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Prince of Persia (series)

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Prince collage

From Left to right, four carnations of the titular Prince of Persia character: The Prince (1989 game); The Prince (Sands of Time); Dastan (Sands of Time film); The Prince (2008 Reboot). Collage created by Ubisoft Reflections designer, Drew James.[1]

Prince of Persia is a video game franchise created by Jordan Mechner, originally published by Brøderbund, then the Learning Company, and currently Ubisoft. The franchise is built around a series of action-adventure games focused on various incarnations of the eponymous prince. The first game in the series was designed by Mechner after the success of his previous game with Brøderbund, Karateka.

The title was successful enough to spawn two sequels: the series has been rebooted twice since its acquisition by Ubisoft, and has been successful enough to warrant a film adaptation, penned in part by Mechner and released by Walt Disney Pictures in 2010.[2]

Though Mechner has been involved with the series in varying capacities throughout its history, the games themselves have been developed and published by several different companies. The first two games in the series, Prince of Persia and Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame, were developed by Brøderbund for the Apple II. Prince of Persia 3D, the first to use 3D computer graphics, was developed by Red Orb Entertainment and published by The Learning Company on PC, and developed by Avalanche Software and published by Mattel Interactive on Sega Dreamcast. French-based video game company Ubisoft began developing and publishing the series in 2003 with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and so far have been the most prolific of any company in bringing out new games in the series.


Prince of Persia Trilogy

Prince of Persia (SNES)

Prince of Persia Logo for the 1989 game.

The first game in the series, simply titled Prince of Persia, was created by Jordan Mechner after the success of Karateka. Drawing from multiple general sources of inspiration, including the Arabian Nights stories,[3] and films like Raiders of the Lost Ark[4] and The Adventures of Robin Hood,[5] the protagonist's character animation was created using a technique called Rotoscope, with Mechner using his brother as the model for the titular prince.[6] Despite the success of the game, Mechner enrolled in New York University's film department, producing an award-winning short film during his time there, before finally returning to Brøderbund four years later to make a sequel to the original game.[7]

Production for the game, Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame, was led by Brian Eheler, the first game's director, and Sherman Dickman, while Mechner acted as a creative consultant. The game, like its predecessor, received critical acclaim and high sales, but the company fell on financial difficulties, leading to its purchase by The Learning Company,[8] which later merged with US gaming company Mattel.[9] On top of that, Mechner's next game for Brøderbund, a point-and-click called The Last Express, was a financial failure, resulting in Mechner withdrawing from the company.[7] Development for the third game in the series, Prince of Persia 3D, was given to Red Orb Entertainment, a former subsidiary of Brøderbund, with Mechner again working as writer and co-designer.[7] The game was released in 1999, before the main bug checks could be carried out,[10] and was a critical and commercial disappointment.[7] The event resulted in the Learning Company selling its entertainment division to Ubisoft, the assets of which included the Prince of Persia franchise.[11]

Prince of Persia Remakes

There have been a number of Java ME mobile games developed by Gameloft, some based on older PC or console titles with 2D graphics and others loosely based on contemporary games but with 2D graphics and different gameplay due to technology constraints. Gameloft has also developed some ports for both the iPhone and the iPad.[12]

Specifically, the company has developed HD remakes of the original Prince of Persia in 2007,[13] and its sequel The Shadow and the Flame in July 2013.[14]

List of Games

Universe Name Type Release date Platform
Prince of Persia Trilogy Prince of Persia (1989) Game, 2D platform October 3, 1989 See: Ports
Prince of Persia Trilogy Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame Game, 2D platform 1993 PC, Mac, SNES
Prince of Persia Trilogy Prince of Persia 3D Game, 3D action-adventure August 31, 1999 PC, Sega Dreamcast
Remake Prince of Persia Classic Game, 3D action-adventure June 13, 2007 XBox Live, PlayStation Network
Remake Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame Game, 3D action-adventure July 25, 2013 iOS, Android
??? Prince of Persia: Harem Adventures Game, 3D action-adventure May 1, 2003[15] Mobile Phones

The Sands of Time Trilogy

Sands of Time Logo

Prince of Persia Logo for The Sands of Time Trilogy.

Mechner, who owned the Prince of Persia IP, was brought into work with Ubisoft on a reboot of the franchise, eventually titled Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, although he was originally wary after his experience with the last two Prince of Persia games.[16] The team they worked with were also working on Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: their aim with the new Prince of Persia was to breathe new life into the action-adventure genre.[17][18] The Sands of Time was an instant success, although it suffered from lower-than expected sales, leading to the team behind it reworking the aesthetic formula.

