Every genre of entertainment has prime examples of a properties that best utilized the free running spectacle known as parkour. For the gaming generation, one of those prime examples is Prince of Persia. While gamers were most accustomed to seeing the titular Prince wall-run, leap, and slide through the castles of Persia, now comes word that plans were in motion to bring the Prince to a more contemporary setting.
Developed by Ubisoft, this proposed reboot of the franchise was going to take the free running abilities of the player-controlled Prince and bring them to a post-apocalyptic modern world. Ubisoft’s art director Jonathan Jacques-Belletête described the game as being similar to post-apocalyptic disaster movies:
“Think a bit Day After Tomorrow, but replace the snow with sand and everything. It was really wicked. But it got cancelled, and then we did all the Far Crys.”
It might not have been the Prince of Persia Ubisoft was developing, but many games since the introduction of the franchise have pursued similar development goals. For games like Infamous and Prototype, the free running amidst a contemporary setting has been their greatest selling point. Ubisoft might now be known for a similar parkour style adventure game (Assassins’ Creed) but it definitely would have been interesting to see what they could have done with this concept.
As an “out of left field” thinker, Jacques-Belletête is hoping to apply his sensibilities to the new Deus Ex game being developed at Eidos Montreal. Whether or not any of the scrapped concepts they were working with will make their way into Human Revolution has yet to be seen.
With a failed film franchise and an over-saturation of parkour-based games in the market, the Prince of Persia property has lost its hold in the gaming world. With so many games taking the same concept to different locales, the property will only continue to struggle to stay fresh and relevant. As one of the truly great experiences, Sands of Time will stand as a milestone in the evolution of free running games but the question is will we see more of the Prince in the years to come?
What are your thoughts on a Prince of Persia in a contemporary setting? Do you think it is possible now with so many free running games in the market?