Sun, Jun 15, 2008 | 23:34 BST
Interview: Chris Easton on Prince of Persia
We’ve been talking about it all week. VG247 got a sit-down with Chris Easton, community development manager for Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia, and now you can read the full chat after the link.
By Mike Bowden
VG247: Will Elika be playable by another player, both local and perhaps over PSN and Xbox Live?
Chris Easton: There are no plans for co-op as of now but we may explore the possibility at a later date.
How big is the gaming area this time round? All the footage to date has been very close-up. If Elika is going to assist you, similar to Farah in SoT, how will she fit on screen? Are you not worried she’ll get in the way?
Elika will always interact with the player in a positive way, whether it be through combat, acrobatics or puzzle-solving, and gives the player more special moves in these areas. She also has magical powers which the player can request by pressing the “Elika button” on the controller. In general she is AI controlled but when the player wishes to bring her into the gameplay they just need to press that button and she will join in – we will never force Elika on the player.
Our philosophy is to leave as much control to the player as possible without having her bog down the fast-paced rhythm of the game. This way we add a layer of strategy and make sure the player uses Elika when and how they want. Besides the gameplay asset that Elika represents, we want to build a strong bond between her and the Prince. Elika behaves as no other NPC has ever behaved in a video game: you will never get frustrated that she’s stuck behind a wall, get irritated that she’s gone in a direction you didn’t expect, picked a fight with an enemy you didn’t want to fight or anything like that.
Can you tell us what the lead platform is and perhaps why you have chosen to go down that route?
There are no details as yet – there will be similar gaming experiences on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.
Will it be a simultaneous release for both platforms or will one half of the gaming public have to wait?
We are planning to release Holidays 2008.
You’ve completely moved away from the Sands of Time and are also using a completely different protagonist coupled with a unique art-style. In fact, it looks a totally different game altogether. So why package it as the Prince of Persia?:
Beginning with Jordan Mechner’s first PoP game back in 1989 to Ubisoft’s Sands of Time trilogy, the Prince of Persia brand is like a collection of fantastic tales, drawing inspiration from the Arabian Nights stories. Possibilities for enticing storylines and characters are endless with such a rich, colourful, shape shifting and magical universe. So there are as many stories of the Prince as there are many versions of the Prince himself – they all co-exist, they all share prodigious abilities and a liking for dauntless adventures and trouble J
With Ubisoft’s new PoP video game, we are opening a new chapter in the Prince of Persia universe with a new story, new art style and a new Prince but it still contains all the ingredients of a classic Prince of Persia game.
However, that being said, is this start of a ‘new’ franchise? i.e. will this type of PoP that we are seeing be a one-off or can we expect more?
This game is a whole story on its own and players are going to live through a complete adventure. That said the story may lend itself to something more…
How much emphasis is there on platforming in the game? Most of the videos seem to concentrate on battles and although they looked very impressive, the platforming is what we loved about the previous. They’re still there, right?
One of the key pillars of the Prince of Persia franchise is acrobatics and platforming – you can be assured that these play a big role in this new Prince of Persia game.
We’ve heard the story is more important this time round than ever before, care to shed some more light on that?
Storyline has always been crucial to all PoP games and we put a lot of thoughts and efforts to craft this particular story. Here’s the story for this PoP game:
Transported to a land of myth and legend, our Hero finds himself caught up in an epic battle between the primal forces of light and darkness: the God of Light, Ormazd versus his brother Ahriman, the God of Darkness,. Our Hero arrives just in time to witness the destruction of the legendary Tree of Life – an act which threatens to plunge the entire world into eternal darkness.
The Prince will have to stop the rise of the ancient destructive God, Ahriman. This new epic storyline is close to Persian Mythology (Zoroastrianism).
Driven by envy and hatred, Ahriman spread Darkness in the world, corrupting the hearts of men and unleashing a dark substance which physically contaminates the land and the skies: the Corruption. When Ormazd finally acted to stop his brother, he chose to destroy Ahriman’s servants, the Corrupted, one by one. When at last only a few of Ahriman’s puppets remained, Ormazd captured them and pulled them into the Tree of Life. With the remaining Corrupted sealed inside the tree, Ahriman found himself tethered to the trap unable to break his connection with his dark servants. Concentrating all his power, Ormazd forced what remained of his brother into the Tree, locking Ahriman inside for all eternity. Ormazd gave care of the Tree of Life to his chosen few, the Ahuras. Now, many years after the war, Ahriman is plotting a way to escape…