Prince Of Persia Details Revealed
When we learned Ubisoft was preparing a next-gen Prince of Persia, we couldn't help but be excited. We were huge fans of Sands of Time, and the next two were also extremely entertaining. However, the developers are taking a new approach with the new PoP, which may come as bittersweet news to some gamers, depending on what you thought of the previous three entries.
According to an interview with producer Ben Mattes and other members of the development team at That Videogame Blog, it seems the new PoP will feature a host of new alterations and improvements. Fist of all, they'll be using Anvil, the same engine that powered last year's gem, Assassin's Creed. It won't look as realistic - PoP will have more of a fantasy feel and tone - but after AC, Anvil's potential is undeniable. As for the premise itself, Mattes says this is a completely different chapter in the series ("The Sands of Time are dead and gone"), and rather than starting off as a prince, we'll be a "drifter and adventurer, lost in the desert." In our minds, this kinda goes against the whole Prince of Persia spirit, but hey, we could always go for something new. And besides, it seems we will actually become a prince at some point in the game.
“We’re starting afresh, in the same universe, and we wanted to bring something new while keeping what worked before,” said creative director Jean-Christophe Guyot. “He’ll be confronted by a lot of fantasy settings.”
In terms of story, we'll be in the midst of a war between two Gods; the God of Light, Ormazd, and the God of Darkness, Ahriman (who just so happens to be Ormazd's brother). We recognize the name "Ahriman" from Final Fantasy, by the way; they were those winged, one-eyed creatures that could inflict "Darkness" on a character, remember? Anyway, Ahriman has spread a nasty infection in the realm of mortals in an effort to hold dominion, and it's up to the player to set things right. This is where the combat and exploration will come in, of course, and here's where one of the biggest changes becomes evident: this PoP will be more of an open-world, freedom-oriented game. It's not going to be entirely free-roaming, but Mattes also says it will be "truly non-linear."
What he means is that the player can advance through the game "in a preferred order." Check it out:
“We really wanted to create a POP experience where the player has a much greater authorship over their global experience, so that it wasn’t a completely linear game where they played through it once, and that was it. At the same time, we recognized you will never get the POP experience we want — those long strings of choreographed acrobatics — from a true sandbox. We adopted an open-world structure where the player has the macro-level choice in how it unfolds, how the story unfolds, in terms of which regions to visit and which times, and which bosses they fight and when.”
Now that sounds like fun. If you're wondering about the combat, well, we get another change. Rather than the prince battling scores of enemies as he did in past installments in the franchise, we will fight only one enemy at any given time in the new PoP. Each and every encounter will be a separate duel. But it's not so simple, as Mattes explains:
“Combat is a game in and of itself. We really want to play off the strategic advantages of the environments. Every fight in the game should feel like a boss fight. The feeling of being against a very difficult adversary who’s every bit the swordsman as you are, and you have to use all your strategy and skill just to get past him; maybe you don’t kill him, just drive him off. That’ll happen often — you’ll drive an enemy away, then they’ll stalk you to return and fight again.”
We don't know about you, but all of this sounds immensely intriguing. While we're big fans of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mantra, we also realize that if you stick with that philosophy for too long, things can get stale and boring. We can't wait to hear more about this next-gen Prince of Persia, and as soon as Ubisoft releases some media, we'll snag it. Our favorite Prince returns some time later this year for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
5/5/2008 Ben Dutka