seen, he hasn't exactly been batting them out of the park lately himself. His games have always been pretty but fundamentally flawed in places, especially in the writing stages, as his stories are intriguing and on the whole emotionally challenging but ultimately unrewarding. His ideas about what makes for an uplifting and cathartic ending are interesting, to say the least, but I'm inclined to think he's afraid to write a straight happy ending.

So if a Syberia III project actually does see the light of day without Sokal involved, I for one would take a look on those grounds alone. I think Benoit is a guy with a lot of interesting ideas, but his narrative sensibilities leave me a bit cold. An adventure with Kate Walker moving on from the rather disappointing ending to Syberia II would be a very welcome thing, in my books. Benoit isn't the only artist in the world who can draw interesting villages and doohickeys.

And as always, the argument of 2.5D vs 3D rears it's pixelated head. I think there has been enough proof in gaming genres outside of AGs that proves conclusively that 3D adventures can be every bit as beautiful and immersive as classic 2D and 2.5D adventures, given the right budget and art direction. Personally, I loved the graphics in Dreamfall, and we're a few years on from that now. We're just not seeing enough developers willing to risk the big budget on such a narrow market. I still have my hopes, though.
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Old 12-06-2009, 04:06 PM   #20
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But if you're saying PC graphics are subpar compared to consoles, then your graphics card is probably older than 2 - 3 years...
Drivers are up-to-date, but the card, an ATI radeon, is more than two years old. But then again, I'm probably not playing the type of game that requires the latest and greatest. I.e., if I had a state-of-the-art graphics card installed, would Still Life look, or play, any better? Which is why I am impressed with the graphics quality of my friends' console setups.
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