|Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time|
Sony Computer Entertainment
|Series||The Sands of Time Trilogy|
PlayStation 2 and PC Collection
PlayStation 3 (HD Collection)
puzzle-platformer, hack and slash
|Sound||Dolby Pro Logic II|
|Next game (release)||Prince of Persia: Warrior Within|
|Next game (canon)||Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands|
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a third-person action-adventure puzzle-platforming video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and released worldwide in November 2003 across most major platforms. It was published by Ubisoft in western territories and Sony Computer Entertainment in Japan. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a re-imagining of the original Prince of Persia Trilogy that began with Jordan Mechner's 1989 game for the Apple II. The first in The Sands of Time Trilogy and follows the journey of an arrogant young prince whose father attacks the Maharajah's kingdom in India and discovers a mysterious artifact called the Dagger of Time that can control time. When he is fooled into opening the Hourglass of Time by the Vizier, he is accompanied by the princess of the conquered Indian kingdom to recapture the Sands of Time, enchanted sands that transforms anyone it touches into hideous Sand Creatures.
Announced in March 2003, The Sands of Time was released across PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Game Boy Advance and Microsoft Windows between October and November of that year. A version for mobile phones was developed and published in North America by Gameloft in 2004. The Sands of Times received critical acclaim upon released from major gaming websites and award ceremonies, but failed to meet initial sales expectations despite its eventual success.
The success of The Sands of Time led to three sequels, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, in 2004 and 2005, respectively; and later, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, set between The Sands of Time and Warrior Within, released in May of 2010 on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintento Wii and PC. On November 2010 and April 2011, The Sands of Time was included in the PlayStation exclusive HD Collection for The Sands of Time Trilogy alongside The Two Thrones and 'Warrior Within.
- "An unmatched hero wielding powers of mythic proportions, the prince returns to action adventure gaming with gravity-defying acrobatics, ferocious fighting skills and the ability to bend time to fulfill his destiny. Ubisoft's Montreal studio presents THE SANDS OF TIME, a technological breakthrough that will change the face of action adventure gaming forever. Erase the past, behold the future and freeze the present in real time for unlimited gameplay variations; exotic worlds and vast kingdoms uncover the mysteries of a world never before explored in action adventure gaming medieval Persia mythical and deadly holds a staggering array of landscapes and kingdoms to explore and conquer. A sweeping adventure of betrayal and triumph, the epic legends and deadly creatures of mythic Persia burn to life in this suspense filled tale featuring more twists and turns than the labyrinthine palace itself."
- —Official Description
- Prince - The protagonist of The Sands of Time Trilogy, the Prince is a young man when accompanies his father for his first taste of battle. He discovers the Dagger of Time and becomes the one who releases the Sands of Time.
- Farah - The princess of India, she helps the Prince reach the Tower of Dawn to recapture the Sands of Time, determined to see his mistake undone before the Sands of Time can consume everything.
- Vizier - The antagonist of The Sands of Time, the Vizier is a dying man seeking the immortality promised by the Sands of Time. He tricks the Prince into releasing the Sands of Time in a gambit to steal the Dagger of Time from him.
- King Sharaman - The father of the prince and ruler of a kingdom in Persia, Sharaman was deceived by the Vizier and convinced to attack the Maharajah's kingdom. Sharaman is transformed into a Sand Creature by the Sands of Time.
- Sultan of Azad - An ally of Persia and ruler of Azad, the Sultan is one of the victims of the Sands of Time.
- Azad Guard - The last human survivor the Prince encounters, he helps the Prince activate the palace defense systems before succumbing to the Sands of Time.
- Maharajah - A character mentioned only by name, the Maharajah is the father of Farah. He was the ruler of India before it was conquered and ransacked by Persian soldiers led by King Sharaman.
King Sharaman, his son and a company of men are traveling from Persia to visit Azad when they pass through India. While there, Sharaman meets the Maharajah's adviser, the Vizier. The Vizier convinces Sharaman to attack the Maharajah's kingdom on the promise of "honor and glory". When the Vizier kills one of the guardsmen at the gate, he signals Sharaman's company with a flaming arrow.
