I've said it once, and I'll say it several times again. I'm exceedingly pumped for Prince Of Persia: The Lost Crown - and so is Prince Of Persia creator, Jordan Mechner. When I visited Ubisoft Montpellier at the end of May, one of things game director Mounir Radi told me about during my visit was how relieved he felt after showing Mechner a very early prototype. And in speaking to Mechner earlier this week about how he feels about The Lost Crown now, he tells me that "what I've seen so far of their modern 2D Metroidvania take on [Prince Of Persia] has got me excited and very eager to play."
Radi's trip down memory lane began when I asked him how he thought players might react to The Lost Crown being announced. "I just don't know, to be honest," he said. "We're confident in our idea, you know? When you have Jordan Mechner, the creator - because we worked together and we showed him a specific stage - you should have seen my face the first time I showed him the game," he says with a panicked, wide-eyed look about him.
Mechner was not directly involved in The Lost Crown's development, Radi states, but he said "it was super important for me and for the team to respect his mind and his legacy" with the series.
"At the beginning, Jordan was like," Radi pauses to narrow his eyes and squirm around in his chair a bit to mimic Mechner's initial reaction. "You know, literally. But by the end of the demo..." Radi relaxes into a pleased, nodding grin. "He was super cool with it. He had tears in his eyes and he said it was a true Prince Of Persia, and I was like, with a big grin, 'Oh my god!'" he exclaims loudly. "Because this is what, for us, is super important. Everything is on the details, you know, some sounds, some traps, some movement, [...] the kinds of details that could [speak] to anyone who loved this series."
I then got in touch with Mechner himself to see if he remembered this reaction. "That would indeed have been a few years ago (and we'd have been speaking French), but yes!" he told me over email.
"What's more fresh in my mind is the latest version the team showed me, last week in Montpellier, a few days before heading to LA for Ubi Forward," Mechner continued. "Mounir is one of the best game designer-directors I've had the pleasure to work with (on previous projects). The Lost Crown team is an extraordinary combination of versatile talents and depth of experience. What I've seen so far of their modern 2D Metroidvania take on POP has got me excited and very eager to play."
He continued by saying that the Prince Of Persia universe has shown itself to be "robust and adaptable to a wide range of game styles over the years," adding that while Ubisoft Montpellier's work is original, it still "feels to me very much in the spirit of a POP game."
He also teased that "a number of team members were involved in prior explorations and research into Persian mythology and culture for previous projects, and I can already see exciting hints of those elements being reflected in The Lost Crown - even in the trailer!"
So if Easter eggs are your bag, then you might want to scrutinise its reveal trailer (embedded above) and gameplay deep-dive video (embedded below) a few more times to see if you can spot any extra details.
Mechner also recently responded to some of the more negative online reactions to the game (and particularly in relation to hero Sargon) in the best possible way over on Twitter this week by putting out an "official style sheet". As fans of the series will know very well by now, the Prince Of Persia games have used a myriad of different art styles over its 30-odd year lifespan, as was made plain by Mechner's tweet. He said he hopes "this helps settle things once and for all".
Hi, I understand there's been some controversy about what a @princeofpersia hero should look like. I think it's time for me to provide an official style sheet that everyone can refer to. Please see attached. I hope this helps settle things once and for all. pic.twitter.com/Z9pNlnHZ3d— Jordan Mechner (@jmechner) June 12, 2023
If you want to find out more about exactly why Prince Of Persia: The Lost Crown is one to watch, then why not have a read of my big jumbo preview of it while you're here? There, you'll find everything you need to know about the game's athletic combat, devious Metroidvania-style platforming, as well as a glimpse at some of its enormous bosses.
Prince Of Persia: The Lost Crown is due to release on Steam, Ubisoft Store and the Epic Games Store on January 18th 2024.