New Prince Of Persia Announced

By John Walker on April 28th, 2008 at 6:35 pm.

Go on, stab me. I've got a rewind button.

Ubisoft have just announced that their Montreal studio is working on a new Prince of Persia game. Very little more is known at this point, other than someone at Ubi was on a dare to see how many times he/she could write “Prince of Persia” in the press release. A sample paragraph:

“Developed by Ubisoft’s award-winning Montreal studio and the same all-star team that created the previously acclaimed Prince of Persia® Sands of Time trilogy, Prince of Persia is opening a new chapter in the Prince of Persia universe, featuring a new breed of gameplay.”

What this new breed is to be remains a mystery. We’re also told that it will feature “brand-new illustrative art style.”

It’s tempting to be cynical when a franchise is entering its eleventh incarnation, and even moreso when its recent trilogy dipped in quality after a stunning opening. However, I tell you this anecdote:

I went on a preview trip for PoP: Sands of Time in 2003. Nothing was known about the game, and the trip was intended to let people play it for the first time. It’d been two years since Max Payne, and everyone was getting pretty sick of “bullet time” in their third-person action games, so cynicism was present. And then they let us play it. The first time I hit the ‘rewind’ button my jaw dropped, and I realised: this is what all platform/action games will do from now on.

I'm sultry and deep!

Of course I realised wrong, and peculiarly no one’s managed to better Sands of Time at athletic freedom since, and, um, fewer than no people have mimicked the rewind that makes such perfect sense. We love running and jumping in games. We don’t love falling to our deaths and reloading to a previous check-point. Letting us rewind solves this. WHY HASN’T ANYONE ELSE COPIED IT?

Anyway, point being, when this bunch say they have “a new breed of gameplay”, they’ve the proof that we should be interested. Focus on the Ubisoft Montreal, rather than the Ubisoft Clancy Oh Please Have A New Idea.

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33 Comments »

  1. BrokenSymmetry says:

    Sands of Time is still my favorite video game ever. Great movement, non-frustrating platforming, very likable and funny characters. I even liked the much-maligned fighting in that game, precisely because the fighting was so stylish. Also, EDGE’s february 2005 Time Extend feature on Sands of Time is the best video game article ever written.

  2. Schtee says:

    Isn’t that kind of what Braid’s doing (except, yeah, obviously the focus is different)?

  3. Wurzel says:

    Ooh, new prince of persia. Agree with the love for sands of time, although I think the two thrones did a lot of make up for warrior within. To be honest my main reason for getting Assasin’s Creed was in the hope that it continued this series’ effortless yet still challenging athletic puzzles. Sadly t’was not to be, but still excited.

  4. Theory says:

    I thought word about this was leaked a while ago. There was a concept art piece and everything.

  5. Kareem says:

    Does the press release mention anything about a PC version? I love the series, and would hate for it to go the path of delayed PC version when consoles get it 6 months earlier, like with Assassin’s Creed.

  6. Jochen Scheisse says:

    I actually liked all 3 of the new POP parts, and thought the general pace of character development fit the growing up thematic very well. If the second part stands for puberty, it’s really no wonder everyone hates it…

    So, good news, everybody! I’m definitely getting my hands on this one. But I expected the story to be a trilogy, and I am already curious how they will try to expand the storyline, because it felt kind of finished after the 2 Thrones.

  7. John Walker says:

    Kareem – there’s definitely a PC version, or we’d have shunned it like an ugly puppy.

    Wurzel – Agreed. Although I don’t think TT was nearly as good as SOT, it was certainly better than WW. I think TT was a peculiar meta-commentary on the first two games, with the Prince representing the two distinct approaches to the idea, and the warring response by those who prefered each.

  8. BrokenSymmetry says:

    In my opinion TT was even worse than WW: WW had the atrocious music, and the horrible screeching ninja girls, but it also was very beautiful in places, and had some of the very large “puzzle” rooms that were the hallmark of SoT (like the clock tower in WW). TT was the ugliest of the 3 games, had horrible checkpointing, much-too-difficult boss fights with unskippable cutscenes before them, the hated time-limited dark-prince gameplay, etc. etc.