Sharaman and his army begin their attack on the Maharajah's kingdom before dawn. During the battle the Vizier reminds the Persian king of his "promise" and mentions that the Maharajah's Treasure Vaults lie within the walls of the kingdom. Eager to prove himself, Sharaman's son rides ahead to enter the palace. He is thrown from his horse just as the entrance to the palace crumbles and narrowly misses being crushed by falling debris.
When he comes to, several of his father's men are trying to break down large double doors, but are killed by a catapult attack that barricades the door with more debris. The Prince makes his way to higher ground, traversing broken paths and bridges. He fights his way to the Maharajah's Treasure Vaults with relative ease and is drawn toward a glowing hourglass and a dagger hidden deep inside the treasure vault. Once the Prince is able to reach the very top of the treasure vault, he steals the glowing dagger he spotted on the other side of the vault's wall. Inadvertently, he discovers that the dagger can control time when he witnesses falling debris above him move in reverse, allowing him to dodge it before time is restored to its normal flow. He rejoins his father, who has taken the hourglass as a prize for the Sultan of Azad.
The dying Vizier, who betrayed the Maharajah when he aided King Sharaman in return for a share of the spoils, demands to have the dagger. He was promised his choice of the Maharajah's treasures. To the Vizier's frustration, Sharaman refuses to let him take the Dagger of Time from his son, who captured it first, claiming it is his just reward. Before they depart from the Maharajah's kingdom, his daughter, Farah, is taken prisoner with several other women. During the journey to Azad, the Prince barely notices that he is being observed by a scornful Farah.
At the Palace of Azad, Sharaman presents the spoils of his conquest to his friend the Sultan and uses the Sands of Time as a way to showing gratitude toward the Persia and Azad's alliance. The Sultan, fascinated by the seemingly enchanted sand that glowed in the hourglass, inquired about its nature. The Vizier describes the Sands of Time as a "marvel no living man has seen". He plays on the pride of the Prince and Sharaman when he suggests that the Prince use the Dagger of Time to open the Hourglass and free the Sands of Time. The Prince steps forward and inserts the Dagger inside the Hourglass of Time, ignoring the frantic shouts of Farah, who tried to stop him.
With the Sands freed from the hourglass, the Vizier uses his staff to manipulate the Sands of Time. The Sands begin to transform everyone in the room except the Prince and the Vizier. The Vizier demand that the Prince give him the Dagger so that he can undo what he had done. The Prince refuses and escapes the Sultan's throne room before the entrance is blocked by debris. The Sands of Time makes short work of all living things in the kingdom, transforming into Sand Creatures. Ahead of him, Farah manages to escape the throne room with other members of the Sultan's court, but chooses to remain behind. Farah helps the Prince learn how to use the Dagger of Time and fight his way through the reception hall occupied by Sand Creatures. During the fight, he begins discovering the abilities that come with using the weapon against the Sand Creatures.
Only the Prince, the Vizier, and Farah remain unchanged by the sands because of the Artifacts of Time they carry with them. the Dagger of Time, the Vizier's staff, and Farah's medallion. The Prince slowly learns how to use the Sands to his advantage, utilizing the power of precognition to traverse the ruined palace. He pursues Farah, who refuses to stop whenever he catches up to, until he brought outside the palace and witnesses two Sand Birds carrying the Hourglass of Time to the Tower of Dawn.
He surmises that the Vizier was responsible and planned to kill him with the Dagger of Time. When he reenters the the palace and reaches the ground level, he is pulled aside by Farah, who demands that he relinquish the Dagger of Time to her so she can undo his action. The Prince refuses to trust her, believing she was no better than the Vizier that once worked for her father. When they are attacked by the Scarabs transformed by the Sands of Time, Farah agrees to meet the Prince at the reception hall.
