Belgian comic book artist and video game developer Benoît Sokal, perhaps best known for creating the Syberia adventure game series, died on May 28th following a long-term illness. He was 66. Syberia developer and publisher Microids confirmed his passing with a statement about it, his life, and his work.
"Known first and foremost as a storyteller and talented comic book artist, Benoît contributed hugely to advancing the video game medium internationally, through a varied and prolific output over the past 25 years," Microids' statement reads in part. "A true visionary and extremely talented artist, Benoît left an indelible mark on Microids' history. He worked hard to share his vision with the world, starting in 1999 with his first title, Amerzone. His distinctive style made the various universes he built unforgettable for thousands of players worldwide, even earning him the position of Art Director at Microids for a time."
You can read the full statement on Microids' website, the link to which is below:
It’s with extreme sadness and heavy hearts that the Microids team must announce the death of Benoît Sokal, who passed on the 28th of May 2021 after battling a long-term illness. The entire Microids team share the grief of his family and friends.https://t.co/FkLUwBn7F9 pic.twitter.com/XGBdvjEDri— Microids (@Microids_off) May 29, 2021
Sokal started creating comics in the 1970s, including Inspector Canardo, which centered on the exploits of a depressed anthropomorphic duck detective. It was not until 1996 that he began work on his first video game, Amerzone, before creating the Syberia series in the earlier 2000s. The first Syberia released in 2002 and spawned several sequels over the years from Microids. A new video game in the series called Syberia: The World Before is currently in development and is tentatively set to release this year.