Legacy Interview

Tuesday, October 12, 2004.
Prince of Persia:  Warrior Within Box artPrince of Persia 2: Ubisoft Montreal

The prince is back! And darker and bloodier than ever. We spoke with Ubisoft about this sudden change in the character.

Q: What makes Prince of Persia 2 different from the other platform games?

A: Actually, we prefer referring to Prince of Persia Warrior Within as an ‘action-combat-adventure’. We put a lot of focus on the combat component. The fighting system is certainly one of the most original and polished you’ve seen so far. Of course we also kept all the great elements that have made this franchise so popular: the mixture of gameplay, stunning graphics, unique atmosphere and outstanding controls.

Q: How will this utilize Xbox Live? Will there be Downloadable Content, or will the game be Live Aware?

A: Yes – there will be special modes for Xbox live: an arena Mode and a time Attack Mode. Each mode will allow you to post your best score on Xbox live and see your rankings. Moreover, special downloadable maps to play these modes will be available after launch.

Q: Cryogenic Pyro, age 15 from Saskatoon, SK asks: Will the sands of time be included in the sequel to Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time? If so, will there be any new additions to how they are used?

A: Yes – you will be able to manipulate time as you did in Sands of Time. Most of the powers will be back but we changed the rule of using them, to make you feel more powerful. Also, we have added special Time powers that you will be able to use as highly destructive weapon.

Q: How many hours do you predict the game play to be, start to finish?

A: Actually it’s hard to say. First because the game is not in its final version, so we could not test the exact duration – but also because I don’t think there is a true answer to this question. For Sands of Time the time to complete the game varied from 10 to 20 hours depending on the player. The only thing I know is that Warrior Within is a longer game.

Q: Does the sequel include any new genre defining features?

A: Yes – the Free Form Fighting system will define a new benchmark for the genre. The idea behind this system is to give abilities to each player of defining his own style – chaining the moves the way he wants. We end up with something very natural; very different from the games where you actually choose a special skill or ability at the beginning. In Warrior Within you won’t be fighting after the tenth hour as you did after the first hour.

Q: How does the game play differ from the previous game?

A: Additional and improved combat. In the previous game, combat and acrobatic moves were almost 2 different things: generally once enter in a room, you had to fight and kill all the enemies then you had to reach the exit by using the acrobatic moves. In Warrior Within, we combined the two aspects of gameplay, meaning you will now have combat everywhere and you will have to use your acrobatic moves during combat. We wated to keep and improve the other elements of the gameplay. Navigation is still a huge part of the experience, and you will still be challenged!

Q: SoundX, age 13 from UK asks: Will Prince be joined by a fellow character to help him solve his puzzles this time round?

A: The Prince will meet a lot of different characters in the game – all linked by the same rich story, but there won’t be an additional character as in The Sands of Time; or at least not exactly the same way. Unfortunately, I can’t reveal you more as I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Q: What new enemies will the Prince encounter in Prince of Persia 2?

A: There are ONLY new enemies in the game. They all are quite powerful and impressive. But the one that stands out it the Dahaka. He is the guardian of Time and can not be defeated. Have you ever played against a force that can’t be defeated? Well, you will now!

Q: TRIR from Middletown DE, asks: Will the fighting system be deeper this time around allowing the Prince to execute more moves?

A: Yes – there are a lot more moves. And you will have to train and master most of them if you want to succeed. But how to use them is your decision. For each enemy, you will have to adapt and pick the best tactic …

Q: Viper87228, age 16 from Chicago, IL asks: Why did you guys decide to go with a darker, more mature story?

A: Well – we could have done the same settings and mood that The Sands Of Time which is a very successful game. But we don’t think gamers want ‘the same thing again’ and that’s why they like Prince of Persia series. So we wanted to take the risk and quite radically change the direction. We wanted to provide new emotions – namely fear and a feeling of oppression. To provoke these emotions, we had to go in a darker and more mature direction. With the result we are getting at this moment, I’m convinced that many players will approve that decision.

Q: Is the game more violent in terms of blood and gore?

A: Yes – it is. We want people to believe in the story we tell in the game. The Prince is cursed, he is facing his own death, he is a determined man, nobody will prevent him for changing his fate. Therefore he cannot act gently, he is fighting hard.

Q: If yes, is the game going to carry an M rating or are you shooting for T rating?

A: Yes – the game will carry an M rating.

Q: Alone-XBA, age 16, From North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Is this going to be a direct sequel to the sands of times, or is it just going to be a new entry into the series? Will it continue the story from the first?

