PAX East 2010: Hands On: Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

PAX East 2010: Hands On: Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

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The Prince may not move as fluid as Ezio Auditore does, but he's got plenty of new tricks up his sleeve.

"When [Ubisoft] finished the Sands of Time trilogy," explained Ubisoft's Michael McIntyre, Level Design Director for Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands, "There was a feeling at the studio that we knew the story was done. But we knew that some day we wanted to go back, but only if it was a worthy story and cool - only if it made sense." That was why the Sands of Time Prince was returning for this latest outing instead of the "alternate universe" version explored in 2008's Prince of Persia.

The idea was that the Prince had gone from optimistic and naive in Sands of Time to jaded and grouchy in Warrior Within, and it hadn't just been years of pursuit by the Dahaka that had made him that way. That was normally the sort of thing that you'd see covered in a character arc, said McIntyre, but the trilogy ignored that arc completely. It was natural, then, to return to it to explore the character's hardening up.

The Prince has left the Dagger of Time behind, believing that chapter of his life to be over (a belief that will be rudely shattered whenever the Dahaka shows up), though he does retain his iconic rewind-time ability - perhaps indicating, said McIntyre, that the key to the sands had been as much the Prince himself as the dagger the entire time.

It was a good thing that he still had the time rewind, too, as the little demo build I played at the PAX East show floor had me tumbling to my death (and to my frustration) multiple times. In my defense, some of these falls resulted from my being distracted at the grand vistas unfolding before me, as the Prince scaled alongside a palace under siege. Some of the other falls resulted from my being accustomed to Ubisoft's other free-running acrobatic platformer (clearly, the Prince needs to take lessons from Ezio).

Perhaps I have been spoiled by the ease with which Ezio tore across Renaissance Italy in AC2 by just holding down a few buttons, but Prince of Persia took a while to click with me, what with its outrageous requirement of requiring individual button presses for individual jumps and wall-runs (you mean I can't just hold it down?!) The game does feel a bit "sticky" right now, especially when it comes to animations like repeated wall jumping, but there's plenty of time for that to change.

The Prince might not have his sand powers beyond the time rewind, but he does have some fancy new abilities giving him temporary control over the classical elements. It was important to keep these powers in mind when designing the levels, said McIntyre, because the Prince's abilities could affect his acrobatic platforming as much as anything in the environment. The moment water entered an arena, for instance, it became a tool thanks to the Prince's power to temporarily freeze things - turning spouts of water into columns to swing and jump off of, and waterfalls into just another wall to be scaled.

There won't be any foreshadowing of things to come for the Prince (i.e. no shout-outs to events in Warrior Within or The Two Thrones), said McIntyre. It was something they'd discussed, he admitted, but the moment you started toying with winks to the rest of the series it began diminishing the effect of those same winks. Forgotten Sands is a standalone title, he emphasized, and while those familiar with the Prince and his previous adventures will recognize some of his unspoken actions as they might those of an old friend, it isn't a requirement to look it up on Wikipedia if you've never played the stellar Sands of Time games (but why haven't you? Really?)

Forgotten Sands will harness the power of the current generation systems to let the developers "indulge" themselves in really cool set pieces - McIntyre said that one of his favorites was a moment where the Prince, in the midst of descending an ancient spiral stairway into an equally ancient underground city, found the stairway collapsing under him and had to use his acrobatic prowess to survive. So you won't be getting any Dahaka references (probably not), but that doesn't mean Forgotten Sands won't be an epic game in its own right.

The game will launch alongside the film starring Jake Gyllenhollandaise in mid-late May (May 18th, to be precise).

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Well, I am glad they made it standalone. The PoP games have always been entertaining in there own right (for the most part) and generally had alot of nice system in them to keep them fresh and entertaining.

Im looking forward to seeing what exactly will happen with it...and, if it and the film will stand up with each other

The game will launch alongside the film starring Jake Gyllenhollandaise in mid-late May

Well that's a coincidence.

