After the Russian Uplay leak, we now get to look at Prince of Persia’s official reveal by Ubisoft. The Sands of Time will be the company’s first “fully-fledged” remake.
But what is a remake, really? It feels like in the last while, the definition of remake has stretched a fair amount. Final Fantasy and Resident Evil come to mind, with massive, sweeping changes and improvements. Added story bits, changes to camera, adding features, reworking jump scares to toy with old players, all this and more is becoming a part of a remakes DNA. Until some terminology comes about to differentiate, the remake is a fairly broad term.
I spoke with game director Pierre-Sylvain Gires and senior producer Annu Koul about the remake, and what exactly a remake is, to Ubisoft Mumbai and Ubisoft Pune.
Why was Prince of Persia Sands of Time chosen for a remake?
Pierre-Sylvain: Prince of Persia was asked for by the players so much. They all wanted the Prince back, they wanted to play with their favourite character again and we are very pleased to do that 15 years later as the first Ubisoft remake ever.
What is the challenge in making a remake that is attractive to new and old players?
Annu: When you are making such a big game as a remake there are two things which we have to carefully keep in mind. This game has to be true for those players who have played the game before. We have to keep that nostalgic feeling in the game so that users who played this game before can connect the same way they did back then. At the same time, we have to make this game for new users and new-gen people and it has been challenging to keep both things in mind at the same time and make something that both groups can enjoy in the same way.
Some developers say that changing the camera changes the game, so what challenges were there?
Pierre-Sylvain: We wanted to actually play with the main feature of the game, which is the time control and the rewind. But the more we looked into it, the more we saw that the complete story is like a line to follow, right? And you can see that and realise that with the final loop of the game. We wanted the camera to really support this overall feeling of continuity, of flowing and being seamless. So we made a seamless camera between the cinematics and the gameplay, but also wanted the camera to flow with the player, providing complete visibility for the combat, the parkour and the puzzle side. So we decided to implement a free camera that the player will control whenever they want to.
Will we be seeing more content in the game?
Pierre-Sylvain: In terms of content, we stuck to the original design as it is a remake and not a reboot. We wanted to stay true to the story; the story is the beautiful part of this game and the strongest base to build on. Alongside the story, we kept the level design and all the puzzles the same. You will find the exact same content as the original game, but with the enhancements of all the visuals, the motion capture, with the combat and the cinematics. Mainly what you will notice is the camera work and the combat improvement, because we implemented some new features with the targeting system and all the moves and variations, but there will not be any new levels or features that weren’t present. We stick to the original design.
What advantages does motion capture bring?
Pierre-Sylvain: You will notice in the game that we got to work with Yuri Lowenthal, who is the original voice of the prince in Sands of Time. It was a great pleasure to have him with us. Motion capture brings a lot of things, like the interaction between the actors. In the original game, all the animations were key-framed and here, having all the actors on the set really enhanced the emotions of the cinematic, especially the relationship between the Princess and the Prince. Alongside the motion capture, we did re-record the complete lines and complete dialogue for the Prince and Princess. One funny thing to know is that in the original game, the Prince and the Princess were not recorded at the same time or at the same location. So this time, being able to work with Yuri and Supinder Wraich, who is an amazing actress playing the Princess of India, enhances the emotion in a fabulous manner. The chemistry between those two actors was absolutely fantastic. We let them play with their characters because they embody those roles so well.
Anna: It is more of a connection between two people, so you can see that in our game.
Prince of Persia Sands of Time remake will release on 21 January on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.