A: Warrior Within is a consistent continuation of the same story of the same character. Indeed there is a strong link in the story of the 2 games. You will play the same Prince that you played in the Sands of Time, but this time he will older and tougher. Many years have happened between the 2 adventures. The prince did something wrong in The Sands of Time, he opened the Sands and worse he used them to prevent his own death. And now he is hunted by the Guardian of Time that wants to kill him.

Q: How have you changed the graphics engine? Will we be expecting a face-lift, or some minor touchups?

A: In terms of pure technical performance, it is the same engine. But of course, in one full year, we have had time to improve and optimize it. We have gained almost 25% of performance. This allowed us to add a lot of visually elements or details, more animations, more lights, more special FX.

Q: Rpgreligion, age 15, from Brevard, North Carolina asks: I found Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time to be painfully linear at times. Will we find Prince of Persia 2 to be more open-ended, with several ways to achieve a goal?

A: Yes – the game is more open ended. Think about the combat for instance: there is so much variety that 2 players won’t ever play the same fight. No one player will fight twice the same way. And in the adventure it will be also more opened. We will give you your objectives but you will have to find how to complete them, while traveling between present and past.

Q: How does enemy AI in Prince of Persia 2 compare to the first title in the series?

A: We put a lot of efforts in the AI. Basically, there will be far more variety in enemies – with different strengths and weaknesses. For each type, we implemented a different AI. In the end, you will see behaviors that are completely different in each combat. Adapting tactics to these AIs will be quite a challenge for the player.

Q: What can you tell us about the puzzles in Prince of Persia 2? Will they be more difficult than in the first installment?

A: They will be somehow different. Puzzles, navigation and combats are now embedded together. This will bring more challenge in their resolution. Moreover only the puzzles have been designed to be more challenging.

Q: Will newcomers to the Prince of Persia series easily adapt to the control scheme of Prince of Persia 2?

A: The basic control scheme did not change radically, compared to Prince of Persia – The Sands of Time. The basic moves are still very simple and intuitive. The difference will come from the control while in combat; you will have access to several combos that let you chain many attacks. The series as always been praised for its controls. I think it will be the same for Warrior Within.

Q: Blinx, age 15 from Boise asks: Will there be any multiplayer in the sequel to the sands of time?

A: No, not in Warrior Within, but this is something we are very interested in. Tell us what you think about it!

Q: Variation, age 23 from Victoria, BC Canada asks: How will you market it this time so people know about it when it comes out and not months after from word of mouth like the original?

A: Well, the word to mouth is rapidly growing. From what we know, Warrior Within is more popular today than The Sands of Time was last year at the same period. I think people know that the series has something very special; they know that The Sands of Time was one of the best gaming experiences in 2003 and I really think a lot of new people want to enter the franchise with Warrior Within. We already showed the game to a lot of gamers and journalists. So far the feedback is overwhelming.

Q: LTM360, age 16 from Dayton, Ohio asks: I found The Sands of Time to be too easy, especially the final boss. Will the second be a more difficult adventure?

A: Yes, in some ways, I think that the game will end up being a bit more challenging. But we still want to make it accessible to the non hardcore gamers. It’s a question of balance, and we are right on it now.

Q: The way the story unfolded in Sands of Time was probably the best I've seen in a video game, even better than most movies. Will the story unfold in PoP 2 the same, or similar to Sands of Time?

A: The story in The Sands of Times was indeed incredible. In Warrior Within, the story will be a key part of the game. We hired talented people from Hollywood to help us writing one of the amazing story we have never read in a game. The story will be full of surprises and will want to continue playing just to know what we will happen next.

Q: Mercenary_wolf, age 14 From England Manchester asks: After the last adventure what improvements have you made on the game apart from the battle system and the AI, up till this moment only the battle engine has been heard off and the visuals, can you give us some more information on the story line and how the Prince has found his inner devil?

A: Yes, we are talking a lot about the fighting system and the artistic direction. The reason is that we put a lot of efforts in these 2 elements and radically improved them. But also because we don’t want to spoil the story for you. The story is maybe eventually the best part … but it won’t be if I tell you now.

Q: Peepers asks: Time manipulation was the most conceptually daring feature in the original. What will be the standout feature of the sequel?

A: Definitely the Free Form Fighting. We really think that you will feel challenged and powerful and the same time. We hope you will enjoy this new sense of freedom!!! Talk again in a few week !?

On behalf of the staff of Xboxaddict.com, I’d like to thank Ubisoft for answering the questions submitted by our community members about their upcoming game, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within.

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