- Prince of Persia Producer Ben Mattes
took the time to answer several interesting questions regarding everything from combat to the game's new art style on PlayStation 3. Here are some of them as follows:
Wondering how you addressed the balance issues from earlier entries in the series. For example, Sands of Time was amazing, but going back to it recently the combat wore thin after a while (especially in the first big group fight) to be followed by long stretches of almost no combat. Does the new game fall on one side or the other or is there a middle ground that you all shot for and hit? And Demo tomorrow? Maybe?
First, one of our main goals in combat was to make every fight grandiose and meaningful, to make every encounter feel more epic. Thus, we decided to make the new combat system a duel mode in which every enemy has special attributes, a unique personality, cool moves, and his strengths and weaknesses. Having one enemy to fight at one time gave us much more possibility to push this encounter to the limit.
Every enemy is as strong as the Prince and will seize his chance to use the environment, his corrupted abilities to counter every mistake the player makes. Every enemy has a background and their own personal objectives that will help push the story forward. Also, there are multiple combat moves and these will take some time to figure them all out and access the most spectacular combos.
Using your glove, Elika, your sword and acrobatics, players will be able to combine those to create some breathtaking moves. This new combat system is not meant to be button mashed, but instead requires timing, strategy and the right combo depending on the situation. Also, many quick real-time mini-games where the player has a little fraction of time to react will keep the tension high.
The battle system uses some dramatic camera shots that make every fight feel even more epic. Battles will take place usually before saving a fertile ground and pushing away the Corruption. There are different challenges before healing a fertile ground, one might be an acrobatic challenge, a puzzle, a fight and a lot of them are mixes of them all.
Sorry, there are no demo plans at this time.
What's the framerate like on the PS3 version? I've heard this game employs the same engine as Assassin's Creed, and the framerate on the PS3 version of that... not so good.
Fluidity of control and animation quality are hallmarks of Prince Of Persia games. We would never ship a POP title unless we were confident the player could fully appreciate the movement of the Prince in acrobatics and combat and - simply put - framerate hiccups get in the way of that. They break the
We have some of the most talented PS3 engineers at Ubisoft working for us on POP (and Ubisoft has now made quite a few PS3 titles) and I can assure you the performance on the PS3 is the same as the 360 - a solid 30fps throughout the game.
are their any trophies?
POP does indeed ship with trophies from day one.
Will the prince be able to use different weapons besides the sword that is seen in gameplay videos?
AND Will the prince be able to level up his combat abilities? I hope the prince has a long list of combat combinations. Does he?
We want the player to feel like the Prince is an adventurer with a lot of experience already - he is an acrobatic warrior who has already been through and seen a lot. As such it made sense to us that he start out this adventure with all his abilities unlocked.
Elika, on the other hand, evolves in her abilities as the game progresses, unlocking new magical abilities. What is important to us is that the player still feels a sense of progression and development because the « duo » of the Prince and Elika are certainly evolving as you play.
Finally, simply because the Prince has access to all of his abilities from the beginning of the game, doesn't mean the players will know how to use them all. If it is your first time playing POP, don't expect to be able to pull off the 14 hit combos and complete long uninterrupted strings of acrobatics without pausing - you'll evolve towards that in time as you get more comfortable with the game systems.
Ever since The Sands of Time this series has been in a downward spiral. What if anything has been done to take the series "back to its roots" so to speak?
In POP Sands of Time trilogy, the innovation was the Sands of Time. We felt the need to find a new innovation for this new chapter:
- Open-ended structure
- New combat system
- New artistic direction
- Role of the secondary character, Elika
But you can also rest assured we've also kept the core fundamentals of what made the Sands of Time trilogy great.
- The balanced mix of acrobatics and combat
- Excellent visuals
- Highly detailed character and story
- Highly responsive controls
- 1001 night's universe / fantasy elements
As you read this some reviews will have already hit online (IGN scored PoP 9.3, for example). One of the best compliments that any reviewer has given us so far is that we've recaptured the magic and mystery that made the original Sands Of Time so great.
are you working on a prince of persia, playstation home space? will you consider one in the future?
We are not currently working on a Prince of Persia home space but we might consider it for future games.
