After teasing a third Syberia game over April Fools', Microïds announced that it is actually making the title after all - but claims that if Syberia 3 doesn't end up on the PS3 as planned, it'll be Sony's fault.
There were lots of April Fools' jokes this year, so I don't blame you if a few slipped under your radar - like Microïds' joke announcement that they were working on a sequel to cult-classic adventure game Syberia for the PC and PS3 platforms. Some people laughed, some Syberia fans sobbed at the cruel barbs, and a jolly good time was had by all.
The original Syberia (and its sequel), the brainchild of Benoît Sokal, put players into the shoes of Kate Walker, an American lawyer sent to a rural French village to finalize a sale on the behalf of her law firm. But it's steampunk - also, there are woolly mammoths. No, seriously. It was received favorably, and while its sales didn't light the world on fire, those who played it tended to love it ... so one can understand their pain at Microïds' April Fools' gag.
Wait, what's this, now? It wasn't a joke? Can you, uh... do that? It's like a bait-and-switch, only in reverse.
As it turns out, the company is, in fact, working on a third Syberia - though it might not come out on the PS3 after all, and Microïds president Emmanuel Olivier says that if it doesn't, Sony will be to blame. According to Olivier, Sony blocked the release of the original Syberia on the PS2 in the United States, despite generally favorable reviews (and the very same game being available for the PS2 in Europe!) Nor was this limited to just Syberia - Olivier claims that Sony refused a dozen other Microïds titles in the US.
It isn't just the rocky relationship between Microïds and Sony that might prevent a PS3 Syberia 3, though - Olivier thinks that Sony's royalties to develop for the PS3 are simply too steep for small development studios:
Beyond this censorship of the authors and their producers who believe in their creations and who take the financial risks when building up productions for the console without knowing whether they will be approved or denied by SONY in the last minute, the exorbitant royalties demanded by SONY to manufacture the games on its consoles seriously hamper the financing ability of independent producers. Microïds has paid more than 15 million Euros of royalties to SONY for its entire catalog, which represents 55% of the Microïds turnover for this platform. April Fools? Well no! It is unfortunately the "rule of the game" imposed by SONY.
Microïds says it wants to release Syberia 3 on the PS3, and has begun to rally fans to try and get Sony to revise its policies. The one-two punch of lost potential revenue from a US release and "exorbitant" royalties means that if Sony doesn't change their ways, Olivier says that Syberia 3 for the PS3 will be an April Fools' joke after all.