Preview of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is the latest iteration of the long-running Prince of Persia video game series. Developed by Ubisoft Montpellier—the team behind the Rayman games—the 2D Click here to enter text.action-platformer is set to launch on January 18, 2024, for PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC, and based on everything that we’ve seen of it so far, there are plenty of reasons for series fans to be excited.
The Prince of Persia video game franchise was created by Jordan Mechner in 1989. The series primarily revolves around the adventures of its main character, the prince, in ancient and medieval Persia. Mechner drew inspiration for the series from multiple sources, including the One Thousand and One Nights stories and films like Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Adventures of Robin Hood. The first two games, Prince of Persia (1989) and Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame (1993), were published by Broderbund, and the third game, Prince of Persia 3D (1999), was developed by Broderbund’s Red Orb Entertainment label.
The original Prince of Persia is one of the most ported games in video game history, having been ported to more than 20 different platforms.
Ubisoft acquired the rights to the franchise in 2001 and collaborated with Mechner, who previously owned the intellectual property to the series, to reboot the franchise, starting with the release of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003). Ubisoft then went on to develop and publish four more games: Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (2004), Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones (2005), Prince of Persia (2008), and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (2010).
Several spin-offs and mobile versions of the game have also been created over the years. The first spin-off was developed alongside and released in the same year as The Two Thrones for the Nintendo DS. Called Battles of Prince of Persia, the spin-off is a real-time strategy game set between The Sands of Time and Warrior Within. Other games that use the same core gameplay but give the prince some additional moves, such as rolls, backflips, wall jumps, and combat pauses, were also developed.
In addition to the games, the franchise includes a film adaptation released in 2010 by Walt Disney Pictures and a Lego Prince of Persia toyline. The Assassin’s Creed franchise, also created by Ubisoft, is considered to be the spiritual successor to the Prince of Persia series.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown storyline
The Lost Crown is going to be the first game in the series where you won’t be playing as the titular prince. Instead, you play as Sargon, a member of the Immortals, a group of seven of Persia’s most elite and skilled warriors. As the game kicks off, Sargon and his fellow Immortals fend off an attack on Persia by the Kushan army. Shortly thereafter, Prince Ghassan is kidnapped by Anahita, a woman who was thought by everyone to be loyal to the Persian crown, and taken to the ruins of a former citadel on Mount Qaf. Believing that she intends to use the prince to seize power and take control of Persia, Sargon and the Immortals head to the citadel under orders from the queen, hoping to find and rescue the prince.
Graphics and design
Released footage from the game has made us excited for what it will look like during gameplay, with its art style drawing heavily from Persian mythology. Cutscenes range between fully animated cinematics and series of stills and boast quite a bit of personality and flair. Graphically, the game is brimming with unique visual flourishes in everything from combat to animations to environmental details, all of which are combined in impressive fashion.
The Lost Crown is going to be a return to 2D side-scrolling action for the series, but it’s doing so in a way that we haven’t ever seen in the franchise before, with a Metroidvania structure. Mount Qaf will be large and varied, with a complex and interconnected map that’ll throw plenty of obstacles and hurdles your way. Different abilities will allow you to make it to new areas, which, of course, means there will also be plenty of backtracking and freedom of exploration. And as you do explore, you’ll find plenty of collectibles, upgrades, shortcuts to unlock, side quests to track down, NPCs to meet, and more.
- Biomes: Different biomes in the game will feature their own unique looks and different enemies, hazards, and challenges. Sargon has been shown exploring the abandoned and ruined remains of Mount Qaf’s citadel (its dilapidated and deadly dungeons and depths) and a forest biome close by teeming with flora and wild beasts to fight.
- Movement: Movement and traversal have always been fundamental to the Prince of Persia series, and The Lost Crown is very much doubling down on that. In addition to your regular jumps, long jumps, and slides, Sargon can also jump off walls, swing off bars, grab onto and jump off of handholds, and more.
- Platforming: The Lost Crown seems to be taking a fair share of cues from the likes of Hollow Knight and the Ori games judging by its Metroidvania trappings, the abilities Sargon employs, and the kinds of challenges the game features. You’ll encounter spikes jutting out of walls, floors, and other surfaces and contraptions that must be jumped over or slid under as well as platforms that disappear from under your feet.
- Combat: Combat will emphasize agility and speed. In addition to his basic and charged attacks, Sargon can kick enemies into the air and slash at them with upward and downward strikes. He can also take advantage of environmental hazards—like kicking an enemy into a wall full of spikes. Blocking and parrying attacks are the default, and certain special attacks are also available, such as Vengeful Counter, which sees Sargon turn an enemy’s attack on themselves, and Athra Surge moves.
- Athra surge: Sargon can channel the energy inside him to perform special, powerful moves. His Athra meter accumulates points when he attacks and loses points when he takes damage. Once his meter is full, he can unleash an Athra Surge, with different Athra Surges requiring different levels of Athra points.
- Wak-wak trees: These are essentially save points and checkpoints that you’ll return to every time you die. They can also be used to tweak aspects of your experience, such as Amulets and Athra Surge attacks that you have equipped.
- Enemies and bosses: Bosses are seemingly going to be an important part of The Lost Crown experience. Envision hulking horse-mounted generals, monstrous beasts that look like crosses between elk and boar, and giant manticores standing in your way. Meanwhile, regular enemies come in a range of types and with varying abilities: some attack with swift movements and dancing spears, others take a slower approach and defend themselves with giant shields.
- Items: Various items and weapons will help you on your journey. The Eye of the Wanderer lets you map out areas as you explore them, and Memory Shards allow you to take snapshots of areas that contain out-of-reach treasure, marking them on your map so you can return to them later. Amulets, which effectively work like Charms in Hollow Knight or Spirit Shards in Ori and the Will of the Wisps, can also be found. Though you can only have one Amulet equipped at the outset, Sargon can find upgrades that allow him to equip more. Soma Tree Petals can be collected to increase your max health. Time Crystals can be used as in-game currency to purchase maps and special upgrades, among other things.
- Time shenanigans: Time may be slowed down or frozen entirely in localized areas of Mount Qaf: certain conversations that Sargon has with NPCs suggest that though the NPCs only arrived in the citadel a day before he did, for them, thirty years have passed. Finding out what exactly happened in Mount Qaf and how it affected time will be a central part of the game’s story.
- Farsi voiceover: To double down on the Persion folklore setting and premise, Ubisoft is including an optional Farsi language voiceover. The game can be played in English (and a number of other languages), but if you’re looking for a more authentic experience where all characters speak in their native tongue, you can opt for Farsi voiceovers.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown release date
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown will be released on all major platforms on January 18, 2024. If you preordered the game, you get three days of early access and can start playing it as soon as January 15. A free demo will also be playable from January 11.
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Ashley is a technology writer who is interested in computers and software development. He is also a fintech researcher and is fascinated with emerging trends in DeFi, blockchain, and bitcoin. He has been writing, editing, and creating content for the ESL industry in Asia for eight years, with a special focus on interactive, digital learning.