Karateka and Prince of Persia, created and programmed by Mechner on the Apple II and published by Brøderbund Software, broke new ground by combining arcade action with realistic animation and cinematic storytelling. Both games were #1 bestsellers. Prince of Persia was adapted for nearly every computer and console platform in the early 1990’s, selling over two million copies, and was a major influence in the development of the action-adventure video game genre.
After designing and directing a successful sequel, Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame, Mechner founded independent developer Smoking Car Productions, where he led a 30-person creative team in the production of the critically acclaimed PC CD-ROM adventure game The Last Express, also published by Brøderbund. In 1999, PC Gamer Magazine recognized Mechner’s body of work by naming him a “Game God.”
Collaboration with Ubisoft Montreal
In 2001, Mechner joined forces with Ubisoft Entertainment to relaunch the decade-old Prince of Persia brand for a new generation of gamers. Developed at Ubisoft Montreal with Mechner as game designer, writer and creative consultant, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was one of the biggest hits of 2003, sweeping the Interactive Achievement Awards (DICE) with 12 nominations and 8 awards, and selling 2 million copies in its first two months of release.
The game’s success renewed Prince of Persia’s status as one of the world’s most popular and enduring video game franchises. Ubisoft has since published two more sequels, bringing Prince of Persia game sales to over 11 million, and released a next-generation Prince of Persia title in December 2008.
Mechner’s achievements in the video game field are complemented by his work as a screenwriter and director. His documentary Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story won the 2003 IDA award for Best Short Documentary, was short-listed for an Academy Award nomination, and received its broadcast premiere on PBS Independent Lens in 2005.
Mechner is screenwriter and executive producer of the Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer feature film Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, directed by Mike Newell and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Sir Ben Kingsley, and Alfred Molina. Prince of Persia is planned as a major Disney tentpole release for summer 2010.
Mechner provided creative direction to writer A. B. Sina and illustrators LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland on Prince of Persia: The Graphic Novel, published by First Second Books. He is now collaborating with Pham and Puvilland on a new graphic novel for First Second, entitled Solomon’s Thieves.
- Mechner received his B.A. from Yale University
- Merchner is married to follow video game designer, Whitney Hills.