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6 things you need to know about Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

Since it was announced late last year, there’s been a healthy amount of curiosity swirling around Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. Set for release this May, it marks a return to the storyline of the last-gen Sands of Time trilogy, something that’s made fans both elated and suspicious. With the release of the movie right around the corner, is it a “real” Prince of Persia game? Will it feature the clever platforming, character-driven story and attention to detail that fans expect, or will it just be an asinine, hack-and-slash tie-in?

After seeing three levels of the game in action last week, we’re prepared to answer these questions. First and foremost, you need to know that…


1. It’s not a movie-based game

You may already know this one, but it bears repeating: While Forgotten Sands will be out this May, shortly before the release of the Prince of Persia film, the two aren’t really connected. Yes, the film is probably at least part of the reason we’re revisiting the Sands of Time Prince instead of his cel-shaded counterpart from 2008. But he hasn’t been redesigned to look like Jake Gyllenhaal, no events from the movie will be adapted into the game and there’s no communication between the game’s developers and anyone working on the movie.

Instead, Forgotten Sands is a direct sequel to Sands of Time, wedged somewhere into the intervening seven years between Sands and Warrior Within. It opens when the Prince goes to visit a kingdom ruled by his brother, only to find it under siege by a rival army – which, in the first level we were shown, he has to fight himself, slashing and leaping across huge, crumbling castle walls while massive armies clash below.


Above: This is why you should only fight near handrails, kids 

In desperation, the Prince’s brother (who we won’t call Prince of Persia 2, tempting as that is) unleashes his kingdom’s greatest secret weapon: an army of sand zombies that had been sealed away centuries before. They repel the invaders, but then quickly turn on the kingdom itself – and worse, they instantly change every denizen of the kingdom into sand statues, frozen in place at the moment when the zombies were released. Naturally, it’s up to the Prince to set things right.


2. It wants you to participate

One of the biggest criticisms leveled against the 2008 Prince of Persia reboot (other than that it didn’t really have an ending) was that it took away the sense of control, however illusory, that the last-gen games gave players over the Prince’s acrobatic moves. Instead of holding down a trigger to run along walls, for example, you just hit the appropriate button and the game did the rest for you.

With Forgotten Sands, the developers want to restore that sense of control. During our time with the game, Level Design Director Michael McIntyre took pains to demonstrate that this time, wall runs are executed by holding down the right trigger, and letting go means you drop. It’s a small thing, but for long-time PoP fans, it’ll be a welcome addition.


3. The Prince has new powers

The highlight of Prince of Persia games has always been the environment itself; every room is a trap-filled puzzle that you need to solve by figuring out where to run, where to climb, and where to hang after a series of carefully timed jumps. Forgotten Sands is no exception, and it’ll even give the Prince a selection of new magic powers intended to make the exploration more interesting.


Above: Yep, that’s water he’s bouncing off of 

We saw three of these during our demo session, the first being the Prince’s old ability to rewind time, erasing the last few seconds of any blunder he might have made. New to the party, however, is the ability to solidify water, turning waterfalls into walls, streams into walkways and decorative jets of water into poles he can climb or swing from. The Prince also has a new air-dash maneuver, which can rapidly launch him at a distant enemy, even if he’s leaping or wall-running when it’s activated.

As you can probably imagine, you’ll eventually have to use multiple powers in quick succession, something McIntyre demonstrated when he ran up a waterfall, leapt off it to swing across a few solid water jets and then abruptly unfroze the water so that he could air-dash through another waterfall at a hapless sand zombie.

What we saw was just a small taste of what’s to come, but it was elaborate and fast enough to give us hope that Forgotten Sands will not only understand what PoP veterans want, but that it’s prepared to give them a ton of it.

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13 comments

  • charlesrufayi - March 17, 2010 10:35 p.m.

    this Prince of Persia sounds like a must have really loved the PS2 trilogy&really cnt wait4the PS3 version it sounds like a kick as!x
  • FreekinIdiot - February 25, 2010 4:34 p.m.

    @humpiedumpie He had a face only a fist could love.
  • humpiedumpie - February 24, 2010 9:17 p.m.

    @FreekinIdiot i really hated emo d*ck face prince
  • FreekinIdiot - February 22, 2010 3:15 p.m.

    I'm glad they've not reverted back to emo dick face prince.
  • Tomsta666 - February 22, 2010 11:08 a.m.

    Man, were we playing the same PoP '08? The game was quality
  • radicallyrad - February 21, 2010 5:54 p.m.

    I'm sure many will disagree with me but that 2008 Prince of Persia game was lame as hell. No replay value, boring combat system and no challenge at all. It was the complete opposite of what a Prince of Persia game should be like. I really hope this one will be good.
  • Xtapolapopotamus - February 20, 2010 8:40 p.m.

    I'm cautiously optimistic for this game. The PoP trilogy was one of my favorite trilogies from the past generation of consoles, and I'm a huge fan of Prince of Persia in general. This one sounds like it should be good, but I can't shake the feeling it's being rushed in order to coincide with the movie.
  • lovinmyps3 - February 20, 2010 7:26 p.m.

    I didn't play the last one but Sands of Time was amazing! Hopefully this can live up to it! =)
  • ihopethisisnotantistasblood - February 20, 2010 2:13 p.m.

    rayquaza what?
  • FriendlyFire - February 20, 2010 2:22 a.m.

    I'm glad they understood the new PoP was too dumbed down for good measure. Yay for coming back to the Sands of Time formula!
  • lucashintz - February 19, 2010 8:20 p.m.

    Hmmm...this definitely interests me. Although I am a bit sick of Mr. Yuri Lowenthal, he seems to be in just as many games as Nolan North. ReCAPTCHA: trashcan G.O.P. Hmmm...apparently recaptcha is a democrat....
  • Ru89 - February 19, 2010 7:34 p.m.

    you had me at its not a movie based game
  • wkdtkd - February 19, 2010 7:28 p.m.

    Yay! I'm hopeful for this...SOT was one of my favourite games of last gen...I hope this surpasses it. New sidekick tho? I was quite fond of Farah. Oh well...

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