Prince of Persia Returns As A VR Escape Room With The Dagger of Time
Prince of Persia’s time-bending approach to puzzle-solving is making its way to a virtual-reality escape room near you. Prince of Persia: The Dagger of Time, opening worldwide this spring, gives teams of up to four players the chance to work together to solve puzzles and use the titular artifact’s powers to stop, rewind, or fast-forward time.
Developed by Ubisoft Düsseldorf – which also created two Assassin’s Creed VR escape rooms, Beyond Medusa’s Gate and Escape the Lost Pyramid – and based on The Sands of Time trilogy, Prince of Persia: The Dagger of Time challenges players to explore, (virtually) climb, and use magical powers to solve puzzles with room-scale VR in a dedicated physical space. At the behest of Kaileena, Empress of Time, players will need to escape from the Fortress of Time and prevent an army of Sand Monsters from being unleashed.
How was Prince of Persia chosen as the setting for a VR escape room?
Cyril Voiron: After doing two experiences based on settings from the recent Assassin’s Creed games, we wanted to explore a different brand. It had to build on the mechanics and knowledge we developed during the first two games and we wanted an IP that would generate a strong interest in general as a standalone experience.
The Sands of Time series seemed to be the perfect fit, because it not only offers a fantasy setting, but the original games also come with many elements that fit perfectly into VR, such as puzzles and, of course, using powers such as time control.
What did you feel were most important elements of the original games to recapture? Were there concepts that needed to be updated or re-invented? Second, time control is the key element in our VR escape room, much like in the Prince of Persia games. So we built the experience around this function, seeing where it might fit and how players can use the time manipulation to solve puzzles cooperatively. Our VR escape rooms are meant for gamers and non-gamers alike; therefore, we concentrate on puzzle elements and co-op gameplay.
CV: We decided to push the level of quality and complexity of our experiences to another level in Prince of Persia: The Dagger of Time. To do so, we are not mirroring the in-game environment like we did in Escape the Lost Pyramid, and this makes the riddles and the level design way more complex. The fact that Prince of Persia is more fantasy-oriented helped in some situations, but time control in a multiplayer game is complex to execute.
Prince of Persia is known for vertical exploration and trap-filled environments; were you able to incorporate any of those elements into the escape room? But they are not the core of the gameplay experience; time control is. But we have re-imagined them for comfortable VR functionality. Climbing works extremely well in VR, and if you have a sense for heights, you can feel it in the game. We also incorporated vertical exploration with the different towers of the Fortress of Time that you have to explore, always going up, until you reach the Hourglass Chamber.
How does time manipulation work within the game? Does the escape room have moving elements that can be reset, stopped, or accelerated? CV: Only the player who holds the Dagger of Time in their hands can control time, and they can stop, rewind, or move time forward. When they do so, we added some visual and audio cues so the other players also realize that time is being manipulated.
How do you handle this ability with multiple active players?
Luckily, all the players receive a Medallion of Time, so they are not affected by the power of the dagger. So they have to take advantage that time is being manipulated to resolve some puzzles at the right moment.
Feb 12, 2020 at 20:07