It’s been nearly a month since comic and videogame artist/designer Benoît Sokal passed away on May 28, 2021, due to a long-time illness, but his work continues to captivate the imagination of so many people.
Six years I ago I wrote the The Leonard Nimoy and Terry Pratchett Legacy article, the first of its kind, as I usually don’t cover these sorts of things. The reason was simply, especially in the case of Pratchett, that this was part of my life, and while Benoît Sokal’s work hasn’t influenced it in the same way, it was still a sad day for me and gaming in general.
I have to admit that I haven’t read any of his comic books and only knew him as an artist and designer of various adventure games. Even if they weren’t all perfect, Syberia and Syberia II were again a joy to review and I’ve finished these multiple times because of the atmosphere created by the art, sound design, and general world building.
I still have to play/review the third entry of the series (see these game release and GOG “Syberia 3: The Complete Journey” release news) and there’s an upcoming prequel called Syberia: The World Before that would built on Sokal’s mythology. While the teams of Microids and Koalabs will certainly try to stay true to his vision, it will be a tough time for them, and I wish them all the best.
Benoît was involved in a few other games, like Amerzone, Sinking Island, and Paradise, and despite not being as successful in storytelling and puzzle design, they still offered me a chance to explore other worlds that were easy to get lost in, something that so many modern open-world games rarely achieve.
If you want to learn more about Benoît’s contribution to and recognition by the games/comic industry, make sure you read this official Microids posting. Maybe now is the best time to read his books and play his games again or experience them anew.