Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake – Director And Actor on Reviving A Classic
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake, unveiled during Ubisoft Forward September, is bringing back one of the most beloved games from Ubisoft’s past on January 21, 2021. Much more than a remaster, the developers at Ubisoft Pune and Ubisoft Mumbai are creating a complete, top-to-bottom remake that aims to recapture the magic of the 2003 original while updating the game for modern sensibilities. To find out more about the project, we spoke with Game Director Pierre-Sylvain Gires and actor Yuri Lowenthal – who reprises his role as the titular Prince – about what’s new, what’s important to preserve, and what the new development teams were able to bring to the classic adventure.
What was the top priority when adapting The Sands of Time for a new audience?
And in terms of content, we wanted to play on the nostalgia, but also we wanted to revisit the three Cs [character, camera, and controls], because the game was a masterpiece. It’s still a masterpiece, but to reach the new audience, we definitely wanted to include the cameras and the combat.
I didn’t want to mess it up, that was my priority [laughs]. But I knew that the team was so in love with the game, I knew Pierre was such a huge fan that he would not let me fall.
What’s it like to come back to this character and his first adventure? Did you want to bring something new to the role? Were you trying to recapture the original performance?
YL: I came back to this OG Prince with a mixture of excitement and abject fear. Ten years ago, I did The Forgotten Sands, but there’s something about that first game, and the Prince that exists in that first game, that is so very close to my heart, and for many gamers who remember playing the game.
The remake uses performance capture, while the original Sands of Time didn’t. What was it like reprising the role of the Prince with that added dimension? YL: Getting to do performance capture this time around was such a gift; it was as if we had gotten to rewind time and do it better. Before, it was just animated, and so there was no performance capture in that game that I know of.
What’s the process of remaking a 17-year-old game like? Were you able to start with original source files, or was it from scratch? PSG: That’s an adventure in itself. And that was such an adventure, you have no idea. We finally found a few assets, and we actually found a recording of Yuri on DLT tape, like those huge tapes from 15 years ago. We finally found them in Montreal, in a dusty box behind the sound team.
With the help of the people in Montreal, we got our hands on this. And it was amazing to actually open that box, with dust falling from it, and find the game-design document that was still written on paper from [Prince of Persia creator] Jordan [Mechner], and having some of the script from Jordan himself.
This is your first time leading a project as game director, and the first time Ubisoft’s Indian studios have taken the lead on a project this big. What was that experience like?
It was very exciting; we developed this in Ubisoft Pune and Ubisoft Mumbai, the two studios in India. It’s an amazing experience for all of us, and we are very proud to actually bring you that first full-scale remake for Ubisoft.
What is it about this game that makes it such an enduring fan-favorite, even 17 years later?
YL: Oh man, I think everybody will have their own thing that caught them up in the game in the first place and made them replay it, and made them fall in love with it. It really was a perfect storm of a game for me; the story, and the characters, and the relationship. The gameplay, the puzzles, the world that it’s set in, the music. in a lot of other games, both that I’ve worked on and played, you’re like “this part and this part were good about it, but I wish this could have been better.” But so many elements came together on that game for me, and really the classic storytelling element is what kept me coming back.
It’s a piece of art, because of the perfect balance between the combat, the parkour, the puzzles – it was like the first of its genre. It really opened the world for a new type of game for the industry. And for me, it’s a must-play, and I’m not the only one to say so.
Sep 23, 2020 at 08:39