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Posts : 210
Registration date : 2014-01-23
Age : 27
Localization : Spain

House of Dreams: Prince of Persia

on Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:56 pm

Around the time Splinter Cell started development, Ubisoft made another important, intelligent purchase.

In 2001, Mattel and The Learning Company sold the creative rights to Myst, Chessmaster, and Prince of Persia to Ubisoft. When Yannis Mallat found out about the acquisition, he approached his boss directly and demanded, “I want Prince of Persia. I want Prince of Persia. I want Prince of Persia! I won't move, I won't leave your office, until I have Prince of Persia.”

He got Prince of Persia.

Mallat’s obsession with the series stretched back to the 1989 original, a 2D side-scroller about a Persian prince rescuing the kidnapped love of his life. Climbing walls, dodging traps, and sword-fighting guards made up the most of its gameplay, which featured exceptional animation. Those values -- relatable motivation, athletic traversal, and lifelike movement -- drove the direction of a 3D reboot. With the help a creative director named Patrice Désilets and a tight-knit team built by Mallat, Ubisoft Montreal got to work on Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

Seven people -- a collective of artists, animators, engineers, and designers -- started the Prince of Persia project in May, 2001. With that small team, Mallat helped define the character’s movements and behaviors with a gameplay prototype. They wouldn’t finalize any level designs unless explorable areas suited the elegant climbing, swinging, and wall-running of the hero.

Around July, Ubisoft Montreal showed their mock-up project to Prince of Persia’s original creator, Jordan Mechner, who retained partial rights to the property. Mechner fell head-over-heels in love with the project, and full-on production began on Prince of Persia.

Ubisoft Montreal adopted the Jade Engine, which Ubisoft’s Montpellier studio was using to power its publisher’s other major 2003 release, Beyond Good & Evil. The Prince of Persia team took advantage of Jade Engine’s flexibility to integrate tech from other Ubisoft games, including Splinter Cell, while giving the title character more than 750 unique animations -- a true accomplishment at the time.

Jordan Mechner joined Sands of Time as a consultant, but quickly signed on to write the story, told during narrated gameplay as well as in cutscenes, before joining Ubisoft Montreal full-time as a designer. He's shared his screenplay publicly.

At the 2003 Electronic Entertainment Expo, Mallat’s team debuted The Sands of Time to the world. The nimble prince’s acrobatic exploration, sword-fighting skills, and ability to manipulate time with a magic dagger, swept critics and consumers off their feet. The showcase proved to the team they had something special. It also struck them with paralyzing fear -- living up to these new expectations terrified Ubisoft Montreal.

Fear is a powerful motivator.

“It became an underdog success story of 2003,” Jordan Mechner later wrote. He was right. The Sands of time won numerous awards. It appeared on the French postage stamp. Ubisoft sold more than 14 million copies.
Beyond Good & Evil released the same month. It was an abysmal financial failure.

The Sands of Time received many sequels, but none achieved the sense of historical wonder as the original. For that matter, the dramatic shift of tone in Warrior Within, its direct follow-up, corrupted what fans loved. Modern-day heavy metal music replaced the atmospheric melodies of the ancient Iran. Without explanation, the poetic and humble prince transformed into a spiteful and profane bastard. Warrior Within applied its anger to existing gameplay mechanics as well, although the newfound aggression fueled combat and traversal in different, arguably beneficial ways.

The third game, called The Two Thrones, evolved existing gameplay systems as well, but once again abandoned the human element that drew players to Sands of Time. Almost inexplicably, a “Dark Prince” persona overwhelmed the beloved hero, giving him more violent abilities, a decidedly evil Mr. Hyde demeanor, and the deeply unpleasant look of a demon.

As action games go, Warrior Within and Two Thrones are still totally competent expansions of what Sands of Time’s gameplay systems did right. Neither captured the essence of what Mallat and Désilets’ team accomplished in 2003, however, which makes them contentious sequels even today.

Following Sands of Time, Ubisoft decided on numerous attempts to reboot Prince of Persia. In 2008, Ubisoft Montreal released a game simply titled Prince of Persia. It changed the character and art style, and focused on exciting navigation and exploration over combat. It was successful enough for a sequel, which was canceled shortly after production began. This cancellation followed the demise of a Prince of Persia game set in the modern day.

Alongside its 2008 Prince of Persia, Ubisoft started production on a tie-in to its Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time film, a Disney movie loosely based on the infamous video game trilogy. This is where things get really messy.

Disney delayed the Sands of Time movie, which derailed development of the movie-to-video game adaptation. This gave Ubisoft Montreal more time to make a better game, but the publishing side wanted to get the game out the door as soon as possible. As such, the Sands of Time movie-game team of nearly 100 people shifted creative directions to make its own new Prince of Persia game. Called The Forgotten Sands, this 2010 release served two purposes. First, it was intended to be yet another reboot for the franchise. Forgotten Sands was also supposed to be a return to form. As such, Ubisoft Montreal made it a sequel to the 2003 Sands of Time game.

Forgotten Sands received respectable critical acclaim, and is, as of press time, the last Prince of Persia game. Mallat says the franchise isn’t going anywhere, however. It’s just paused. “I’m not scared at all for Prince of Persia fans,” he says.

Creative director Patrice Désilets wasn’t involved in those post-2003 sequels, however, as he was working on his own Prince of Persia reboot following Sands of Time’s success. In January 2004, while envisioning what next-generation console hardware could do for the franchise, Désilets arrived at a new concept with a tiny team of 12.

Prince of Persia: Assassins remained in the Middle East, but zeroed in on an order of Muslim assassins from the 12th century -- the Hashshashin struck fear into their enemies with public executions. The player, as a member of this society, acted as the bodyguard of a young Persian prince. Ambitions grew larger. With the popularity of online multiplayer soaring, Ubisoft Montreal wondered what cooperative multiplayer could do for Prince of Persia. In a prototype demonstration, built after six months of work, Prince of Persia: Assassins showcased a white-robed hero stabbing Templar knights, tussling with civilians, and escaping a market on horseback with the aid of another assassin.

Murder, multiplayer, hitmen, and horseback riding didn’t fit the philosophies of Prince of Persia at all, never mind that you wouldn’t play as the prince. But Prince of Persia: Assassins held enormous potential.

“At that point,” former designer Philippe Morin says, “it was obvious to everybody it wasn’t going to be Prince of Persia.” In a risky move, Ubisoft turned the project into an uncertain new brand. Morin, Mallat and Désilets’ new game shed the reliable, beloved Prince of Persia name.

And so, Assassin’s Creed was born.

Source: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
And this comes with a huge fail from Ubisoft. When they published the link on their facebook page, the picture showing was from Assassin´s Creed.

"And so, Assassin´s Creed was born" -> And so, Ubisoft started their path to make the PoP fans hate them with passion.


They say knowledge is power, but I say it is a poison
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