Prince of Persia: Warrior Within

Platform(s): GameCube, PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release Date: Nov. 30, 2004 (US), Dec. 3, 2004 (EU)

About Judy

As WP's senior editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games...

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'Prince of Persia: Warrior Within' (NGC/PS2/Xbox/PC) - Screens

by Judy on Nov. 18, 2004 @ 3:17 a.m. PST

Hunted by Dahaka, an immortal incarnation of Fate seeking divine retribution, the Prince embarks upon a path of both carnage and mystery to defy his preordained death. His journey leads to the infernal core of a cursed island stronghold harboring mankind's greatest fears. Only through grim resolve, bitter defiance and the mastery of deadly new combat arts can the Prince rise to a new level of warriorship - and emerge from this ultimate trial with his life.

Q : Why did you choose to add the Powers of Time in the Prince of Persia Franchise?

This idea came in the early stages of Prince of Persia : Sand of Time. As the game was all about pitfalls and traps, it was getting pretty frustrating and unforgiving. So the idea to redo an action was born. In fact, it's a philosophy : dying in a game is not fun. The thrill of dying is cool and it's what we wanted the player to experiment and feel. So, it soon became obvious that we needed to revolutionize the way checkpoints were made in games. Basically, the Rewind feature is a checkpoint that follows you all the time as long as you have Sands at least) so that you can enjoy what the game is worth: gameplay. As soon as we got this Rewind feature, we needed a background to explain the power, we couldn't just say "hey, you can rewind time in our game". We needed to make this power part of the environment, part of the story, part of the whole thing... So we came up with the idea of the Sands of Time, then it was not just a gameplay thing: it was justified by everything: the story, the gameplay, etc...

Q : Will the first game's time powers return in Warrior Within ?

Yes, they were a central feature of the game storywise and gameplaywise. As the story in Warrior Within is still focused around the Sands of Time, we wanted to grant the player a lot of different time related abilities. Of course, the Prince is still able to use the rewind to prevent any harm to himself.

The slowdown ability was changed a bit so that the prince is no more affected by it, allowing him to go faster then his surrounding environment and enemies. This is especially interesting in trap sequences or with moving objects. Will also added some new time related abilities that the prince will gain throughout his quest.

So basically, we kept all the good things of POP : SoT but we also added some other stuff : the Breath of Fate to name one only, is a devastating attack that consumes a lot of Sands ...

The whole thing is that we have, this time, combined the Time Powers not only with Fight but also with the Level Design so that it's not just a fancy trick but we get sure that the game is calling for those Powers to be used.

Q : Are they used the same way? How do they differ from the ones in Sands of Time?

As mentionned before, the slowdown was changed quite a lot, so it is now also very usefull during fights. You can slowdown your opponents and really bash them while they are slowed down. Some enemies are, for example, really fast in fact so fast that you gonna have to ... Slow them down !!

Q : Other than reversing and slowndown time like before, what are the new "time" powers in Prince of Persia Warrior Within?

The Prince now can use the Sands of Time as a real weapon: we give players several devastating attacks based on the time powers cause we wanted to embedded them into the fight system.

The prince will gain other abilities like the Ravages of Time that will allow him to attack really fast for a small period of time. It's like suddenly turning berserk and hitting your opponents at the speed of light.

The prince will also gain the ability to launch shockwave attacks, by slowing down time and then releasing the compressed timewave toward his enemies. This power will grow in intensity through the course of the game and it's effect will range from grounding all the opponenets around the prince, to destroying everything in his immediate surrounding. This very powerfull power has to be timed carefully since it can be interupted if the prince gets hit.

Here again, we made sure that these powers will actually be used by the players. When you're surrounded by many enemies and you have only a tiny health points left, time powers are at the rescue for sure.

Q : How does the time travelling work. Are there 'things' you can go to, to go back and forward in time?

On the Island of Time, it is said there are portals that allow people to travel in the past, before the creation of the Sands of Time. The time travel itself will allow him to go back in the past and try to prevent the creation of the Sands. He will also be able to make changes in the past and see the consequences in the present. That power is not Prince related at all, it goes with the specific location the Prince is : where the Sands have been created. So, in those portals the Prince will be exposed to such big amounts of Sands that he'll indeed gain the new powers.

Q : In terms of design, how did you work to create levels in two various times. Will players have to play the levels the same way in past/present ?

We wanted to give the players the experience of the ravaging passage of time. In the present all the island is ruined and destroyed. When the prince travels to the past he will discover massive, rich and oppressive structures. The rooms are not the same anymore, the access passages change allowing for more exploration. This enables us to work on two main emotions, oppresion in the magnificient past and desolation in the ruined present. But also, the very cool feeling we play with is that we let the player thinking : " Ok, I've been there already... I know what to do in this room " but in fact... no, you don't know anymore : you yourself changed and altered the level design : that's extremely immersive.

Q : The last game introduced the innovative concept of rewinding time. What innovations are you most pleased with in Prince of Persia Warrior Within?

Clearly the fighting system was one of our main focus. If it's not broken don't change it. We knew that most elements of Sands of Time were working really good, except the fight that was criticized as being redundant and repetitive. So we focused on a system that would allow the player to make very simple choice on a very regular basis. So the FFF was born with the idea to have different key effects link to different abilities of the prince. All in all it's pretty simple and fun to handle but allows for a lot of diversity.

Q : If you had the ability to use the sands of Time in real life, how will you use it?

In fact, that's a very interesting question that should be only be asked to wise men !! Because it's such a great power. To tell the truth : I don't think I would like to know the future. But being able to rewind time for a short glimpse can definitely be useful in real life. In fact, the whole thing behind time is that you cannot change your fate : each time you try or you think you do, you're in fact getting closer to your fate.

Q : Is there anything else you'd like to add regarding Prince of Persia Warrior Within?

It's not always easy, but we decided to go the risky way with this game, trying to give players all the basic elements that are part of the Prince of persia franchise (organic mix beetween exploration, puzzles and fights, very immersive setting and strong storytelling) but also surprise them in a lot of different ways and ultimately renew the fun and pleasure in the game. In regards with the story we took some risks also and hope that the twists will work as well as we hope so that the experience will have a lot of emotional impact.

The whole game will be a totally new experience that will be very different from all the previous POP you've seen. When you are working on a franchise of this extent as Prince of Persia, you have to always bring new features, new settings and new ideas in way to keep the game challenging to his fans. In this new sequel, many changes are brought to give the player a completely new immersive experience that he won't be able to forget!


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