Ubisoft is loving the 1990s these days. Between its upcoming downloadable spinoff Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, what with its abundance of neon lasers and cyborg sharks, and its backing Paul Cuisset’s remake of Flashback, the French publisher is positively glowing with Clinton-era warmth. In reporting on that Flashback remake, I lamented the fact that Ubisoft has stepped away from the Prince of Persia series in recent years. I spoke too soon. Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner and Ubisoft are teaming up for a remastered version of Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame for smartphones and tablets.
“The mobile Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame will feature updated graphics, sound, and touch controls in the spirit of Prince of Persia Classic, rather than a direct port of the original like 2010’s Prince of Persia Retro,” wrote Mechner, “For myself, I’m looking forward to trying to beat the game again, twenty years later.”
For those that may not remember, Prince of Persia Classic was the HD remake of Mechner’s 1989 original that overhauled the game with polygonal graphics, using the version of the prince that first appeared in 2003’s classic Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
While it’s nice to see The Shadow and the Flame get a new audience, Ubisoft is giving it the polygonal overhaul may prove to be a missed oportunity. Unlike the original rotoscoped Prince of Persia, whose groundbreaking visuals were nonetheless pretty bland, its sequel was one of the most vibrantly colored early ‘90s PC games. Making a two-dimensional cartoon style remake of The Shadow and the Flame wouldn’t be too much of a trial for Ubisoft either as the company already owns a spectacular engine for hand drawn 2D games. The Ubi-art Framework, used to make Rayman Legends and Rayman Origins, is a perfect match for the series.
At least the original version of Prince of Persia 2 is still readily available.
As for a modern 3D version on the horizon, Ubisoft said in January that it’s taking time off from the Prince. “Brand management is a tricky thing,” said Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat, “It needs people’s attention a lot. I think it is fair to say that, right now, Prince of Persia is being paused.”