Grabbed by the scruff of the neck, given a well placed boot in the derrière and ejected out the front door, Prince of Persia's scrubbed up image in The Sands of Time is gone, sequel Prince of Persia 2 starring a darker, grittier lead character who's outer appearance is reflected in the tone of the adventure, action and aesthetics of the game itself.
The follow-up is also a gore-splattering fest of blades, blood and limb dismemberment, the odd lopping off of heads here and there, includes puzzle stuff and features some truly momentous fights with magnificent boss characters. Juicy.
Prince of Persia 2 launches toward the end of the year on PC and console; but we recently got to check out the latest code and grill producer Yannis Mallat about the sequel following an invite from Ubisoft which took us into the heart of London for P.O.P. 2 action. First-hand impressions of the game coming soon, but now a little chat with Mr. Mallat...
Interview conducted by John Houlihan.
What have you improved on from the original game and what are your aims for Prince of Persia 2?
Mallat: The very first ting we did starting Prince of Persia 2 was to look back at Prince of Persia one and really look deeply at what was not up to what we wanted the game to be. And from that we have identified three main areas...
...The fighting system, which was pretty redundant and repetitive, and no real variety in the enemies and stuff like that. We didn't have any bosses in Sands of Time and the game length was a little short, but especially we didn't have any replay value system.
That's pretty much the three big things we've worked on. Adding some real depth to the micro gameplay, starting with the fight system where we really wanted to give the player the control of the Prince rather than having the player triggering... Cool moves and animations are to be enjoyable to watch but we felt that this voyeurism trip was not what real gamers may expect from the game.
It had an advantage though, which we have been trying to keep and have kept which was that the control scheme was really intuitive which is a trademark in any P.O.P. game.
Can you tell us more about these areas of improvement?
Mallat: We've been doing a lot of trial and error to give controls to the player but also to not go too deep into hardcore stuff. We're going to have combos - even if I don't like the word - that will allow the player to really choose what he or she wants the Prince to do. We have more than 25 different combos, and a dozen are finishing moves.
Going deeper into the fight system, we are also giving the Prince the ability to fight with two swords. We've freed up one hand that was taken up by the dagger. And then the Prince also has the ability to steal secondary weapons from enemies using cool moves - like strangulation moves - which is really what I call intuitive gameplay. This is giving depth to the fight system.
Replay value - we're going to a have minimum of four different difficulty levels plus one huge thing I cannot talk about at this time [laughs] but I have to mention it - it will really give the player the desire and the opportunity to play the game again a different way.
And finally we have at least three different bosses in the game. These ask for what we call exotic gameplay, meaning you don't fight those guys the same way you fight all the other enemies. They call for specific gameplay, such as the huge golem where you have to find his weak point then climb on his back and do some rodeo stuff and smashing the head and finishing him in a very special way.