The Ideal Prince of Persia

August 31st, 2009

Beyond the stunning, cel-shaded visual design as shown in previous screenshots, two trailers released last year for Prince of Persia (2008) reignited my interest in the series. You can watch them below, they’re rather emotive pieces of media;

Video Games | Prince of Persia | E3 2008: Exclusive Trailer
XBox 360 | Playstation 3 | Nintendo Wii

Video Games | Prince of Persia | TGS 2008: Trailer
XBox 360 | Playstation 3 | Nintendo Wii

The gorgeous artistic direction and affectionate music are a stirring combination. They were encapsulating pieces of media which confirmed my faith that this new installment would embody what I have for a long time believed to be the essence of the series. This elusive purity in theme and story as depicted by the cel-shaded visuals, crisp colour and withering voice of the female singer.

I haven’t played Prince of Persia yet, but the consensus appears to be that the trailers were something of a ruse, where in actuality Prince of Persia clings tightly to safe ground. Specifically I’m referring to the westernized personas of the protagonists, and the narrative conclusion. The latter of which hasn’t been made apparent to me, knowing only that it attempts to leverage a possible sequel for itself, riding the money train yet again.

True or not, I hold the trailers up in high regard, because they’re ultimately the Prince of Persia that I want. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time minus all the noise – basically. I want to play a Prince of Persia which is not so self-conscious of being a video game. A game which is silent, rather than menacingly epic – just the player, a chain of ledges and platforms and no interruptions. The platforming is sublime, just gives us this slice, hold the pickles, please.

The Prince of Persia Trilogy in no way required the shallow story, button-mashing combat or a buxom female accomplice, nor did Sands of Time ever warrant a sequel. Why must games continue to over-egg the epic and provide more? Can’t this industry trim the fat, just a little, and make the less more refined rather than more less refined?

The end of Two Thrones captured glimpses of this silent portrayal of the series. Obviously the combat and sharp edged obstacles are nuisances here, so just skip those parts;

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The visual design here is very indicative of this point of solace in the game’s narrative. A beautifully moody, yet calm atmosphere with glowing highlights which colour the fantasy environment. It’s an aesthetic wonder which Zelda: Twilight Princess made me first appreciate, particularly in the gorgeous Palace of Twilight. I’m not fond of all the visual elements of Twilight Princess, but the macabre black with green and pink highlights is a real visual peak for the company. The darker parts of the Prince of Persia trailer as well as the Two Thrones video above capture the visual look and feel.

A minimalistic Prince of Persia with such an aesthetic is what I would consider to be an ideal interpretation.