The Prince of Persia Games That Never Were

The Prince of Persia Games That Never Were

Sitting on the internet since 2012, today somebody realises there’s footage of a Prince of Persia game that never came to be.

The Prince of Persia games have a long history. The first game was created by Jordan Mechner in 1989 and was famous for its use of rotoscoped animation for the main characters which gave them such fluid movement.

This was a pioneering move for the time but Mechner admitted he only used the technique because he wasn’t an artist himself and it was the easiest way to get lifelike movement on the screen.

Prince of Persia was followed by a sequel and then ten years (1989) later a transition into 3D with the aptly named Prince of Persia 3D. The game only received fair reviews and was unfortunately plagued by camera problems that hampered playing.

In 2003, Ubisoft revitalized the franchise with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. This was a great game that I reviewed a while ago for the Nintendo GameCube. The transition into 3D was much more successful this time and a new time element was brought in as an interesting gameplay mechanic.

This new Prince of Persia franchise was followed by Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (2004) and Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones (2005).

Whilst there were more Prince of Persia games for smartphones and handhelds, Ubisoft did try relaunching the series again with 2008’s Prince of Persia. This was a 3D reimagining of the original 1989 game. Whilst this game looked good, it was lauded for being too easy or “consumer friendly”.

That is where the Prince of Persia series came to an end with only another appearance as a simpler runner game on iOS in 2018 entitled Prince of Persia: Escape.

But despite the video footage sitting on YouTube since 2012, for some reason, it has only hit the headlines today. This is for a game that was reportedly to be called Prince of Persia: Redemption.

Now when you watch the footage, you may think that it looks a little slick. Well, that’s because it’s not actual gameplay footage. This is known on the industry as target game footage. This is pre-rendered animation that gives the viewer an idea of what the finished gameplay will look like.

Prince of Persia: Redemption was planned to be a Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 release but was never given the go ahead to become a full game. However, this footage was an inspiration for the Assassin’s Creed III team.

Bonus trivia: In research for this piece, I also discovered another cancelled Prince of Persia game. Entitled Prince of Persia: Assassins, development on this game was ordered straight after the release of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

Development started on the PlayStation 2 in January 2004.  Once the details started to come in about the next generation of consoles (PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360), the team decided in September 2004 to expand the Prince of Persia acrobatic gameplay into an open world which would be feasible on the newer systems.

If you haven’t guessed already, this would eventually become first game of Ubisoft’s very successful Assassin’s Creed franchise.


John Abbitt

About the author | John Abbitt

@UKFilmNerd | John loves film, and he used to write for his own website, The Tydirium Hangar Bay, in the late 1990s. Whilst that website became lost in the passages of time, John's love of film did not. He's back, writing for The Unheard Nerd.