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Designers Must Walk A Fine Line When Reinventing The IP

Remakes have become awfully popular over the past few years, but in many ways, they can be risky. Just ask Jordan Mechner, developer of the original Prince of Persia who also presided over the 2003 remake.

Now, that remake worked out well; The Sands of Time was one of the year's best and rejuvenated the archaic franchise. We've seen multiple installments since then and the latest was a definite gem. But in a recent Develop interview with Mechner, he says that "reinventing an IP is a bit like steering between Scylla and Charybdis." Basically, he's talking about walking the fine line between not enough change and too much change:

"If you stick too closely to what's worked before, it gets stale; if you deviate from it too much, you might confuse and possibly split your fan base. Between those two risks, I'm personally inclined to lean toward the second, because it's more interesting."

As far as PoP goes, Mechner seems proud of the franchise's ability to continually reinvent itself, and this includes the upcoming action movie. Mechner says he's "amazed at the range of difference over the years" while at the same time, he adds that it's clear anybody can recognize all iterations as PoP. He believes it may have something to do with the fact that the storyline is cemented in the Arabian Nights tales, but that's only part of it. The bottom line is that a remake and/or rejuvenation of an old IP is risky, simply because it can't possibly survive on nostalgia alone.

Some say it's automatic money in the bank, but there's always more involved.

10/12/2009 9:40:33 PM John Shepard

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Legacy Comment System (7 posts)

Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 10:26:53 PM

That's why Square-Enix should NEVER remake FFVII, imo

But yes it's true, Mortal Kombat had a hard time with this dilemma...

While MK never went away it was always trying to find itself again. And they kinda did with MK vs DC.

But yeah it's never easy at all


But yes, in terms of making sequels it really is tough to actually evolve the series without taking out the core mechanics/storylines

The toughest move is when they try to replace the main character. MGS2 anyone? DMC4?

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Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 11:02:09 PM

This is one area where I have high hopes for the new Castlevania, which has struggled since Symphony. Anyone remember Castlevania64?

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 10/12/2009 11:10:35 PM

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Banky A
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 @ 12:31:51 AM

/off topic
Thanks to this article, I finally know the story of Scylla and Charybdis. Furthering my knowledge of the Greek ^_^

Yusss, but I do remember Odysseus' encounter with Scylla.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009 @ 12:47:57 AM

i really liked the new direction the new POP went in, the fantasy look.
but i want my old nitty gritty gory prince of persia the 2 thrones back, thats by far the best of the series.
best of both worlds would be to have them alternate, have one game as the old style and have the another as the new fantasy style.
sort of the same for DMC, i like the old DMC games, and dante is to cool to replace.
but i also like nero and how he changes the gameplay quite a bit.

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Metal Head
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 @ 11:17:44 AM

POP hasn't changed much since it came out for the ps2. Why would developers take a risk when gamers keep on buying the same thing. Halo,Madden,Street Fighter,Tekken,etc. This is why Team Ico is my favorite developer. The Last Guardian will be spectacular.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009 @ 3:11:02 PM

Errr. . . Don't think you played all PoPs, bro. But agree on the Dante replacing thing being a no-no. Tho Nero is super cool character. Totally agree with PoP creator.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009 @ 8:33:55 PM

I agree. Lean towards the more interesting. Boring does not sell well at all.

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