*a rip appears in the fabric of space and time*

Oh god! Too...much...sarcasm!

*Is sucked into the swirling void*

Elemental powers and time rewinding in a series I know I've enjoyed in the past... I'm pretty much sold already at this point.

The parkour scheme for Assassin's Creed is pretty awesome, no?

Up his sleep?

Unfortunately, unless they fix the stickyness, I just lost all faith in this game. The reason why I didn't despise Prince of Persia 2008 is because it was so smooth... if Ezio is smoother, than I just don't know about this one...

Well, didn't the Prince keep the Medallion of Time, which is the reason why can he use his time abilities in Warrior Within? Kind of odd that the people working on the game don't consider this...

Regardless, good to know more details about the game though the fact that you're leveling up your abilities and even purchasing items (info taken from another source...) is unsettling to me.

Here's to hoping the game actually comes out well!

Ubisoft, this looks promising, but please don't taint the epic trilogy with this one. Make it a worthy addition!

Aby_Z:
Well, didn't the Prince keep the Medallion of Time, which is the reason why can he use his time abilities in Warrior Within? Kind of odd that the people working on the game don't consider this...

Regardless, good to know more details about the game though the fact that you're leveling up your abilities and even purchasing items (info taken from another source...) is unsettling to me.

Here's to hoping the game actually comes out well!

Actually he does have the medallion, which was the necklace of Farah in Sands of Time. That's why he can rewind time in Forgotten Sands and Warrior Within. I dunno what these folks are saying, but the manual of WW stated the medallion from Farah allowed him to retain time powers...

He only started using rewind in WW when he went in the first sand portal.

sinclose:

Aby_Z:
Well, didn't the Prince keep the Medallion of Time, which is the reason why can he use his time abilities in Warrior Within? Kind of odd that the people working on the game don't consider this...

Regardless, good to know more details about the game though the fact that you're leveling up your abilities and even purchasing items (info taken from another source...) is unsettling to me.

Here's to hoping the game actually comes out well!

Actually he does have the medallion, which was the necklace of Farah in Sands of Time. That's why he can rewind time in Forgotten Sands and Warrior Within. I dunno what these folks are saying, but the manual of WW stated the medallion from Farah allowed him to retain time powers...

Obviously they don't know what they're talking about. No wonder they don't want to hint-hint, wink-wink towards the other games in the Trilogy.

Sands of Time was a great game. I loved the way moving through the levels was a puzzle -- more thoughtful than twitch. And I loved how the combats played out. No crazy-button combos, just simple and enjoyable -- more like Batman: Arkham Asylum than God of War.

The 2008 edition just didn't have any of that for me. The fights were frustrating. Moving around the levels was boring and the QTE-elements were too heavy-handed. The two titles in-between were good-not-great and a departure from PoP: SoT. The franchise continues to move in the wrong direction and while I know they say they want to go back, I can't help but worry they're invoking the SoT story and not the SoT game play.

(Thankfully I don't have to worry too much since the AC series has been so good.)

I've been a day-one buyer of every previous PoP title, but for this one I'm waiting for the reviews and maybe some YouTube gameplay videos. I want to drink the kool-aid but the last few PoPs really have me resisting.

Aby_Z:

sinclose:

Aby_Z:
Well, didn't the Prince keep the Medallion of Time, which is the reason why can he use his time abilities in Warrior Within? Kind of odd that the people working on the game don't consider this...

Regardless, good to know more details about the game though the fact that you're leveling up your abilities and even purchasing items (info taken from another source...) is unsettling to me.

Here's to hoping the game actually comes out well!

Actually he does have the medallion, which was the necklace of Farah in Sands of Time. That's why he can rewind time in Forgotten Sands and Warrior Within. I dunno what these folks are saying, but the manual of WW stated the medallion from Farah allowed him to retain time powers...