The Prince fights his way through the palace until he reaches the Azad Defense System, where one of the palace Guards has managed to reach without harm. The Prince acts as the guards second and reactivates the palace's defense system. The Azad guard is quickly transformed into a Sand Creature that the Prince fights off. When he eventually makes it back to the reception hall, Farah is fighting off several Sand Creatures, led by his transformed father. Farah and the Prince are able to defeat the transformed soldiers until only his father is left to fight. After the Prince defeats him, he decides to ally himself with Farah to return the Sands of Time to the hourglass by using the Dagger of Time.
For the duration of their journey, the Prince and Farah rely on one another to reach the Tower of Dawn, using their unique abilities to their advantage. The two grow more comfortable in each others company, their rapport becomes less stand-offish and more genuine as they reveal more and more of their selves to each other. The Prince eventually begins to form romantic affection for Farah. He speculates that she feels the same for him after they reunite after being separated for an extended period of time.
The Prince begins to experience visions of Farah stealing the Dagger of Time in the future and begins to question her motives. Farah's determination to reach the Tower of Dawn becomes more apparent and aggressive the higher into the Azad palace they go. Her seemingly cavalier attitude toward the Prince and their surroundings makes him question whether or not she realizes the severity of their situation. When they reach the top of the Tower of Dawn, Farah instructs the Prince on how to recapture the Sands of Time inside the hourglass. However, at the last moment the Prince hesitates and brings up Farah's legitimate reasons to mistrust and hate him.
His hesitation allows the Vizier to use the Sands of Time against them. He knocks the Prince from the Hourglass and attempts to steal the dagger when the Prince chooses to save Farah instead. Before he loses is grip on the column he caught, he lets go and snatches the Dagger of Time from the Viziers grasp. The two fall into a dark tomb and believe they've lost the fight against the Vizier. Traveling in the dark, Farah learns that the Prince doesn't like small spaces and shares with him the story of the secret word, "Kakolookiyam", that her mother said would open a secret doorway.
While the Prince dismisses her story as childish, the Prince finds himself traveling through a "secret passage" in search of Farah, who disappeared shortly after telling him the story. The Prince travels down a winding stairway into a circular room with a fountain in its center. The Prince is repeatedly beckoned to join Farah from a place he cannot find for a time. Eventually, he learns to follow the sounds of water and finds Farah bathing in an illuminated bath. She beckons him to join her in the water and he does, unaware that he was fooled into removing the Dagger and his sword from his person. The Prince joins Farah and the water and the two proceed to make love. When the Prince awakens, he is back in the tomb, questioning whether what he experienced was a dream or real.
He realizes too late that his sword and Dagger of Time were missing along with Farah, who has left the Medallion of Time behind. The Prince acquires another sword and pursues Farah back to the top of the Tower of Dawn, attempting to dissuade her from using what remained of the Sands of Time in the dagger.
When the Prince catches up with her, she is being attacked by Sand Generals, and is knocked over the ledge above the Hourglass of Time. The Prince catches the blade of the Dagger, preventing her from falling. Farah, realizing that he won't let go of the Dagger chooses to do so herself and falls to her death. The Prince fights the last of the Sand Creatures, but realizes too much time has passed to save Farah from the fall that killed her. He steps into the final Sand Vortex and experiences a vision of places he once traveled through by himself and with Farah. When he reaches the bottom, he mourns the loss of Farah before the arrival of the Vizier. The Vizier tries to convince the Prince to take immortality for himself, but the Prince refuses.
In a fit of rage, the Prince uses the Dagger and triggers a "Grand Rewind", returning the Sands to the hourglass. Timeline reverts to the point prior to the attack on the Maharajah's palace. As a result, the relationship between Farah and himself is a memory that only he remembers. However, the Prince still has the Dagger in his possession, even in the past. He heads for the Maharajah's palace and enters Farah's bedroom. Farah, who appears to have awakened from a nightmare, is startled by the appearance of the Prince. When he reveals to her that he posesses the Dagger of Time, she asks him how he was able to get it. The Prince chooses instead warn her of the Vizier's treachery before the Sands are released, retelling what happened in the timeline was undone.
