Last week, as part of Ubisoft Forward September 2020 at a special pre-briefing of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake, I was treated to an early look at the game. After the pre-briefing, I had a chance to talk with Annu Koul Senior Producer at Ubisoft Mumbai, and Pierre-Sylvain Gires Game Director at Ubisoft Pune about this iconic remake. The game is launching January 21, 2021 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.
Let’s take a look at what they had to say about this upcoming game.
Background on Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake developers
Before we go to the interview, I’d like to share some information with you about both Annu Koul and Pierre-Sylvain Gires.
Annu Koul, Senior Producer, Ubisoft Pune
Annu is a Senior Producer from Ubisoft Pune. She started as an entry level tester and then climbed her way up the ranks to now produce games at Ubisoft.
She is a veteran of the industry with 12 years of experience on multiple platforms ranging from handhelds like Nintendo DS to current-gen consoles. After working to deliver fantastic experiences in Just Dance titles, she is now working on other projects within Ubisoft.
Pierre-Sylvain Gires, Game Director, Ubisoft Mumbai
Pierre-Sylvain Gires has been the Game Director at Ubisoft Mumbai for more than two years and has been with Ubisoft for more than seven years.
He has more than 12 years of experience in management, video creation, shooting, motion design, 2D/3D animation, and compositing. Before becoming a Game Director, Pierre-Sylvain worked as a producer and a manager in the gaming industry, video artist for several digital agencies, advertisement and communication. His mission on Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake is to set the game direction and vision coherence.
Interview with Annu Koul and Pierre-Sylvain Gires
What are some of the improvements we will see in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake over the original game’s graphics, sound, controls etc?
We made improvements to the visuals, as the original game is over 15 years old. We had to bring the visuals up to the quality expected by players today. To elaborate a little bit more, we made changes to the camera. We wanted an approach where players will find the camera useful. So, we implemented a free camera. One that always frames the action, and helps players during parkour action.
Additionally, we improved the combat from the original game. We implemented a targeting system that enhances the velocity of the Prince and his acrobatic moves. These three changes: graphics, camera and combat give the game a modern twist and feel to this iconic game.
Staying close to the original game’s content
How closely did you adhere to the original game, is there any additional content added in the remake?
We stuck with the original story because we believe it is the base of this amazing game. The relationship between the Prince and the Princess is so iconic, we had to respect the storyline. During development, we’ve had the chance to work with the original voice of Prince of Persia Sands of Time and we used motion capture at Ubisoft in Montreal. We recorded all the cinematics and gameplay with motion capture.
The fact that we had all the actors on the set at the same time is a big improvement from the original game. A little story aside, in the original game, the actor and the actress who recorded the dialogue for the Prince and Princess were not in the same city and it wasn’t even recorded at the same time.
With Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake, having the actors together at the same time on the same stage brings so much more energy and emotions in their voices. Because of this, we let them go with the flow. With that being said, you will still find the iconic lines in the game that fans will instantly recognize.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake next-gen enhancements and possibility of coming to Stadia
Are there any plans to bring an enhanced version of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X or Stadia?
Our main focus when developing the game was for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. You will be able to play Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X through backwards compatibility.
However, there will not be any new features or enhancements. As for Stadia, we aren’t commenting yet on that possibility.
Rewarding aspects to working on such an iconic game
What is the most rewarding part of working on a legendary game remake like Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time?
The most rewarding aspect is that this is the first Ubisoft remake of a game. And, in India, it is an honour to work on this as a fully fledged project from scratch. This is such a great honour for our team to work on this project because the game series is very close to our hearts. People working on this team have more than 10 years experience and they grew up playing the game.
More games in the series
With The Prince of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake launching January 2021, does this mean there might be new entries in the series coming later down the line?
Right now our main focus is Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake. We want to make sure that we give players the best and most polished version of the game possible.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake launches January 21, 2021
Is there anything else you want fans to know about the game that we haven’t already talked about?
We’ve put a lot of dedication and love into this remake and have a thousand stories we could tell. It’s been an incredible adventure! Having control over the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake is really an honour.
Finding the original DLT audio tapes covered in dust was a great adventure. Working on this game for the past two years and not being able to tell anyone was really difficult. We are glad that we can now finally talk about it and show fans all the hard work we have put into the game.