What made you guys ditch the realistic style followed in AC and trying out for the new water color style? And which game was hard to code for... AC with its realistic graphics? Or maintaining the water color feel in PoP? Thanks! Can't wait to go back to the PoP series =D
We wanted to embrace the fantasy nature that defines every Prince of Persia game. The 'Photorealistic' artistic direction that is seen in so many games right now did not fit in well with the magical world we were exploring with this game. We wanted to try something new and the "Illustrative" art style really represents our vision in this game - to make it feel like a storybook.
I am disappointed that U guys didn't include any time-shifting powers. They were awesome. Why did u guys do that?
That mechanic started to feel old to us - it had been copied in many other games and had lost some of its uniqueness. Elika is our new sands of time and I think she more than makes up for their absence.
How long in production have u guys been?
Three years, start to finish.
How long is the game relatively speaking? like 12-16 or less. Something like that. How much platforming is there? The more the better imo. Fights are nice too.
An average player will probably take around 12-15 hours to finish the game if they do the bare minimum needed to complete it. If you take the time to learn all of the backstory of the characters (through our ODD system) and collect all of the lightseeds (to get all of the trophies) I think you can certainly expect more in the range of 18-20 hours.
In terms of the breakdown between acrobatics and combat, it is hard to say for sure due to the open structure of our world. Certainly, though, there is the potential for you to spend a lot more of your time doing acrobatics then combat.
how big is the world of prince of persia? will their be side quests?
It's quite big. It will take you some time to travel from one end to another. Also, It depends of the path you take to make your way around.
Additionally our world features a lot of vertical gameplay, taking you up to some dizzying heights to survey the world down below you as you progress through your quest. The size and height of our world certainly gives it a massive sense of scope.
What percentage of the game is combat? I am hoping for a high percentage of platforming!
It's hard to say for the exact percentage but you will spend more time platforming than fighting that's for sure. Collecting all the light seeds will definitely make you spend hours exploring the world, platforming and using your head to figure out how to get to that light seed! There are many combats as well.
What are Ubisoft's plans for the after-PoP?
I'd be drawn and quartered if I gave away those secrets. Just a few days ago I saw an advanced prototype of an incredibly top-secret game and was floored with how cool it looked and felt. While I watched it being demoed I was furiously taking notes for ideas to draw inspiration from on my next game.
Beautiful art style. I've never played a Prince Of Persia game before, although I've always been interested. The beauty of this game captivated me. The game reminds me of Team ICO games. There's a beautiful landscape with platforming involved, like the Team ICO games, and you're traveling with a woman, just like in ICO. Did you draw any inspiration from either or both of the Team ICO games?
Team ICO is definitely an inspiration for us and both Shadow Of The Colossus as well as ICO were games we played extensively during the development of POP. Team ICO consistently proves that videogames can be so much more then "just" a form of entertainment - they can enlighten, teach, and make us feel. I welcome any and all comparisons to the incredible development talent of that studio.
It was very important to us, though, that our game be incredible accessible and action packed, too. We were not creating a game just for those players who like "art" in their games. We have spectacular acrobatics, incredible combat and a rich story. In many ways we consider games like Burnout influential as well in their immediate accessibility - you pick up the controller, press a few buttons, and right away spectacularly rewarding things occur. This was very important to us in the development of POP.
For somebody who has never played a Prince of Persia game, how would you explain the experience? And what do you think is the main draw to it?
The first Prince of Persia game was created in the late 80s by Jordan Mechner and has become one of gaming's most well-known franchises. Prince of Persia is a game with a balanced mix of acrobatics, combat and puzzle solving set in a fantastic Persian world where you control The Prince, the most agile warrior of all time as he Runs, Jumps, Flips and Fights his way towards saving the world. All the games are inspired by the 1001 night's universe and feature an epic storyline with strong character development.
How many language tracks have been recorded for the Blu Ray release of this game in Europe?
English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. There are other localized versions (one Dutch, another Polish, another Russian) but the main version will have those five languages on it.
Does this game have anything story-related to the previous games?
No, nothing that will affect the main narrative. We put in a few tongue and cheek references (hint: pay attention to the ODD system) but just as a 'nod and a wink' to the hardcore fans. We are telling a new story within the "Book" of Prince of Persia.
From where did you draw inspiration from (games or other) in this iteration of PoP Some of the big reactions to date have been about the voice of the Prince. What led your team to choose such an American sounding voice actor, and was there any concern over people associating that voice to Nathan Drake?
