Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Developer Diary: Prince of Persia 3

The Prince of Persia 3 is the climax of the Sands of Time videogames. We will be covering several aspects of the game, including Artistic Direction, Characters and Storyline, Animation and AI, Speed Kill system and Free Form Fighting, and Sound and Music.

Artistic Direction

In artistic direction, the developers chose an outdoor environment and wanted to invoke 3 main feelings. The first is immersion, and in order to do so, they used real life references to create the Prince’s homeland in Babylon. The pre production phase (drawing and concept art) was done in Ubisoft, Casablanca. The higher areas of the city are prosperous, compared to the lower areas which are more like slums. The prince will visit interior areas, and experience day and night phases in the game. The second feeling is freedom and unlike previous games, the player is no longer confined to long narrow corridors, for example, the player will traverse rooftops to see the Prince’s enemies and objectives. The third feeling is Vertigo. The player will traverse rooftops with the prince’s acrobatics skills, making him the predator. To emphasize this, they used dark gradients for the low city ground areas of Babylon, and light gradients for the roof areas. Another example of vertigo is seen at the tower of Babylon, where the player will climb up from the outside.

Characters and Storyline

In the game’s Characters and Storyline, they talked about how the prince was the epic hero, and will be struck by the sands of time to transform into the Dark Prince. The Dark Prince intends to assist the prince in reclaiming his throne. The Prince’s friend, Kaileena, acts as a narrator, while Farah, a popular character from past games, will return in the Prince of Persia 3.


In animation, the Prince of Persia series is known for its great animation quality, and this iteration of it is no exception. For AI, the programmers intended to make the prince’s foes challenging, but rewarding to defeat. They wanted to break away from the generic enemy types of other games, and wanted different personalities for each character. For example, they created the Sandgate system, where enemies could call for reinforcements.

Speed Kill System

Innovations like the Speed Kill System were implemented in The Prince of Persia 3. Using well timed button presses, the prince could sneak up on and kill his foe instantly. They used an acrobatic approach to the system, which required strategy to analyze the situation. They also gave the player a choice between fighting and using speed kills. In the free form fighting system, the dark prince uses the dagger of time and chains to perform finishing moves.

Sound and Music

In sound and music, they wanted to evoke the feeling of a town ravaged by war, to immerse the gamer and to give a true Hollywood soundtrack. The princes have a duality. The Prince has a more orchestral soundtrack, while the dark prince has a more synthetic soundtrack.

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