  9. Kareem says:

    Awesome, thanks for the clarification John.

    I quite enjoyed Warrior Within because despite the generic, angsty new prince, the platforming was just as excellent as in SoT and the combat was a million times better than the pathetic combat in SoT. Ultimately though, SoT is simply more endearing because of the interaction with Farah and the engaging narrative – it has a distinct charm that lacked in WW and was restored to an extent in TT.

    As simply games though, I can find little fault in the last iteration of the series and will be looking forward to this in anticipation.

  10. Noc says:

    I just thought that the first game was a finished story. As in everything that was introduced in the first game got resolved at the end. And, specifically, the Prince completed his character arc – he transformed from the gung-ho wants-to-be-a-warrior kid into the man who uses the tools at his disposal to prevent the war, rather than to win it.

    Then in the subsequent games, a dark and blood-spattered Prince hacks apart people to angry music. Advancements in gameplay aside, I kinda feel like the Prince should be done by now.

  11. Optimaximal says:

    TT was good, but it fell down with the silly quick kills (why?) and those fucking insta-death chariot bits (WHY?!)

    I felt the whole ‘game’ was better though – WW fell down when you had to do all the extra bits to actually get the true ending to the game… I hate that and was pretty glad when TT went back to ‘the extra bits just give you more health’.

    The ending didn’t make much sense though…

    I think TT was a peculiar meta-commentary on the first two games, with the Prince representing the two distinct approaches to the idea, and the warring response by those who prefered each.

    I agree, that’s how I felt the game panned out. The fact that they used the original SOT voice actor for the ‘good’ prince and someone who sounded a lot like the WW prince for the Dark Prince showed this off quite clearly IMO.

  12. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    I’m confused, I thought the PoP:SoT team went off and made Assassin’s Creed, leaving the rest of the trilogy in somewhat less capable hands? The press release seems to imply they were all made by the same team. I can only assume they mean the team behind WW and tTT are behind this new PoP, which doesn’t bode especially well.

    @ Theory: It was never officially announced though, unlike Splinter Cell V which I think was unveiled shortly after the leak. Here’s a few images I saved from back then: one, two and three. Whether they stuck with that style remains to be seen, however.

  13. The Shed says:

    Puffin Man, I’m fairly sure it wasn’t the entire SoT team that worked on AC, only an off-shoot (Medal of Honour into call of Duty style). Let us look it up.

    Also, nice pics; it would be no bad thing if that was the new style.

  14. ggregg says:

    SoT is still my top three action game. Developers missed the point completely with next installments though. Instead of a charming tale from a thousand and one arabic nigths’ they pulled this ecclectic pretendingtobe-grownup-serious BS.

  15. CrashT says:

    Note that it says the same team as ofthe “Sands of Time trilogy” not specifically of “Sands Of Time” itself.

  16. Ozzie says:

    I guess that the rewind function was the idea of Jordan Mechner.
    In many games he designed time was an integral part of the gameplay (the time limit in PoP1, the unique clock save system in Last Express where you can rewind to any previous point in time).

    So, I’m not sure if he works on this new game. I guess not. Let’s see if they can come up with something unique without him.

  17. Wurzel says:

    Hmm, that concept art looks interesting. I remember when I heard about this the first time now. It occured to me then that they might be going for a complete rebooting of the PoP franchise, as #2 and #3 look suitable for a main character. Tbh I think that’d be the best way for them to progress things; the Prince’s story has been finished twice over.

    Mind you if they then introduce the headband of time, or the gauntlet of time, or whatever, as a means of continuingthe lovely time powers, I might haveto give up on the series :).

  18. RichPowers says:

    Will Ubisoft be responsible for porting it to the PC? If so, we can look forward to god-awful performance, crashes, and 900 MB memory dumps.

    Ubisoft: King of unoptimized console ports.

  19. The_B says:

    The weird thing is, the PC versions of the SoT trilogy never seemed to suffer much from bad porting, if I remember correctly…

  20. Rook says:

    I thought both Assassin’s Creed and R6:Vegas 2 were pretty good ports, especially compared to some of their other efforts.

