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Ubisoft India Explains Why Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake Looks the Way It Does

GamerEDM

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Ubisoft India Explains Why Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake Looks the Way It Does
Ubisoft’s made-in-India Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake was revealed last night. While it marks a turning point for game development in a country that’s not traditionally known for console and PC talent, the trailer for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake was met with a swell of dislikes on YouTube with players and pundits alike commenting on its visuals being lacklustre.

It made us wonder what challenges arose when making a game like this, and why Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake looks the way it does. The Mako Reactor spoke to Ubisoft India to find out more.

“Obviously when you touch such an iconic game our main challenge as a team for production was to actually provide the right feeling of the gameplay for Prince of Persia because it is such an iconic game,” says Pierre Sylvain-Gires, Game Director. “The character is not moving like Bayek is moving in Assassin’s Creed [Origins] or other different characters. It’s very unique. According to the acrobatics, the velocity of the Prince and really wanted to respect the brand for the fan and the player to understand why Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time [the 2003 original] was the first game of its genre and actually create a new trend for the gaming industry.”






Movement and momentum aside, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time featured time bending mechanics like slow motion and rewind. Sylvain-Gires describes how translating these core gameplay mechanics posed a concern when working with the Anvil engine — it’s Ubisoft’s in-house tech that powers its Assassin’s Creed games.

“The principle of the rewind is a headache technically,” he says. “The Anvil engine was not made at all to do rewind, to do slow motion, to do all those time manipulation. The tech approach was a challenge.”

Another issue is the engine itself and what it was originally meant for. It powers a lot of Ubisoft titles that focus on systemic and reactive gameplay loops rather than the straightforward adventures Prince of Persia games tend to be.

“Anvil engine is mainly for open-world games,” says Senior Producer Annu Koul. “The game we have is a short, linear game and not an open-world game so there are many challenges we have to be wary of.”

“At the same time the main challenge was to create a game where we had to play on the nostalgia and we have to give it the modern twist,” she says.“Keeping this balance intact is important.”


Why does Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake look like that?
When pressed further on the reception to the games visuals, the team explained it was a stylistic choice.

“If you take the game that was made 17 years ago, there’s definitely room for improvement in terms of graphism and we really wanted to give a unique look to the game because Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is actually is a fantasy story,” says Sylvain-Gires. “The narration, the 40 different levels you have to go through to finish the game are an immersion into the Thief of Baghdad and all these magical environments. So we decided to go for a unique visual treatment to make this game standout from other games. It’s not another Assassin’s Creed, it’s not like the same Prince of Persia from 2008. It has to be unique. This magic, this fantasy is shown through the saturation, through the light, so it also a challenge to redefine the visual identity of the game with this remake.”


Essentially it appears to be an attempt at having a different aesthetic sensibility versus most console and PC games on the market all while drawing from the well of inspiration known to many a Prince of Persia fan — One Thousand and One Nights. That made us wonder if there was any oversight from Ubisoft’s other studios given the legacy of the Prince of Persia IP.

“It’s completely led by Ubisoft Pune and Mumbai,” says Production Director Sashi Menon. “The advantage of working in a company like Ubisoft is we have a lot of support from experts around the studio and that’s something we always leveraged upon. But the development is completely led from here.”

We pressed further if this visual approach is a result of a constraint in terms of budget or timelines, the usual culprits for games turning out the way they are. This does not seem to be the case.

“No it was not a problem of timeline or budget,” says Syed Abbas, Deputy Managing Director. “For us at Ubisoft quality is of the utmost importance and this is something that we have kept in mind from the start. The project has been in development for the last two and a half years. We have had at peak 170 members working on this project and not to mention other investments in infrastructure and set up to make a modern game. No there have not been any cutback in budget or timeline for the game.”

Stay tuned for our full interview with the studio soon. For now though, it’ll be interesting to see how Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake is received when it’s finally out next year for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One. A Nintendo Switch version is possibly in the works as well, though we won’t be surprised if the reception to the announced versions of the game determines if Nintendo’s hybrid console gets it as well.
 

Hostile_18

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Dudacus

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“For us at Ubisoft quality is of the utmost importance and this is something that we have kept in mind from the start. The project has been in development for the last two and a half years. We have had at peak 170 members working on this project and not to mention other investments in infrastructure and set up to make a modern game. No there have not been any cutback in budget or timeline for the game.”

 

Skifi28

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Excuses aside, nothing wrong with a lower budget game. I think it looks pretty cool. I doubt the franchise would at this point warrant an AAA budget with a major studio behind so it was either this or an HD port which you can already play on a PC I believe.
 

Fbh

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Well...I mean... technically making it look like an early Ps3/360 game is one way of making it look "unique" and stand out from other games (in a negative way...but It still stands out).


The most hilarious part is that they've had up to 170 people working on this. When we've seen stuff like that Wukong game being worked on by 30 people, Kena being made by a small studio that I think is just a couple dozen people, Scorn which is made by a bit more than 20 people, Bright Memory made by 1 person.

And Ubisoft is like "170 people!!!":
 
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VulcanRaven

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Well...I mean... technically making it look like an early Ps3/360 games is one way of making it look "unique" and stand out from other games (in a negative way...but It still stands out).


The most hilarious part is that they've had up to 170 people working on this. When we've seen stuff like that Wukong game being worked on by 30 people, Kena being made by a small studio that I think is just a couple dozen people, Scorn which is made by a bit more than 20 people, Bright Memory made by 1 person.