Obviously they don't know what they're talking about. No wonder they don't want to hint-hint, wink-wink towards the other games in the Trilogy.

Actually I believe they do, but they withdraw info on purpose so as not to alienate newcomers. I'll forgive everything if the game is kick-ass though(replayed the entire trilogy back-to-back this year and I need MORE) and judging from this vid:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIV8iJ-fm4I&feature=sub
It looks good!

sinclose:
-snip-

I suppose that'd make sense.

Those developer diarys just keep me on the edge, really. I can't decide whether or not it'll be a good game since we'll be powering up abilities and buying items. I'll be on the edge till it's released, I'm agraid.

Mr. Mike:
Ubisoft, this looks promising, but please don't taint the epic trilogy with this one. Make it a worthy addition!

Exactly! And now my own personal feelings: Oh My God! Oh My God! This looks brilliant...please make it brilliant. I am so having to buy this, it really odes look epic!

I hope there's more sneakyness like there was with Two Thrones... hanging from an above platform and ganking sandmen was just way too much fun

Forgotten Sands will harness the power of the current generation systems to let the developers "indulge" themselves in really cool set pieces

Yeah, the same generation we've been in since '05. This is really making me sick of any advertising of any kind with a commercial game. They are acting as if the god Apollo has finally opened the gates to the promise land and we can just now feast upon the succulent fruits of life. You've been able to do the same things for about 5 things, just ebcause you now have decided to get off your lazy ass to do it doesnt mean you can brag.

Yes i like the nice graphics we got today, but shut up..

Are ubisoft nuts ?!? ... so they make a TRILOGY then a ALTERNATE TIMELINE then go back to the TRILOGY and make episode 1.5 or something then they make a movie that will prob be in a ALTERNATE TIMELINE also.... So where is the next game going to fit in ? After Forgotten Sands ? After Warrior Within ? After The Two Thrones ? After the ALTERNATE TIMELINE one ? Or make a game after the movie that is made after a game... George Lucas all is forgiven !

I LIKE that you have to push more buttons in Prince Of Persia. It requires much more skill than holding R1 and pointing in the direction you want to go.

ciancon:
I LIKE that you have to push more buttons in Prince Of Persia. It requires much more skill than holding R1 and pointing in the direction you want to go.

Agreed. I'd much rather hear about how Forgotten Sands compares to the Sands of Time trilogy and 2008's Prince of Persia than Assassin's Creed. Can you even call "hold down a bunch of buttons and pick a direction" platforming? To my mind, the parkour in Assassin's Creed was just a way of getting from A to B without continually running into beggars; I didn't find it fun or interesting in its own right. (I haven't played AC2, so I can't comment on that, but it's basically the same deal, right?)

Then again, I adored the parkour in Mirror's Edge, so you know I'm coming from the masochistic end of the player spectrum.

I really hope they don't have DRM, I really wanna get this game.

EmeraldGreen:

ciancon:
I LIKE that you have to push more buttons in Prince Of Persia. It requires much more skill than holding R1 and pointing in the direction you want to go.

Agreed. I'd much rather hear about how Forgotten Sands compares to the Sands of Time trilogy and 2008's Prince of Persia than Assassin's Creed. Can you even call "hold down a bunch of buttons and pick a direction" platforming? To my mind, the parkour in Assassin's Creed was just a way of getting from A to B without continually running into beggars; I didn't find it fun or interesting in its own right. (I haven't played AC2, so I can't comment on that, but it's basically the same deal, right?)

Then again, I adored the parkour in Mirror's Edge, so you know I'm coming from the masochistic end of the player spectrum.

(is suddenly very suspicious)
1. I've only played AC1 but really want to play AC2, can't wait to go swimming in it!
2. I haven't played the current POP PS3 game cos no one's said anything good about it. But if this new game will be more like the original trilogy then goodie gumdrops!
3. I LOVE Mirror's Edge!

 

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