    It’s not like the PC version of R6 has faired that much worse than the console versions

  21. unclebulgaria says:

    Unless you’re a pad owner (and probably used to such things).

    Here’s to hoping the 360 pad layout will be used as the default pad controls on all games EVAR going forward (guess what I’ve got?). Unfortunately, being able to assign “button 11″ doesn’t mean much without the latest driver release notes to hand.

  22. Ginger Yellow says:

    I’m another one hoping they go back to the acrobatics-exploring-puzzling of SoT and ditch most of the combat. Even if the combat system in WW was better, the fights just got in the way of what made Prince of Persia Prince of Persia.

  23. Quirk says:

    I think everyone’s forgetting just how bad the combat in SoT was. I played through it again not long ago, and while yes, it has a great many pretty platformy bits, and I like the atmosphere and story better than the other games, the combat takes up way too much of the game time – yes, proportionately about as much as the other games, given they allow you to dispatch your adversaries much more briefly – and is pretty painfully dire. Go play it again and see if you don’t agree.

    WW was mechanically better, but the whiny Prince ruined the feel of it for me, and the boss battles were appalling; TT comes for me clearly first, but then I quite liked many of the boss battles and could live with the admittedly over-difficult chariot races. The latter games were however weakened by taking away the copious amounts of sand the first let you have, which made them a bit less carefree.

    I’m quite excited by the idea of another Prince of Persia series though, building on the Two Thrones.

  24. SenatorPalpatine says:

    I missed the Prince of Persia series. I’ll add it to my list.

  25. Colthor says:

    More run, jump, climb, puzzle!
    Less fight!
    No silly boss nonsense!

    /Eloquent.

  26. Ian says:

    I thought the bosses in TT were much better than those in Sands of Time. Although they were a little QTEish they were better than that bloody fight with the Vizier at the end of SoT.

    Block – hack hopefully- block – repeat.

  27. SuperNashwan says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that SoT is one of those games that had a spark of magic about it never to be repeated; they clearly demonstrated in the sequels they didn’t have much idea what they’d done right the first time. I’m far more hopeful about the next Tomb Raider after Anniversary showed someone at least understands about that feeling of completely owning vast levels.

  28. Arnulf says:

    I agree with Colthor: no boss fights, please!

    Sands of Time is just perfect as it is. I’ve got it both for PC and ps2; although I’m playing with my gamepad only. Keyboard and mouse controls just don’t do it justice.

    I was disappointed with Warrior Within. Some spots are very SOT like, but the mini-bosses ticked me off, and the whole story was just.. meh for me.

  29. Ian says:

    One of my favourite things about SoT was standing in a big giant room-puzzle, standing planning your route and still ending up at a point a) You’re sure you hadn’t planned to get to, as there seems to be no way to continue to the exit, and b) You’re not even convinced you knew it was there before you got to.

    In TT I hated the chariots but actually liked the way the quick kills worked to a degree. Give me TT’s combat system in SoT’s world and I’d be happy.

  30. Meat Circus says:

    Yay, I think.

    PoP:SoT was one of the greates platformers in my history of liking platformers, and perhaps more crucially, THE greatest game title abbreviation bar none.

  31. James G says:

    I absolutely adored SoT, and yet left WW by the wayside in one of the tedious boss fights. (The one in which a single kick can send you plummeting to your dooms, and an attempt to back-off just results in someone else falling to their doom.)

    To be honest, I prefered the combat of SoT, but then again I’ve never been a fan of combat heavy games (which excludes a lot I know.). The SoT system was simple, yet WW was a bit overburdened and just lead to button mashing.

  32. Scandalon says:

    Totally late to the party, the article is now “old”, etc, but I have to throw my love-hat into the PoP-ring. (No, I don’t know what that means either.) SoT is one of the few games I’ve actually completed, the fact it’s a console platformer makes that doubly impressive. Looking back, the combat *was* a bit weak…but James is right, the “upgraded” combat wasn’t executed quite as elegantly as I would have liked.

  33. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Whether they stuck with that style remains to be seen, however.

    It seems they did. Thanks GameTrailers, you adorable internet scamps.

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