In case you missed it, Prince of Persia is getting a remake, but the graphics from the reveal leave a lot to be desired. During Ubisoft’s second Forward event, we got a look at a few new games that we’ve been waiting on for what seems like forever. The show started off by talking about the game formerly known as Gods and Monsters, before moving on to the next big piece of interest: Prince of Persia.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was a game that stood out upon release. The story was unique, the gameplay was fun, and the time reversal mechanic was one of a kind. Not many came close to being as different and exciting as Prince of Persia, so it’s no wonder that many were excited to see this gaming classic remade and remastered with modern-day graphics. Unfortunately, those expectations were quickly subverted when fans saw what was coming.
In an interview with The Mako Reactor, the game’s developers attempted to explain why the graphics hardly look better than what we remember from 15 years ago. Apparently, two factors contributed to the below-average graphics. One was a consequence of the engine that was used, and the other was a choice. First thing’s first – what is it about the engine that makes the game look so bad? Ubisoft’s in-house Anvil engine, which runs the Assassin’s Creed games, was used for the remake. That engine, however, was designed to create open-world games, not linear ones like Prince of Persia.
It’s also not particularly good at driving the time-reversal mechanic of the game. Therefore, the team had to try and make the engine work against itself to deliver what they wanted. The second thing the team mentioned was that the remake’s look was a stylistic choice. They wanted to set the game apart from other games and make sure that you know that you’re playing Prince of Persia, not Assassin’s Creed.
We can kind of see where they were going with this — who doesn’t love nostalgia — but it really doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Ubisoft India, the team behind the remake, has a lot riding on its shoulders; India is just now getting into game development, despite its massive size. Nevertheless, with the full backing of Ubisoft, they should have predicted that fans would expect high-fidelity graphics. When asked if there were budget or time constraints, deputy managing director Syed Abbas assured neither of those common issues was a problem.
We can only hope that Prince of Persia goes the way of Halo Infinite and gets pushed back in favor of better visuals. If not, at least we know why the game looks the way it does. Ubisoft was trying to fit a magic, time-altering knife into an assassin’s belt.
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