Prince of Persia creator remaking his Apple II classic Karateka

By Stephany Nunneley
15 February 2012 16:02 GMT

Jordan Mechner, creator of the The Prince of Persia series, is developing a remake his 1984 Apple II classic Karateka which he originally created while studying at Yale.

Mechner has apparently been a busy man since work finished on the Prince of Persia film, as he has acquired funding for the title from an “angel” investor.

“It is amazing to me how many people still remember Karateka and talk about it after all these years,” Mechner said to VentureBeat. “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.

“Strangely, I think that’s part of its appeal. People’s childhood memories of it have remained pure. It’s like it’s been in a time capsule.”

The game tasked players with rescuing Princess Mariko from the clutches of the evil warlord Akuma and his “karate-trained guards”. It was a bit of an adventure title, in that it had cinematic qualities and story-driven gameplay along with fighting mechanics – but it wasn’t really a “brawler”.

“Making the original Karateka was a labor of love,” said 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.

“Whether I’m doing a game, movie, or graphic novel, my goal is to create a world in which a story and characters come alive. I love working in all those media, each has its own special strengths, and I’d hate to give any of them up. I’m working as hard as ever as a screenwriter, but when I thought about bringing back Karateka, I felt very strongly that it should be a game. And that now was the time.”

Mechner is working with small team on the title as creative director, and will publish the game independently for a “modestly budgeted” price through PSN and XBLA in 2012.

The original Karateka sold over 500,000 units, which was pretty phenomenal for the time period.


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