Mechner did not take part the production of the next game, Warrior Within, and he later commented on finding the dark atmosphere and heightened level of violence unappealing.[19] The changes also provoked mixed reactions from critics, but sales for the series increased and a third game, eventually titled The Two Thrones, went into production.[20] For The Two Thrones, the developers and artists tried to strike a balance between the lighter fantasy tones of Sands of Time, and the hyper-violent tone of Warrior Within.[21]

The another handheld game in the series was developed alongside and released in the same year as The Two Thrones for the Nintendo DS. It was titled Battles of Prince of Persia, and was a real-time strategy game set between Sands of Time and Warrior Within.[22] It received mediocre reviews from critics.[23][24]

In November 2008, Ubisoft revealed that they were working on a new entry in the franchise,[25] which turned out to be The Forgotten Sands, an interqual filling in some of the narrative gap between Sands of Time and Warrior Within.[26] The game was released in May 2010, timed to tie in with the film adaptation of the first game in the Sands of Time subseries, also titled The Sands of Time.[27]

PlayStation 3 Port

The Prince of Persia Trilogy (known as Prince of Persia Trilogy 3D on the remastered collection's title screen) is a collection of The Sands of Time trilogy released on PlayStation 3 as part of the Classics HD range.[28] The collection includes The Sands of Time, Warrior Within and The Two Thrones, all previously released on sixth-generation video game consoles and Microsoft Windows. The games were remastered in HD for the PlayStation 3 with 3D and PlayStation Network Trophy support on one Blu-ray Disc. The remastered collection was released on November 19, 2010 on Blu-ray in PAL regions. The release marks the first Classics HD title to not be published by Sony Computer Entertainment.

In North America, the three games were originally released separately as downloadable only titles on the PlayStation Store. The first, The Sands of Time, was released on November 16, 2010 while the other two games followed in December 2010.[29] The Blu-ray version was to be released in North America on March 22, 2011[30] but the collection then ended up being delayed until April 19, 2011.

List of Games

Universe Name Type Release date Platform
The Sands of Time trilogy Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Game, 3D action-adventure November 6, 2003 PlayStation 2, XBox, Gamecube, PC, Steam
Ports Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Game, 3D action-adventure October 28, 2003[31] Gameboy Advance
The Sands of Time trilogy Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands Game, 3D action-adventure May 18, 2010 PlayStation 3, PSP, Xbox 360, PC, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo NDS, Steam
The Sands of Time trilogy Battles of Prince of Persia Game, turn-based tactics December 6, 2005 Nintendo DS
The Sands of Time trilogy Prince of Persia: Warrior Within Game, 3D action-adventure December 2, 2004 PlayStation 2, XBox, Gamecube, Gameboy Advance, PC, PlayStation Portable
Ports Prince of Persia: Revelations Game, 3D action-adventure December 6, 2005 PlayStation Portable
The Sands of Time trilogy Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones Game, 3D action-adventure December 1, 2005 PlayStation 2, XBox, Gamecube, Gameboy Advanced, PC, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo Wii, Steam
Ports Prince of Persia: Rival Swords Game, 3D action-adventure April 3-5, 2007 PlayStation Portable, Nintendo Wii
Collections Prince of Persia Trilogy Game, 3D action-adventure October 16, 2006 (UK); January 12, 2009 (US) PlayStation 2, PC
Collections Prince of Persia Trilogy (HD Collection) Game, 3D action-adventure November 19, 2010 (UK); April 19, 2011 (NA) PlayStation 3, PlayStation Network

2008 Reboot

Prince of Persia 2008

Prince of Persia (2008) reboot logo.

In 2006, concept designs surfaced hinting at another entry in the franchise.[32] The game, titled Prince of Persia was finally officially unveiled in 2008, with Ubisoft marketing it as a reboot of the franchise, with its level and combat design harking back to the original 1989 game.[33] The was released December 2, 2008, receiving mixed reviews from most video game outlets and decent sales.[34]

Alongside the main game, Ubisoft Casablanca developed a direct sequel for the Nintendo DS, Prince of Persia: The Fallen King.[35] The game was released alongside Prince of Persia, and received mixed reviews.[36][37][38][20]

List of Games

Universe Name Type Release date Platform
2008 Reboot Prince of Persia: Stories And Secrets Digital storybook October 17, 2008 Penny Arcade.com
2008 Reboot Prince of Persia (2008) Game, 3D action-adventure December 2, 2008 PlayStation 3, XBox 360, PC, Steam
2008 Reboot Prince of Persia: The Fallen King Game, 2D platform December 2, 2008 Nintendo DS
2008 Reboot Prince of Persia: Epilogue Game, 2D platform March 5, 2009 PlayStation 3, XBox 360

