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.
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
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, and films like Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Adventures of Robin Hood, the protagonist's character animation was created using a technique called Rotoscope, with Mechner using his brother as the model for the titular prince. 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.
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, which later merged with US gaming company Mattel. 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. 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. The game was released in 1999, before the main bug checks could be carried out, and was a critical and commercial disappointment. The event resulted in the Learning Company selling its entertainment division to Ubisoft, the assets of which included the Prince of Persia franchise.
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.
List of Games
|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||Mobile Phones|
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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. It received mediocre reviews from critics.
In November 2008, Ubisoft revealed that they were working on a new entry in the franchise, which turned out to be The Forgotten Sands, an interqual filling in some of the narrative gap between Sands of Time and Warrior Within. 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.
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. 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. The Blu-ray version was to be released in North America on March 22, 2011 but the collection then ended up being delayed until April 19, 2011.
List of Games
|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||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|
In 2006, concept designs surfaced hinting at another entry in the franchise. 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. The was released December 2, 2008, receiving mixed reviews from most video game outlets and decent sales.
Alongside the main game, Ubisoft Casablanca developed a direct sequel for the Nintendo DS, Prince of Persia: The Fallen King. The game was released alongside Prince of Persia, and received mixed reviews.
List of Games
|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|
Over the past decade, the series has been relatively dormant. In 2013, Yannis Mallat, CEO of Ubisoft Montreal, said that the franchise was being "paused", saying that "As soon as we have something to show, we will". In the following months, Ubisoft confirmed that they were either planning or considering next-gen entries in multiple franchises, including Prince of Persia. In a January 2018 interview, Jordan Mechner confirmed he was trying to revive the series.
In a September 2018 interview with Game Informer, Ubisoft CEO Serge Hascoet, when asked about dormant Ubisoft IPs, stated "I love Splinter Cell. I love Prince of Persia. I can't disclose any information at this time, but I can say we are fighting for resources. It's not a question of will, it's a question of means."
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. 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.
The Sands of Time Film
- 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. 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. The film was officially announced in 2007 as a major attraction for Walt Disney Pictures, 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. The Disney launched a merchandising gambit with LEGO 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.