When the Prince reaches the end of his story, the Vizier appears in Farah's bedroom, with the intention killing Farah and blaming her murder on the Prince. Farah retreats to a corner in her room while the Prince fights the Vizier's enchanted doubles. When the Vizier becomes weakened from the exertion of his powers, the Prince is able to kill him. After defeating the Vizier, the Prince offers the Dagger to Farah. She questions why he needed to invent such a fantastic story. Instead of answering her, he kisses her. Farah rejects his kiss and he rewinds time to before he kissed her. The Prince chooses to agree with her, that his account of the Vizier's treachery "was just a story". As he leaves, she asks him for name. Before he departs, the Prince asks her to call him "Kakolookiyam". When he leaves, a dumbfounded Farah realizes that he used her mother's secret word, something only she would know about.
- Main article: Enemies in The Sands of Time
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time combines exploration and combat to create a unique synthesis. Both elements make use of the Prince's acrobatic capability and agility. Throughout much of the game, the player must attempt to traverse the palace by running across walls, ascending or descending chasms by jumping back and forth between walls, avoiding traps, making other types of well-timed leaps, solving puzzles, and using discovered objects to progress. The cultural setting of the game provides many linguistically interesting inscriptions to be found on walls.
During combat, many of the same moves vital to the player in other situations can be put to use to overpower enemies. Such an example is the ability of the Prince to rebound off walls in order to strike enemies decisively. You can also vault over the enemies backs and then finish them off in two hits. The player generally attacks enemies and blocks using a sword, although other objects/factors, such as the Dagger of Time and its time-control abilities eventually prove to be critical to victory.A pivotal gameplay element is the Prince's Dagger of Time. It contains "charges" of the Sands of Time from the hourglass that allow the Prince to control time. The Prince has the ability to "reverse" time and travel up to ten seconds into the past. While using this ability, all sounds and previous action play backwards, and the play environment accurately resets to its previous state. For example, if the Prince was struck by an enemy attack during the rewind period, the health he lost will be given back to him, or a bridge that was destroyed a few seconds ago will repair itself. The Dagger also allows the prince to slow down time, and freeze his enemies, using it as a main-gauche to attack them directly.
The Dagger does not come with an unlimited number of uses. However, defeated enemies leave behind piles of the Sands of Time, which can be absorbed by the Dagger to replenish its stock. The stock can also be replenished by absorbing Sand clouds. This encourages the player to confront and vanquish enemies (as opposed to avoiding them) in order to replenish the power to manipulate time during the more tricky acrobatic sections of the game. It must, however be noted that if the player does not absorb the Sand from a fallen enemy in about five seconds, said enemy will come back to life. Extra Sand glasses can be gained by collecting eight Sand clouds, and extra Sand tanks (which are used for different powers than the Sand glasses) are gained by vanquishing sixteen enemies after having collected a new glass.
Acquisition of Prince of Persia
When the Learning Company and Broderbund was purchased by Mattell in 1999 for $3.6 billion, Mattel suffered a major financial loss from the transaction. Mattel’s CEO at the time of the transaction, Jill Barad was forced out of the company as a consequence on account of “investor outrage”. Mattel passed ownership of the Learning Company in September of 2000 to Gores Technology Group, a private acquisitions firm, for a share of what Gores could get for selling the company to someone else.
Ubisoft, who owned the catalog of the previous Prince of Persia games, expressed an interest in developing a 'Prince of Persia game of their own. However, the Intellectual Property belonged to Jordan Mechner, who was initially disinterested in getting involved with the production of another Prince of Persia game in light of the financial failures of Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame and Prince of Persia 3D.
One of Ubisoft’s smaller subsidiaries, Ubisoft Montreal, was a year into coding Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell when Yannis Mallat, a producer working at the development studio, took an interest in the Prince of Persia IP. Mallat’s team brainstormed ideas for a Prince of Persia game if they were given the opportunity to develop something with the IP. Mallat secured resources that allowed them to put together a series of animation tests at a motion capture studio.