2008 Graphic Novel

Main article: Prince of Persia: The Graphic Novel

Jordan Mechner finished writing the story for a graphic novel in 2007. The novel was written by A.B. Sina, and illustrated by Alex Puvilland and Pham Le Uyen. It was released by First Second Books in autumn 2008.[39][40] The story jumps to and from the 9th and 13th centuries, following the story of a young girl named Shirin and a prince named Guilan. Although it belongs to the franchise the plot is not related to any of the games or that of the 2010 film.[41]

The Sands of Time Film

Prince-of-persia-the-sands-of-time-film-logo

The Sands of Time film logo

Main article: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (film)

March 2004, Jerry Bruckheimer sought to gain feature film rights to the 2003 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time game under the banner of Walt Disney Pictures.[42] Jordan Mechner was hired by Executive Producer John August to write a screenplay. Another script, by Jeffrey Nachmanoff was commissioned as well. Merchner originally wanted an animated film, but accepted the terms of Disney and Bruckheimer's deal.[43] The film was officially announced in 2007 as a major attraction for Walt Disney Pictures[44], following the announcement that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire director Mike Newell would helm the film.

The announcement that Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton were cast as Dastan and Tamina was met with almost unanimous disagreement from the online community for whitewashing Iranian characters by casting white actors for the roles.[45] The Disney launched a merchandising gambit with LEGO[46] and the film was officially released May 28, 2010 after being postponed in light of the release of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in 2009 and a request to refine film's special effects. It was met with mixed reviews. Though it out-grossed other major video game films such as Simon West's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and Paul W.S. Anderson's Mortal Kombat (1995) on a worldwide scale, it failed to gross budget in the United States. The Sands of Time was meant to be the beginning of a seven film franchise.

Prince of Persia: Before the Sandstorm

Main article: Prince of Persia: Before The Sandstorm

Prince Persia: Before the Sandstorm is a 2010 one-shot comic book that serves as a direct prequel to the feature film and thus explains the motives and backgrounds of some characters. It was published by Disney press and written by Jordan Mechner with illustrations by Todd McFarlane, Nico Henrichon, David Lopez and Bernard Chang.

External links

References

  1. Ubisoft Engineer Appears To Be Teasing The Next Entry In Prince Of Persia Series
  2. Prince of Persia trailer released
  3. IGN Presents: The History of Prince of Persia (page 1)
  4. Gamasutra Features: Game Design: Theory & Practice Second Edition: Interview with Jordan Mechner
  5. Classic Game Postmortem: PRINCE OF PERSIA
  6. October 20, 1985 | jordanmechner.com
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 IGN Presents: The History of Prince of Persia (page 2)
  8. The Learning Co. buys Broderbund
  9. Mattel/ The Learning Co. in $3.8B merger
  10. Prince of Persia Legacy: poplegacy.com
  11. The Learning Company Is Profitable 75 Days After Purchase From Mattel; Agrees To Sell Its Non-Core Entertainment Division To Ubi Soft Entertainment
  12. 'Prince of Persia Retro' Arrives on the App Store as a Universal App for a Dollar
  13. 1UP Classic
  14. Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame hitting Android, iOS later this month
  15. Prince of Persia: Harem Adventures
  16. Presents: The History of Prince of Persia (page 3)
  17. IGN: New Prince of Persia Announced
  18. New Prince of Persia game announced - PlayStation 2 News at GameSpot
  19. They Did What To My Game?!
  20. 20.0 20.1 Presents: The History of Prince of Persia (page 4)
  21. Painting a Prince
  22. Battles of Prince of Persia
  23. Battles of Prince of Persia DS
  24. Battles of Prince of Persia for DS
  25. Ubisoft Announces New Prince of Persia Title
  26. Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands Announced
  27. Prince of Persia confirmed for May
  28. [1]
  29. Prince of Persia HD Titles Coming to North America
  30. Splinter Cell Trilogy sneaking into shops in late March]
  31. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (GBA)
  32. Ubi's Booby: New Games Leaked
  33. Ubidays 2008: Interview Part 1 HD
  34. Ubisoft reports third quarter 2008-09 sales (original link)
  35. Ubisoft Announces Prince of Persia: The Fallen King™ Exclusively for Nintendo DS™
  36. Prince of Persia: The Fallen King review at IGN
  37. Prince of Persia: The Fallen King review at GameSpot
  38. Prince of Persia: The Fallen King review at 1UP
  39. Q&A: Mechner Talks Prince Of Persia Movie, XBLA Remake
  40. Our Giant Guide To Video Game Comics
  41. Creator Jordan Mechner Explains The 'Prince Of Persia' Universe, And Where The New Graphic Novel Sits
  42. Jerry Preps for Prince of Persia
  43. SDCC 08: Mechner Talks Persia Movie
  44. Hollywood films' dating game
  45. 25 Characters Hollywood Whitewashed - Complex Magazine
  46. Disney and LEGO Group Announce Strategic Licensing Relationship

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