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Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Lessons Learned From Prince Of Persia
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

IndustryGamers recently posted a new interview with Ubisoft Montreal's Ben Matte, producer of Prince of Persia. The interview focuses on lessons learned from the design process and player reaction to the released product. The cel shaded relaunch of the popular franchise puts players in the role of a new prince who must use his special gifts to assist the Princess Elika in her efforts to heal the lands.

IndustryGamers: We know there's been some criticism about the new Prince of Persia being too easy, but in some ways we felt the platforming was liberating because we could just experiment and attempt to make jumps anywhere, knowing that Elika would save the Prince from a fall. How do you view it?

Ben Mattes: That's an added value for sure. As long as people saw it that way, as "I get to experiment in risk free environments," then that's a good thing. If it's "I don't care about the game because of this," then that's not such a good thing. [The "risk free" approach] was a major part of the design of Prince of Persia. It could be argued that the major feature of Prince of Persia was elimination of frustration, and almost all of our game design choices centered around that philosophy. [We thought], "Is this going to piss people off? If so then let's redo the design" ... I think the solution is not super complicated, but it just needs to be thought of at the beginning. By the time we started to wake up to the potential that maybe there was going to be some negative backlash over how much accessibility there was in the game, it was too late. I think the difference is, for example, you have parts of the world that are only accessible if you're really good at the game. There are also light seeds that you can only collect if you find the secret passageways and the acrobatic pathways that are much more challenging.

The light seed as a mechanic was too mundane because you could finish the game without doing any of the hard stuff. So what we basically needed was a second consumable resource that you could only get if you're a really good player, doing really hard acrobatics or really tough combat situations, that you could then redeem for whatever... a sword upgrade, life upgrade, etc. Because we tried to make a video game without consumables, without a life bar, without mana, without any of that stuff again in this interest of breaking from some of the cliches of video games and trying to do something unique and new and different we didn't have the consumables to redeem this higher order collectable for. So one of the lessons I learned was some video game cliches are good.
Visit the site linked below to check out the full Q&A.

GameDaily: Prince Of Persia Lessons Learned
Prince Of Persia

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