Sunday, November 8, 2009

Prince of Persia Evolves from a Simple Scrolling Game to Big Screen Reality

Do you remember the first Prince of Persia video games? The first one (Prince of Persia) came out in 1989 and was developed by Broderbund for the Apple II. Prince of Persia 2: Shadow of the Flame came out in 1994, also by Broderbund.

In 2003, Ubisoft took over production and came up with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Prince of Persia: The Warrior Within. The pervious one is where the prince takes a new look. From the turban-wearing figure, he became a more real character rendered in 3D. The character-rendition for The Warrior Within took criticism for making the prince too heavy metal.

The original Prince of Persia was created by Jordan Mechner, who was inspired by scenes in George Lucas's Raiders of the Lost Ark. That's the reason why there are lots of caverns, traps, and jumping in the game. Instead of a whip, though, the prince uses a sword. Mechner used rotoscoping to match the actual movements of his younger brother who he asked to perform the actions the prince has to do in the game. That is why the prince's animation in the original game is so smooth and realistic.

Prince of Persia came out on many platforms, including DOS, Amiga, Atari, and SNES, among the early ones. The 3D versions work in the X-Box. With new motion-capture technology, the game may soon use the player's own body movements to make the prince jump, crawl, dangle, and do all manner of acrobatics in the game. The later versions of the franchise give a new look to the prince, who used to wear a turban, a vest, and loose "Sindbad" trousers. He didn't really have a face in the game. Now, he's done away with the turban, sports straight, cropped hair, and has a goatee. He's the epitome of the ancient Middle-Eastern swashbuckler.

There's a good future for the Prince of Persia franchise and now there's a movie based on the game using the character design of the 3D versions. The movie, The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Prince Dastan. He partners with a rival princess Tamina (played by Gemma Arterton) to stop an evil vizier from unleashing the power of the sands of time and dominate or destroy the world. The quest is a tough one and the prince also has to deal with the princess who's more than a handful.

If you've played Prince of Persia before, you definitely have to watch this movie. It's from Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer, so it has to be just as good, and maybe even bette,r than Pirates of the Caribbean.

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