The choice of Nolan North (Nathan Drake) as the voice of the Prince is entirely intentional. When we were designing the character of The Prince and trying to identify his personality, the two characters we returned to most often were Han Solo and Indiana Jones. Both, of course, played by Harrison Ford.
Nolan North showed in his characterization of Nathan Drake an uncanny resemblance to Indiana Jones both in terms of tone and delivery. We thought it particularly appropriate given the heavy influence of these characters in the writing of The Prince that the voice actor we use be one who manages to capture the essence of the influencing characters deeply.
oh also i just remembered is PoP going to have subtitles? i rly hope so b/c i have hearing loss and i wasnt able to fully appreciate ACs story like i wanted to
Prince Of Persia, like all Ubisoft games now, is subtitled in all languages.
I know that your philosophy with Elika was to make someone that would never hold you back, so what's to stop someone from just hiding in a corner and mashing the "Elika Button"?
It wouldn't help much to just tap the Elika button in a corner. The game requires you to use all of the Prince's abilities combined with Elika in order to be effective. Whenever you need Elika's Help, she is there to do so, but only if you are doing something as well (ie: fighting, in the middle of a jump, etc).
Standing in a corner and mashing the Elika button will just summons a compass power over and over again - not much help in defeating the guardians of Ahriman.
what additional items are packaged with the limited edition versus the normal package?
-Collectible Limited Edition packaging
- An exclusive look at the making of Prince of Persia
- A Prima digital mini-strategy guide full of developer's secrets
- A digital art book
- The original soundtrack scored by master composer Inon Zur
I am looking forward to this but how similar is this to Sands of Time? Sands of Time was magical! I loved every minute of it. I thought the story was put together very well. It was the Uncharted of last generation! I can't to try this out but I am hoping it will give me the same feeling that Sands of Time did.
We consider POP to be the spiritual successor of Sands Of Time. We invested a lot of time and energy into trying to ensure that the sense of magic, wonder and mystery that was so special and unique in SOT was reproduced in this new POP adventure while still bringing some strong visual and gameplay innovations to the series.
In terms of your passion for Uncharted, let me simply say I share your enthusiasm. Uncharted for me was an incredible game because it was so much more than the sum of its parts. I have a hard time putting my finger on the one feature of Uncharted that stood out as my favorite while I was playing, but as soon as I finished I wanted to start over from the beginning and play through again. It is easily one of my favorite PS3 games to date.
Will there be different difficulty levels?
The game has just one difficulty level, but the challenge certainly progresses as you play and (hopefully) get more comfortable with the mechanics. New traps are released, more corruption infects the world, and the enemies unlock new abilities and combos.
Hey, I can't wait for this game. Here's my questions: Does the game autosave (or how does it save)? Can you create multiple save files?
POP features a 'save anywhere' system. No matter what you are doing, you can create a save (new save or overwrite - there is space for 10 save game slots). We don't save the exact location, though (ie: if you are in the middle of the air and save, when you load you won't fall to your death) but rather the last stable platform you were on. Don't worry, though, these are never very far apart.
What motivated your team to take the franchise into a radically new direction artistically? How did you guys come to the conclusion that this new installment should be not, or loosely, related to the previous trilogy in the last generation of consoles? Is your team considering using this new artistic engine for future games as well?
In terms of the art direction, we wanted to do something new, something unique. Most of our favorite games - the ones that stand out in our minds years after playing them - had unique visual styles that did not try to emulate reality.
Additionally, as I said above, we felt a more fantastic artistic direction would mesh well with our fantasy universe and story. Finally, we wanted to take the incredible concept art and illustrations that our teams created as reference material and do them justice by creating the tools and technology needed to make our game look like the illustrations - a highly detailed painting brought to life.
In terms of why we left behind the old trilogy, we felt the story of the Sands Of Time had been told and it was time to move on. We had never planned to continue to tell the story of the Sands of Time Prince forever, and the universe of Prince of Persia has so much potential for other themes to explore. By creating a new Prince, on a new adventure, we've added a wealth of material to the Prince of Persia universe to potentially explore in future games.
Finally, I believe very strongly in the artistic choices we took for POP and sincerely hope that this Illustrative style is used again at Ubisoft moving forward. Of course I don't have any specific details, but I think it safe to say that the response has been positive enough that we'll likely be returning to this stylistic choice in the future.