May 2001, Mechner was invited to Ubisoft Montreal by Mallat. Mallat’s team showed him “crude and unpolished” AVI files recorded on their motion capture studio of the Prince performing wall runs and leaping across a gap to grab a nearby ladder. Mechner considered what little Mallat’s team did to be a “brilliant expansion” of the gameplay mechanics used in the original Prince of Persia games that presented him with “new possibilities”. Mallat team was given the greenlight on their Prince of Persia project and Mechner agreed to consult the development team. Mechner wrote both the screenplay and the story for what would become The Sands of Time. He also acted as ADR director for voice actors Yuri Lowenthal (the Prince), Joanna Wasick (Farah) and Barry Dennen (the Vizier). During the summer of 2003, Mechner moved his family to Montreal and signed onto the project as a full time designer for the game.
Officially production on The Sands of Time began June 2001, and at its peak was worked on by a staff of 65 people, internally known as "PoP Team". Development ran parallel to that of Splinter Cell, and as part of their research, the development team read One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of stories originating from the Middle East that Mechner had previously used as inspiration when designing the original Prince of Persia. Over the course of production, the team ran through over 150 different versions before the retail version.
The game's title was thought up by the production team, but the original story built around the title proved impossible to work. The original draft had nine main characters (including the Prince, two love interests, two villains, and two helper characters) representing different political factions, and the setting of the Prince's own palace home instead of in another kingdom. This storyline ultimately impeded other aspects of development, and so was scrapped. In starting over, the team returned to the "The Sands of Time" title and concept. They decided upon four key elements for the game: "Unity of time and place", with the game taking place over twenty-four hours within the palace of Azad; "Acrobatics", referring to the gameplay and how the setting was constructed around this concept; "Combat", with the palace being filled with monsters to give the game and story a fast-paced feeling; and "Rewind", the ability to turn back and manipulate time.
One of the early decisions made by the production team was not to refer to Prince of Persia 3D in any degree in designing the gameplay, instead looking to the 1989 original for reference. Their intent was the capture the original feeling of platforming an adventure in a 3D environment. The Rewind mechanic began as a gameplay wish for the title, surviving the initial rewrite of the story and becoming key to both story and gameplay. The Dagger of Time and the Sands were both born from the need to explain this mechanic in-game. The initial concept was simply using the Dagger to rewind time and dispatch enemies, but its powers were gradually expanded into its current roster.
The main character's acrobatics were designed to be novel to the video game medium, inspired by similar stunts performed in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and The Matrix. A video game which provided inspiration for the acrobatic feats of the Prince was Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. Elements such as using ladders as part of combat, and riding on a magic carpet or a horse were axed early in development. The Rewind function was suggested by Désilets based on experiences playing Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers, where he had wished to rewind after making a mistake rather than restarting the entire level.
Pre-production was originally estimated at ten months, but it ultimately extended to fourteen months. Each time a new action was created for the Prince, it required adjustments to multiple other systems, as leaving them alone would have damaged the game. They also needed to make adjustments to the enemy and partner AI, and they did not have time to polish those systems. All this meant that the debugging started much later than originally scheduled. The Prince had over 780 scripted movements, far more than any other character in the game. This caused problems with creating the movements for other characters.
To make the character movements realistic, the team used motion capture to animate their movements. The game's art director, Raphael Lacoste, did not join the team until July 2002, well into the game's production, resulting in multiple delays in creating the game's environments. This issue was compounded by the need to produce a demo for the 2003 Electronic Entertainment Expo, then to deliver an entire game at the same if not a higher quality than the demo. Each environment needed to work for the Prince's set of movements and abilities: the work needed involved checking each rewind sequence, and each of the Prince's movement in and effect on the environment worked. These issues were compounded by the late delivery of environmental maps. In hindsight, producer Yannis Mallat lamented the fact that they did not have enough time to work out the problems caused by these issues. Despite these problems, other parts of production including play-testing, management of creative tools, and the integrated testing system.
