Prince of Persia has been dormant for a decade now, but demands for the beloved franchise to make its comeback haven’t waned in that time. Ubisoft seem to be giving in to those demands at long last, with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake having recently been announced.
Such an announcement should ordinarily have been met with rapturous responses, but that, unfortunately, hasn’t been the case. Responses have been mixed, with many calling out the game’s poor visual quality and technical deficiencies. What exactly do the game’s lead developers at Ubisoft Mumbai and Ubisoft Pune have to say about that?
Speaking in a recent interview with The Mako Reactor, game director Pierre Sylvain-Gires said that the aesthetic they have gone with for the remake is a stylistic choice, in order to help it make stand out.
“If you take the game that was made 17 years ago, there’s definitely room for improvement in terms of graphism and we really wanted to give a unique look to the game because Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is actually is a fantasy story,” Sylvain-Gires said. “The narration, the 40 different levels you have to go through to finish the game are an immersion into the Thief of Baghdad and all these magical environments. So we decided to go for a unique visual treatment to make this game standout from other games. It’s not another Assassin’s Creed, it’s not like the same Prince of Persia from 2008. It has to be unique. This magic, this fantasy is shown through the saturation, through the light, so it also a challenge to redefine the visual identity of the game with this remake.”
Its stylistic aesthetic is all well and good though- what about the technical side of things, which in particular is an area where The Sands of Time Remake has drawn quite a bit of criticism? Is it a question of budget of development time constraints?
According to director of production Syed Abbas, that isn’t an issue. He explained that with a peak of 170 developers at one point, the game has been in production for two and a half years, and there have been no cutbacks to budget or timeline whatsoever.
“No, it was not a problem of timeline or budget,” Abbas said. “For us at Ubisoft, quality is of the utmost importance and this is something that we have kept in mind from the start. The project has been in development for the last two and a half years. We have had at peak 170 members working on this project and not to mention other investments in infrastructure and set up to make a modern game. No, there have not been any cutback in budget or timeline for the game.”
With roughly four months still left before the game launches and with its first showing having allegedly been from the alpha stage of development, the hope remains that the final product will look more visually impressive than what it’s first impression suggests. That is, after all, what a game such as The Sands of Time deserves. Whether it gets what it deserves remains to be seen.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake launches for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on January 21, 2021. Some recent listings have suggested that it’ll be out for the Nintendo Switch as well, but with Ubisoft not having made any statement about the same, things are still unclear on that front.