The New Prince

Other changes will affect even such fundamental aspects as the controls. "In the previous Prince of Persia games you could only jump when we wanted you to jump" Mattes notes. This time, you'll be able to jump anywhere, and what happens next will depend upon whatever it is that the Prince jumps onto. The idea is to turn the world into more of a canvas than it was before, and to give the player the reactive tools to paint all over it. Again, Mattes is keen to explain that he's not talking about aping the free-running experience of Assassin's Creed. "We need to have that Prince of Persia flow: I run, I jump, in front of me there's a beam, I land on the beam, I jump off the beam and in front of me there's a pole. I swing off the pole and I fly through the air and I land on a wall and I run up the wall and I grab onto a ledge. Every step of the way you know what your next objective is, you know what your next target is, you know what's going to happen." Instead, the team wants to give the player more options without drowning them with them, to give them more places to go and moves to make without impeding that graceful dance of leaps, swings, grabs and clambers. "We don't want you to be overwhelmed by choice - we want those spectacular moves!" Mattes says. This has given the level designers extra work, but the levels are still crafted particularly to encourage specific routes or ways of traversing the architecture and the landscapes.

The most noticeable change of all, however, will be in terms of visual style. The new Prince of Persia steps away from the ultra-realism of Assassin's Creed to give us a cel-shaded world of considerable beauty, with a rich, illustrative look reminiscent of Japanese anime, comic books and games like Okami or Ico. With detailed characters, gorgeous textures and a feast of blur, glow and bloom effects there is no danger of it looking old-fashioned. It's just designed to heighten the sense of fantasy, and give the new Prince a world with a serious wow factor.

The intentions are good, then, and the thinking behind them intelligent. Of course, little has so far been seen of Prince of Persia, and until we actually get a chance to watch the game in action and preferably play it, hands on, it's impossible to say how those intentions will play out, minute by minute, second by second. For now, it's enough that the new prince is going to take us on another bold adventure, without the sands of time, but with a whole new experience for us to try.

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