A cited example was the team discovering a tester that was good at finding severe bugs, so included her in one of their testing groups, giving her a development kit she could use to sort out those bugs. This was replicated, and managed to greatly increase the amount of bugs that could be found and fixed. The development team's enthusiasm was also high, which enabled the problems during development to be overcome. During the aftermath of E3, the team considered splitting the game into two parts so they could fit all the desired content, but the idea was dropped. Another element that needed to be cut after the demo was a griffin boss that would appear three times during the Prince's journey.
The game used an updated version of the company's Jade Engine, designed for Beyond Good & Evil. When the team saw the capacities of the Jade Engine, they decided to use it for The Sands of Time. For The Sands of Time, the team made improvements to the engine by adding additional animations between walking and running, enabling smoother character movement. They also made custom animations for the character The engine made editing and fine-tuning the game very easy due to its easy-to-use tools. Using this as a base, they were able to focus on rapid integration of new elements into the game, and were also able to do quick testing and adjustments. The team developed "substance" and "glow" systems, which respectively enabled natural movements of cloth and gave the lightning effects a more "magical" feel. The way the engine was structured (all assets in a single accessible folder) proved problematic when alterations needed to be made or new features added.
The team size meant too many people were accessing the engine and were causing data to be overwritten, files to be corrupted, and the whole system to crash. They attempted to solve the problem using a "data monkey" solution which would allow for simultaneous access, but it came late in development and they did not risk making such a radical change to the system. Instead, they set up a file server to manage check-in times, which could allow for management of access and prioritize critical work.
Mechner worked as the game’s scenario designer and wrote the game's script. While researching for the script, Mechner read a translation of the Shahnameh, an epic poem written by Ferdowsi between the 10th and 11th century. It helped Mechner visualize the new Prince as a more mature character than the original. Despite this, Mecnher felt that the character could not fully shed the "happy-go-lucky" elements of One Thousand and One Nights. In retrospect, Mechner also felt that this inability to resolve this inherent conflict gave the character his charm. Mechner also included specific references in the Prince's dialogue to stories from the Shahnameh.
The story and the Prince were created for newcomers to the series. The narrative of The Sands of Time was focused mistakes and second chances, while an unstated anti-war theme was also included by Mechner and showcased in the game's opening level. Mechner created the Dagger of Time as a gameplay and narrative device within the four core concepts created by the team. Its acquisition by the Prince was directly inspired by the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark, which had previously inspired the portrayal of the Prince in the original Prince of Persia. The palace of Azad was crafted to be the Prince's "playground", while some scenes developed the Prince's character (the opening attack on the Maharaja's palace, activating Azad's traps on the instructions of a deranged guard) were deliberately meant to be morally dubious to the player while increasing empathy with the character.
Mechner's main goal for The Sands of Time was keeping the narrative simple. Pre-rendered and in-game cinematics were short, allowing as much of the story as possible into the gameplay, the latter consisting primarily of platforming, linear puzzles and combat that empathized use of the Prince’s time powers and acrobatics. He also aimed to mix narrative and gameplay genres that might normally clash with one-another.
The three main, the Prince, the Vizier and the Prince’s companion, Farah, were the central characters of the narrative. Farah and the Vizier were characters impacted by the Prince's actions, acting as parallels of the positive and negative elements of Prince’s character. The Prince's father, Sharaman, and the Sultan of Azad, were lost authority figures that added to burden of the Prince's actions as humans transformed into Sand Creatures. The Artifacts of Time protected Farah, the Prince and the Vizier from the Sands of Time. They would play marginally larger roles in later games produced without the supervision of Mechner or the Sands of Time director, Patrice Désilets.
The Prince's narration was difficult for Mechner to integrate into gameplay. It needed to be written to work on two levels: first to be understandable for first-time players, and to gain greater significance upon future playthroughs. The narration also served to give gentle hints to the player, and expand upon the setting and add depth to the experience.
Mechner referenced 1940s version of The Thief of Bagdad, the works of Edgar Allan Poe, films such as Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard. The Prince's interactions with Farah were also an important factor. As part of the character interaction, Farah was deliberately designed not to be a perfect archer, sometimes hitting the Prince if he strayed into her line of fire. Only twenty percent of what Ubisoft Montreal intended to use for Farah made the final product. Many of the features planned for Farah were removed to meet shipping schedules.
