Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time remake is back to square zero

In context: Released in 2003 for PC and sixth-generation gaming consoles, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is universally considered one of the greatest video games ever. Ubisoft has been trying to remake this masterpiece for more than three years now, and the company will seemingly need a lot more time to show fans some actual results.

Three years after the official announcement, the remake of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is still in the early stages of the development process. Ubisoft warned fans that there won’t be new information or content related to the project anytime soon, while stating that the game still is “very much alive.” It’s just going back in time, like the titular Prince used to do by exploiting the power of the Dagger of Time.

The Sands of Time is the action-adventure game that helped popularize parkour acrobatics, time rewind and slow-motion platforming in video games, winning several awards and selling over 14 million copies across all supported platforms. A “modern” remake of the original Prince of Persia cinematic platformer created by Jordan Mechner in 1989, The Sands of Time renewed gamers’ interest in the series and was even brought to Hollywood with the Sands of Time film adaptation directed by Mike Newell (2010).

PoP: SoT is a business and artistic milestone for Ubisoft as well, as there likely would not be any Assassin’s Creed series without the adventures of the unnamed son of Persian King Sharaman. Despite its historical importance, however, Sands of Time’s prestigious name was somewhat tarnished when the French publisher showed the reveal trailer for the remake in 2020.

Developed by Indian studios Ubisoft Mumbai and Ubisoft Pune, the aforementioned remake did not get a warm welcome from fans of the PoP series. The game had subpar graphics and gameplay, and some gamers were lamenting the fact that the prince was successfully going “back in time to PS3/Xbox era” using the Dagger of Time. Yours truly is a big fan of the PoP saga since day one, and I didn’t like the remake’s reveal trailer in the slightest.

Following the unexpected, lackluster reactions from fans, Ubisoft was essentially forced to rethink the entire project and ultimately bring development back to Ubisoft Montréal – the studio where the Sands of Time trilogy was born. A year later, Ubisoft producer Jean-Francois Naud is saying that the SoT remake still is in the “conceptual” stage of development.

After taking over the project, the studio is “building up the team,” defining priorities, testing prototypes and gameplay elements, while looking at how they can include community feedback – that same feedback which essentially sank the original remake – in the development process as well. Remaking Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time at Ubisoft Montréal is “a big deal” for the studio, Naud says, even though it will take a lot of time and effort to persuade gamers that the final result will be worth the wait.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time remake will not be present at the Ubisoft Forward showcase scheduled for June 12, Ubisoft has confirmed, and the company will likely have no additional information or details to show for the entirety of 2023 either. The Sands of Time is a unique experience that must preserved for contemporary gamers, and Ubisoft finally seems willing to put some real money and consideration into the project at least.

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