Prince of Persia Creator Resurrecting Karateka


The classic Apple II martial arts game is returning as a “fluid, atmospheric, and beautiful” new title for XBLA and PSN in 2012.

While videogame designer Jordan Mechner may have become famous for his creation of Prince of Persia in 1989, he actually got his start with a different title made five years earlier, a small, atmospheric martial arts game for the Apple II called Karateka. Now, after years of success galavanting about with the Prince, Mechner is returning to the videogame scene to bring that first project back to life. Having secured funding from an angel investor, Mechner and a small team of designers are already at work to bring a modern version of Karateka to XBLA and PSN later this year.

“It is amazing to me how many people still remember Karateka and talk about it after all these years,” Mechner said. “Somehow, the 1980s seem to be in the air again. People ask me about Karateka on my website all the time, and I keep seeing videos and retrospectives of the original game posted online. I was astonished when I was in Moscow at a press conference for the Prince of Persia movie opening in 2010, and Russian journalists asked questions about Karateka.

For those of you unfamiliar with the game, Karateka followed the exploits of a young martial artist questing to save a (not so helpless) princess from an evil fortress run by an evil warlord. The game may sound standard fare from its description, but much of the combat and direction was impressive, especially for its day. For many people, the game somehow transcended the standard, heartless brawler that most people associate with early fighting titles.

“Making the original Karateka was a labor of love,” explained Mechner. “To have so many people embrace it and share their stories of playing it has been really rewarding. I am always surprised to hear how much impact that game had. In remaking Karateka, I want to honor the original game with a compact, pick-up-and-play game that is fluid, atmospheric, and beautiful.”

We don’t yet have a release date for the new Karateka, but Mechner claims his team is on schedule for a 2012 release. I’m not generally one for remakes of the classics, but this one seems to have at least two things going for it. For one, the Apple II is almost as dated as dated gets. Almost no one completely sane even has access to one anymore. Also, if a remake is to be made at all, it may as well be from the original creator. And while that doesn’t guarantee quality, it will be interesting to see where this project goes all the same.

Source: Venture Beat

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