And Ubisoft is like "170 people!!!":
Those 3 people on the backround have the same character model. :D
 
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Didn't they say it was an old build and the current one looks better? But even that seems like an unusual oversight if you're going to reveal the game and not show off the more up-to-date version.
 
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kruis

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I can't believe there are really 170 people working on this - unless Ubisoft India is such an inclusive company that everyone is listed as a deveoper, including the cleaning ladies, the accounting department, the lift boys, that blue-haired woke girl who posts snarky tweets, the personal rickshaw drivers of upper management and the CEO's private masseuse.
 

Rheon

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When compared to something like the DeS remake, saying this pales in comparison would be a massive understatement.

I've seen mobile games look better than that shit.
 
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ruvikx

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The problem with wokeness in the game's industry is the fact games are hard to make. They require skill & the correct intellect to produce from start to finish. Meanwhile in the movie industry, any nutjob propagandist can make a crap piece of junk on a budget, have friends in the Oscar Academy & review media praise him/her/them/it & voilà, "best movie of the year must see" etc.

In the games industry, when idiots make a game, it's by & large sh*t (hello Mass Effect Andromeda). Games do not = cinema. That's a lesson the woke propagandists haven't yet learned.
 
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Chittagong

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The funniest twist in this disaster was someone on Era suggesting that it is racism and privilege to criticise the graphics created by an Indian team.

Which to me sounds like a pretty racist, belittling take, because Indian people are capable of doing way better, world class material.
 

Siri

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This game actually looks okay to me - judging by some of the comments in this thread you’d think this game was the worst looking thing ever created. It’s actually better looking than most B-titles.

The hatred of all things Ubisoft is pretty strong at this forum - and possibly getting out of hand?

I’m a little worried, because I loved Odyssey, and I really enjoy posting about games while playing them - but it’s a drag when the haters show up and continually disrupts threads by posting vitriol. It’s even worse when the angry people don’t own the game and have no intention of playing it.

I feel that posting about Valhalla is going to be... rough.
 

Chittagong

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The hatred of all things Ubisoft is pretty strong at this forum - and possibly getting out of hand?

I’m a little worried, because I loved Odyssey, and I really enjoy posting about games while playing them - but it’s a drag when the haters show up and continually disrupts threads by posting vitriol. It’s even worse when the angry people don’t own the game and have no intention of playing it.

I feel that posting about Valhalla is going to be... rough.

eh... not sure about that. At least in the “Q4 looking bare” thread a lot of people were excited about AC Valhalla
 

RoadHazard

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None of that explains why the character models look awful. Sounds more like excuses for this studio actually not being more talented/skilled than this.
 
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kruis

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This game actually looks okay to me - judging by some of the comments in this thread you’d think this game was the worst looking thing ever created. It’s actually better looking than most B-titles.

The hatred of all things Ubisoft is pretty strong at this forum - and possibly getting out of hand?

I’m a little worried, because I loved Odyssey, and I really enjoy posting about games while playing them - but it’s a drag when the haters show up and continually disrupts threads by posting vitriol. It’s even worse when the angry people don’t own the game and have no intention of playing it.

I feel that posting about Valhalla is going to be... rough.

This remake is going to cost $40 and it looks worse, much worse than any other remake from a big publisher. Just contrast this game with ...

- Shadow of the Colossus (Sony)
- Demon's Souls (Sony)
- Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 (Activision)
- Crash Bandicoot trilogy (Activision)
- Spyro the Dragon trilogy (Activision)
- Resident Evil 2 Remake (Capcom)
- Resident Evil 3 Remake (Capcom)
- Nier Replicant (SE)
- Final Fantasy 7 Remake (SE)

If the game can't compete visually with current gen games, then at least include all three Prince of Persia games in one package for $40.
 

Siri

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This remake is going to cost $40 and it looks worse, much worse than any other remake from a big publisher. Just contrast this game with ...

- Shadow of the Colossus (Sony)
- Demon's Souls (Sony)
- Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 (Activision)
- Crash Bandicoot trilogy (Activision)
- Spyro the Dragon trilogy (Activision)
- Resident Evil 2 Remake (Capcom)
- Resident Evil 3 Remake (Capcom)
- Nier Replicant (SE)
- Final Fantasy 7 Remake (SE)

If the game can't compete visually with current gen games, then at least include all three Prince of Persia games in one package for $40.

So don’t buy it then?
 
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kiphalfton

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The character is not moving like Bayek is moving in Assassin’s Creed [Origins] or other different characters. It’s very unique.

So they couldn't just reuse the animations from different ubisoft series, like they do with everything else. Makes sense why they're struggling with the game.
 
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nemiroff

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You'd think it would be impossible to regress a game that could basically make itself with minimal effort.. But here we are 2.5 years later, 170 people putting work into it and this is the motherfucking result. Lol
 
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ruvikx

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This game actually looks okay to me - judging by some of the comments in this thread you’d think this game was the worst looking thing ever created. It’s actually better looking than most B-titles.

The hatred of all things Ubisoft is pretty strong at this forum - and possibly getting out of hand?

I’m a little worried, because I loved Odyssey, and I really enjoy posting about games while playing them - but it’s a drag when the haters show up and continually disrupts threads by posting vitriol. It’s even worse when the angry people don’t own the game and have no intention of playing it.

I feel that posting about Valhalla is going to be... rough.

Are you for real? They've just "remade" one of the most popular titles of all time & made it look like a complete joke. Imagine if someone gave Resident Evil 4 this treatment? There would be riots. It's not a free title, they still want our money, so a little decorum & perspective is welcome here (namely, stop with the "rich corporation is a victim, boohoo" schtick).