ADR and Sound Effects
For the sound effects, the team worked with sound company Dane Tracks to create most of the game's sound effects, with the rest being done in Montreal. To make the enemies in the game stand out, mixing an organic and evil feeling with whispering sounds, rather than using sound effects similar to zombies. Mechner supervised the game's voice recording. One of the unconventional choices made by the team was not to halt gameplay during in-game dialogue, meaning players could miss large portions of character iteration. In addition to story-based dialogue and banter, context-specific dialogue was written for certain situations. Over one thousand lines of dialogue were written, though over half of them were cut. To help with voice recording, the recording team created a graph to help the actors playing the Prince and Farah time their exchanges correctly.
Aside from some exceptions which played in sequence, all comments made by Farah when the Prince did a specific thing were stand-alone responses. The Prince was voiced by Yuri Lowenthal, whose performance proved popular and would return to voice the character in future games set after The Sands of Time. Speaking in a 2008 interview, Lowenthal felt "that [he] in a way originated that role".
Ports to other Systems
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was developed as a multi-platform game, made available to all four sixth generation consoles during its initial release in November of 2003 and the PC December 2003. Each version of The Sands of Time varied depending on the console. Graphically speaking, the Xbox and Nintendo GameCube featured higher resolution textures opposed to the PlayStation 2 release, which featured low resolution textures. The GameCube version of The Sands of Time featured muffled or low volume settings even when modified by the player. The PC port of The Sands of Time was generally considered the best version of the game to purchase with regard to controls, audio, framerate and visual fidelity (depending on the hardware of the user).
Special features for the PlayStation 2, GameCube and Xbox versions of The Sands of Time included the original Prince of Persia plus the "Secret Level" of the game, a remake of the first dungeon level from the original Prince of Persia. The Xbox version of The Sands of Time is the only console version to include Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame with the original game. The secret level of the game and the original Prince of Persia games were accessible using cheat codes. The Xbox and GameCube versions of The Sands of Time featured a "Making of" featurettes that delved briefly into the development process of game.
- Main article: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (GBA)
The GameBoy Advanced port of The Sands of Time was developed by Ubisoft Montreal alongside the console versions of the game. The port featured the same plot and story of the console and PC versions of game, minimized to fit Nintendo's handheld console.
- Main article: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Mobile)
The mobile version of The Sands of Time was developed by Gameloft and published by Ubisoft. Released in 2004, The mobile version of the game featured gameplay modified to suit mobile phones and vastly different environment settings and combat.
Following the initial "end" of The Sands of Time Trilogy, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and the following three games in the series were featured in two "compilation" releases for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and PC. The first, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Trilogy was initially released a year following the release of Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, October 27, 2006 in Europe. It was later released in the North America, January 12, 2009 on the PC. November 21, 2008, all three games later were released on the Valve Corporation platform, Steam.
The second, Prince of Persia Trilogy (HD Collection) also included all three console games as a part of PlayStation 3's Classics HD collection. The remastered collection was released on November 19, 2010 on Blu-ray in PAL regions. It was later released in North America as downloadable titles only for the PlayStation Network's store November 16, 2010 while the other two games followed in December 2010. The Blu-ray version was originally planned for a March 22, 2011 release, but the collection then ended up being delayed until April 19, 2011.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was received with critical acclaim. Edge gave the game a score of 9 out of 10, saying that, despite difficulty spikes caused by respawning enemies, "the game cannot be commended highly enough". IGN’s Matt Casamassina found the entire experience enjoyable, saying that "Whether you're a diehard Prince of Persia fan or somebody with a mild interest in action-adventures, The Sands of Time is a must own -- a soon-to-be-classic worthy of a permanent place in your collection". 1UP.com, while pointing out the camera control as "tricky", said that the game "will make your chest explode if you've got a heart condition (in a good way, of course)". GameSpot's Greg Kasavin called it "a game that can be recommended wholeheartedly". Both Eurogamer and Official PlayStation Magazine positively compared the game's aesthetics and presentation to Ico. Francesca Reyes of Official Xbox Magazine gave the game a good review, praising the story and general gameplay, but finding the combat difficult at times and lack of new skills. In closing, she praised the game's lasting appeal: "When the whole thing is over, it's perfectly timed to leave you wanting more. It's a stunning and rare achievement that makes you feel happy to be a gamer." Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu gave the PS2 version a good review, saying that the action was smooth and challenging, bearing similarities to the original Prince of Persia, and one reviewer found the Prince "colourful".
