Prince of Persia
24th Aug 2005 | 15:38
We've already slung our first impressions of Ubisoft's as-yet-unsubtitled concluding chapter to the Prince of Persia saga your way - now stand back and raise your hands in mock astonishment as we bring you further adventures in pre-release info-dumping.
PC Zone recently sat down (we assume - we're not really privvy to their personal interviewing preferences) to talk to PoP's executive producer, Yanni Mallat. Read onward for the lowdown on the Prince's transformation from charmingly confused English gent to epic conqueror of all. Oh, and you can find out some gameplay details in here somewhere as well.
Going all the way back to The Sands Of Time, why was the decision made to make the Prince such an unorthodox (and polite) hero?
Yannis Mallat: Well, back then the Prince was a young and fairly immature hero, who inadvertently unleashed a terrible weapon and had to face the consequences of his actions. We felt that this was a perfect start for the Prince's adventures and his evolution throughout the Sands Of Time trilogy. From a young and naïve Prince in The Sands Of Time, to a mature and seasoned warrior in Warrior Within and finally, now, to a true epic Hero.
POP fans seem to be split in two - there are those who adore the charm of The Sands Of Time, and those who prefer the high-octane Warrior Within. Is the introduction of the two Princes of POP3 aimed at bridging the divide?
Yannis Mallat: Our aim for POP3 is to make it the climax of the Sands Of Time trilogy - as exciting as Warrior Within and as unique as The Sands Of Time. But we really, really don't want to just serve up the two games lumped together. Everything in the game will reflect this from the introduction of the Dark Prince to the new urban environment setting. We reckon that it'll please all the fans of the POP series...
So how does the introduction of the two princes affect the core gameplay?
Yannis Mallat: The Prince and the Dark Prince have two very different fighting styles, and we've built on the freeform fighting of Warrior Within to create two ways of fighting that reflect their distinctive personalities, and make the most of their amazing athletic capabilities. First off, the Prince himself uses the Dagger of Time as his primary weapon, but he can still pick up a secondary weapon from defeated enemies. The Dark Prince, meanwhile, uses the Dagger alongside the Daggertail, a powerful chain-like mid-range weapon with which he'll be able to perform spectacular combos.
Yeah. When we saw the game running we were blown away by the Daggertail. Is it based on a real-life weapon? Or is it just the product of a twisted mind?
Yannis Mallat: No, the Daggertail isn't based on a real-life weapon. Although it is probably true that we have some twisted minds on the team.
Seeing as much of the game appears to be on both the streets and the rooftops of Babylon, is it fair to say that most of the action takes place in recognisably 'real' settings, rather than the more fantastic and stylised towers and dungeons of Warrior Within?
Yannis Mallat: Babylon is a city full of contrasts. Everything from mighty palaces to lowly sewers, from a lighter 'high city' of wealth and prosperity to the darker 'low city', home to the poor and decrepit. Our ambition is to deliver the organic feeling of an Oriental city, and in that respect, the pre-production of the game was done by Ubisoft's studio in Casablanca. This allowed us to draw on the daily life of the team to lend some authenticity to the environments. Then again, Babylon will also have a fair amount of fantastic elements - such as the Tower of Babel.
Does the re-introduction of the 'storytelling' narrative structure signal an attempt to get back to the emotional depth of The Sands Of Time?
Yannis Mallat: POP3 storytelling will be different from its two predecessors. There will be both voice-over narration and dramatic, memorable cinematic moments. We'll also be placing more emphasis on overheard conversations - things characters say to one another when they don't realise the Prince is around. This will enable us to bring back a lot of the wit and humour that was in The Sands Of Time.
Everyone has a favourite Prince Of Persia move. Mine is cleaving zombies in half from behind, or perhaps spinning around a pole. Which is yours?
Yannis Mallat: Mine has got to be the counter-retrieve. You know, when you block and retrieve at the last second before your swords clash? Also, countering the big enemies several times in a row back in The Sands Of Time was a pure joy.
I'm not sure if you know this, but the ending of The Sands Of Time, in which the Prince covers up his unwanted snog with Farah through time-trickery, was included as one of our top 50 moments in gaming. How did you come up with it?
Yannis Mallat: The stolen kiss gag is a good one all right, mainly because it's simple and unexpected at the same time. As far as I remember, as a team we were fantasizing as what we could do with the Dagger of Time and its power to rewind time. And if you put eight guys in a room brainstorming on a topic like that, then trust me... you end up with a stolen kiss gag. If not more.