What Ever Happened to That Other Prince of Persia?

The aptly named Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands picks up the tale of the Prince, filling in that gap between Sands of Time and Warrior Within. But what happened to that reboot of Prince of Persia from two years ago?

Was the decision to go back to this main timeline and the more conventional Prince of Persia gameplay a sign that Prince of Persia 2008 was a flop?

Not exactly.

Michael McIntyre, level design director for Forgotten Sands and the 2008 title, describes Prince of Persia as a polarizing game, one that people loved or hated because of its take on death (You can't die in the game) and the simplified acrobatics and combat.

But, he's quick to point out, work on Forgotten Sands was started before Prince of Persia shipped, so its successes or failures didn't drive the decision to return to the main timeline of the series.

"We firmly believe that Prince of Persia is a brand that can have multiple environments," McIntyre says. "It makes a lot of sense for us."

The decisions driving the changes in the 2008 title were in many ways spurred by a desire to experiment with the franchise, he says. While Forgotten Sands returns to the traditional take on death and the more complex acrobatics and combat, that doesn't mean Ubisoft views the 2008 game as a failure.

"We are happy with what we achieved with that title," McIntyre says, "and I think games like that can still exist.

"For me the difference in the 2008 game is that it had less player participation. The player didn't decide when they wanted to be saved and when they wanted to wall run. In 2008 the experience was far more Zen. You keep playing, keep moving forward no matter what. You got in a rhythm and kept moving forward."

McIntyre likens the game to a platforming, combat-heavy version of Playstation Network's Flower. Another dive into that sort of Prince of Persia would likely be philosophically the same, he says, but maybe with a less heavy helping-hand.

"Maybe it would be a mix of both, as things got harder maybe it would require more skill from the player."

As much as McIntyre says he liked working on 2008's Prince, he says that working on Forgotten Sands resonates with him more.

"I grew up with the original Prince of Persia and with Sands of Time," he says. "I like tough games."

McIntyre says how pleased Ubisoft is that they became the "bearers of the torch" for Prince of Persia Games.

We spend a few minutes reminiscing about Broderbund's 1989 side-scrolling title. The game, originally developed by Jordan Mechner, used rotoscoping to deliver a surprisingly realistic prince with amazingly fluid movements.

That first death on a bed of spikes, I tell McIntyre, blew me away. It's one of my most memorable gaming moments, I say.

"Something from that original game is coming back to Forgotten Sands," McIntyre says with a smile, "the spike death."