The PC version shared much of the console version's praise, but the controls and responsiveness of the camera caused criticism. The Game Boy Advance version garnered lower scores than the console and PC versions due to its scaled-down gameplay and presentation, but was still generally praised as a competent port of the game. Nintendo Power said that "Acrobatic moves and inventive traps have never been as free-flowing as they are in [The Sands of Time]". Reviewing the mobile version, IGN reviewer Levi Buchanan was impressed by the company's adaptation of the console game's basic actions and atmosphere, giving it a score of 9.5 out of 10. 1UP reviewer Corey Padnos was pleased with the Prince's acrobatic performance and the game's general performance, while lamenting the lack of the time-based mechanics of the main games and the lack of plot.
The game was named Editor's Choice by GameSpot and IGN. At the 2003 Game Critics Awards, the game was awarded as "Best Action/Adventure Game". The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, at its meeting in 2004, recognized the game as "Console Game of the Year", "Console Platform Action Adventure Game of the Year", and "Computer Action/Adventure Game of the Year". It was also awarded for "Outstanding Innovation in Computer Gaming", "Outstanding Achievement in Game Design", "Outstanding Achievement in Visual Engineering", "Outstanding Achievement in Animation", and "Outstanding Achievement in Game Play Engineering". At the 2004 Game Developers Choice Awards, the game won the "Excellence in Game Design" and "Excellence in Programming" awards. It was also nominated in the "Game of the Year" and "Excellence in Visual Arts" categories.
Official Nintendo Magazine ranked it the 86th best game available on Nintendo platforms. The staff praised the developer's successful transition from 2D to 3D. IGN and Edge both named it among their 100 greatest games of all time in 2005 and 2007 respectively. Computer and Video Games placed it in its list of the 101 best PC games ever.
During its North American debut, The Sands of Time suffered from poor sales. December, the PlayStation 2 version had sold 218,000, the Xbox version 128,000, and the GameCube version 85,000. Its combined sales since release at that time totaled 272,000 (PS2), 172,000 (Xbox), and 100,000 (GameCube). It was speculated that its sales were negatively affected by the concurrent release of Beyond Good & Evil, alongside other prominent releases at the time. In response to this, Ubisoft offered copies of their other games free with purchases of The Sands of Time, providing a boost to sales.
As of 2006, the game has apparently sold 700,000 units, bringing an estimated revenue of $24 million. During its week of release in Japan, the game reached seventh place in the charts, selling 14,000 units. This was noted as being high for a western game released in Japan. By the end of 2004, it had sold 26,116 units. In Europe, it was among the top ten best-selling games across main territories, selling over two million units.
- Main article: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Soundtrack)
A soundtrack album for the game, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Original Soundtrack), was released in Japan in October 20, 2004 by Scitron Digital Content. Tracks from the game were included in an album featuring from both The Sands of Time and its two sequels, titled Prince of Persia: The Official Trilogy Soundtrack, the album was released by Ubisoft Entertainment on December 1, 2005.
- Main article: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (film)
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was adapted to make a film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer for Buena Vista Pictures. The initial script was written by Jordan Mechner with subsequent drafts by Jeffrey Nachmanoff.
The film was released 28 May, 2010. When discussing the adaptation, Mechner said, "Rather than do a straight beat-for-beat adaptation of the new videogame, we're taking some cool elements from the game and using them to craft a new story - much as 'Pirates' [of the Caribbean] did with the theme park ride".
- In Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow there is a train level where magazines featuring Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time are scattered across the level.