‘Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time Remake’ Finally Revealed
Prince of Persia: The Sands Of Time is getting the remake treatment (who could have guessed?). The new game sees the classic third-person action game, the game that led to the Assassin's Creed series, completely remade in a new engine. While the original game is still perfectly playable, it is certainly showing its ages after 12 years in the wild.
Considering the series became the inspiration for Assassin's Creed, it's appropriate that Prince of Persia: The Sands Of Time Remake sees the Prince's adventure ported over to the same engine used for Origin, Odyssey, and Valhalla. The team has taken advantage of the modern tech, taking the original game's level design and layout and filling it with new textures, animations, visual effects, and fancy lighting, making it look prettier than ever while still keeping the same game we remember.
Check it out in the trailer below:
Ubisoft's been working on the remake for a couple of years already and is aiming to have the game out on January 21, 2021.
Ahead of the announcement, we spoke with game director Pierre Sylvain-Gires and actor Yuri Lowenthal, who has returned to play the part of The Prince in the remake, about exactly how close the game will be to the original.
Ubisoft and the team are describing this Sands of Time as a remake, not a remaster and not a reboot. What they mean by that is "We stay true to the original design," Sylvain-Gires explains. "We stay true to the original dialogues and the narration." But around that a lot has changed. Every scene has been fully motion captured, with the actors performing the scenes on a stage - "We essentially rewound time so that I could go back and do it again," Lowenthal says. The animations in the main game, too, have a "new fluidity," Sylvain-Gires says.
With other remakes, like Mafia: The Definitive Edition, there's been a lot more flex in the original design, with the world and missions being redesigned to better fit with modern game design. That's not the case with the Prince of Persia Remake. "The level design has been respected," Sylvain-Gires says, that includes keeping the layout and scale of the world the same, because to keep the parkour and the combat "working well" they needed to keep that the same. Where the differences come are in the art: "You will notice a lot of difference in terms of variation, in terms of visual art, lighting, VFX so you will definitely recall fondly the original game, but you will feel like playing a game made in 2020 and playable in 2021".
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When I press Sylvain-Gires on why more wasn't changed and updated, he explains that "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time definitely raised the bar graphically but mainly for the gameplay, the balance between the parkour, combat, exploration, and puzzles is unique and we really wanted to bring that strong base to the player. To bring nostalgia for the player but also so a new player will discover what made The Sands of Time the iconic game it is."
One area there has been change is in the cast. While Yuri Lowenthal has returned to play the Prince, Joanna Wasick has not returned to play Farah, she has been recast with actor Supinder Wraich taking the part. When the game was originally released in 2008 there wasn't much loud discussion of white washing, where white actors play the parts of non-white characters. In the 12 years since its release, however, that conversation has become much louder. So, I asked Lowenthal if he felt comfortable taking on the role of the Prince a second time.
"There was a lot of discussion early on and we decided that, because it was a remake, that I would come back," Lowenthal says. He also acknowledged that "it would be a much more difficult thing for me to agree to if somebody were offering me this part today".
"It's a question that we had from the beginning of the production," Sylvain-Giles adds. "And we wanted to bring more authenticity with the Indian princess, and that's why we worked with Supinder, who is an amazing actress. We had the chance to work with Yuri and when you have the opportunity to work with the original actor, the original voice [...] the original voice was definitely playing on the nostalgia for the player. It was quite obvious that we wanted to work with Yuri again, and we definitely work closely with our different actors and casting to be as accurate as possible, and to listen to the player but also, as you mentioned, the word we're living in right now, which is different and more equal than 15 years back."
They did try to get Wisack back, though, but "She was she was not available and she was not on the market so he was not part of the casting even," Sylvain-Giles says.
I want to see more of the game and play it for myself, but I'm thinking this remake might be a missed opportunity. While technically this is a remake rather than a remaster, it's disappointing the team isn't taking the chance to modernise The Sands Of Time outside of its technology. It will be interesting to see how the game design holds up after all this time, particularly as The Sands Of Time influenced Assassin's Creed, Uncharted, and the Tomb Raider reboots, games which took its parkour and combat style much further.
It would be frustrating for a remake, that's meant to modernise a classic, if it felt dated on launch day.
Featured Image Credit: Ubisoft
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