It's a blast from the past, brought to you by Ubi Soft. Check out our preview on one of this fall's hottest games.
Ubi Soft is bringing back one of the most remembered video games of all time, Prince of Persia. To bring the legend back to life they’ve enlisted the help of Jordan Mechner, the creator of the original Prince of Persia. Mechner is working on the project as screenwriter and also as a consultant to make sure this new adventure stays true to the heart of the series.
Story is tightly woven into the gameplay. Ubi Soft’s internal development team in Montreal wants players to feel that the actions they perform really feel like part of the game’s story, instead of just relying on forced cut-scenes between levels.
The Prince discovers a magical hourglass with dark powers, and he claims it as a trophy after gaining victory in war. The hourglass is accidentally broken, unleashing the Sands of Time upon the world. The Sands are corrupting the world, turning normally peaceful people and animals into monsters, so they must be returned to their container for safe keeping. The Prince takes it upon himself to return the Sands and to restore order to the world.
It’s a large task for sure, but it’s nothing the Prince can’t handle. With his amazing acrobatic abilities, as well as a magical dagger, the Prince has more than enough help in his journey. The Prince is definitely no ordinary guy. The development team has made him seem normal enough, but with some superhuman qualities. The key word is “plausible.” The Prince can do things that would be impossible in the real world, but in the context of the game, and the character, they seem completely plausible. While a normal person may only be able to run on a wall for one or two steps, the Prince can run on a wall for fifteen steps. He’ll also be swinging from ropes and poles, jumping off walls and columns, and even running up the chests of enemies only to turn around in mid air and strike his foe from behind. All of this dramatic movement is hand animated and flows beautifully.
Of course, what would a game titled “The Sands of Time” be without time itself? The magic dagger discovered by the Prince has a connection to The Sands of Time. With his magical dagger, the Prince can alter time itself to help him on his journey. The Prince has five time-control abilities. He can reverse time, which is useful when falling into a pit or running into a trap. Instead of starting the level over again, the player can rewind a few seconds and try again, though there are a limited number of rewinds per level. In combat, the Prince can speed up time to attack multiple enemies at once, or slow it down to fight more precisely. He can even stop an enemy dead in its tracks. Finally, the Prince will be able to look into the future to see what dangers he may encounter further in his journey.
The Prince will have to fight enemies who have been corrupted by The Sands of Time. Using his dagger, the Prince can “finish off” his enemies, which will suck the Sands out of their bodies to free them from the vile grasp. Prince of Persia eschews the powerups found in many games; there are no health pick-ups in the game. Instead, the Prince gains his health back from water. Instead of getting gradually stronger weapons which can be used to take out gradually stronger enemies, the Prince (as well as the player) gains a mastery of his weapon and skills over time, which in turn allows him to take on bigger, stronger enemies.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is moving along nicely, and was a huge hit at the 2003 Electronics Entertainment Expo. The game’s unique new gameplay and tightly woven story are setting it up to be a hit when it releases later this year.