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Making of Karateka delves into Prince of Persia creator’s debut in an interactive doc, includes a remaster and playable prototypes

Follows Digital Eclipse’s Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration

A pixellated fighter kicks their opponent in the head in Karateka Remastered gameplay
Image credit: Digital Eclipse

The first published game by Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner has been given the star treatment in an interactive documentary that includes the original Karateka, its early prototypes, a full remaster with dev commentary and a brand new game.

Watch on YouTube

The Making of Karateka is the next in Digital Eclipse’s ongoing effort to showcase video game history in the form of collections spanning games, interviews, materials and interactive timelines, after the superb Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration. The format of Atari 50 has been replicated here, becoming the first in what Digital Eclipse is now calling the Gold Master Series.

Karateka was created by a teenage student Mechner using an Apple II, making use of then-revolutionary rotoscoping animation to capture fluid, lifelike motion of its fighting combatants and influences from Japanese cinema and manga in its cinematic (at least, for the time) depiction of an unnamed hero fighting their way through the fortress of Akuma to rescue Princess Mariko, borrowing the screen wipes of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai.

A timeline menu in The Making of Karateka showing the Atari 8-bit version of the game
Image credit: Digital Eclipse

The interactive documentary includes playable versions of the original game’s releases for the Apple II, Commodore 64 and Atari, as well as three prototypes new to the collection showing its development over the years.

Alongside the original games is a new Karateka Remastered, which adds in content left out of the original and includes director’s commentary and achievements, and Deathbounce: Rebounded, a twin-stick shooter based on a pre-Karateka game that never saw the light of day.

Watch on YouTube

The games are joined by a series of video interviews with notable talking heads including Mechner and his dad Francis, who composed Karateka’s soundtrack. Alongside the video interviews are a whole host of design documents, concept art and other materials, including Mechner’s handwritten notes and letters to eventual publisher Broderbund.

The Making of Karateka can be picked up via Steam, GOG or Epic, where it’ll cost you £16.75/$20 (it's a tiny bit cheaper for UK folks on Epic, where it's £15.99). The second instalment in Digital Eclipse’s newly dubbed Gold Master Series is due to release toward the end of this year.

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