Franchise: Prince of Persia
"Which one is the true Prince of Persia? All of them. And none of them."A franchise created by Jordan Mechner. Originally a series of Cinematic Platform Games, it has since branched out into other mediums.The first game, Prince of Persia, was released in 1989 by Brøderbund Software. It was followed by a 2D sequel, Prince of Persia 2, and made the Video Game 3D Leap with the little-remembered Prince of Persia 3D.A new Continuity Reboot game trilogy, with Le Parkour and Time Travel as its most prominent features, was created under Ubisoft, beginning with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Originally Mechner intended it to be a vague prequel to the other games, but his input was left out of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, which firmly established it as a new continuity. The trilogy was concluded with Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones.Another Continuity Reboot followed in 2008, simply titled Prince of Persia.A Broad Strokes film adaptation of The Sands of Time was released in late May 2010. To coincide with the movie's release, Ubisoft produced a new chapter in the Sands of Time series, entitled Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands.Prince of Persia: The Graphic Novel features none of the previous Princes, being set in its own continuity.
—Jordan Mechner, afterword to Prince of Persia: The Graphic Novel
Tropes common to multiple installments:
- Benevolent Architecture: An uncanny amount of the scenery is implausibly handy for jumping/climbing/hanging/swinging/free-running around on. Which is lucky, since there's a distinct imbalance in the ratios of really-high-places to staircases/ladders/jetpacks, smooth stable floors vs. fatal drops, etc.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: All the incarnations of the Prince are inhumanly agile.
- Counter Attack: Plenty of it in the Sands of Time trilogy. In combat, the Prince is able to counter most enemy attacks and deal them a devastating blow. However, enemies can sometimes counter the counter attack, forcing the Prince to block or counter the enemy's counter attack. There are instances where the Prince and his opponent will exchange half a dozen counter attacks before one misses their timing and gets hit.
- Death Course: Why Le Parkour is sometimes necessary.
- Dialog During Gameplay: From the Sands of Time trilogy onwards.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The Prince is surprisingly competent at this. In the canon ending of Warrior Within, he kills both the Empress of Time and the unstoppable beast that makes sure the timeline stays correct. In The Two Thrones, he kills a god of time. In The Forgotten Sands, he kills Ratash, an Ifrit and supposedly invincible.
- Evil Chancellor: The Vizier. He's even named Jaffar, though the movie Vizier is named Nizam instead.
- Leap of Faith: Used several times throughout the series, such as with an unlabeled potion in the first two games (it turned out to be a slow-fall potion), to a daring leap in the second game off a ledge into the next screen to land on a horse statue (which promptly comes to life).
- Malevolent Architecture: Horrible splatty demises are freely available in most localities even without you encountering any enemies. Try spike pits, buzzsaws, sets of scimitars on revolving axles, collapsing floors, crushing rams, bladed pendulums, and enormous drops — many of which may be found combined as death courses. Fortunately often overlaps with Benevolent Architecture, or else you'd never get anywhere.
- The Many Deaths of You: The above-mentioned selection box of unpleasant exits gives rise to an exciting assortment of death animations. The original game alone memorably had nightmare-inducing clanging metal jaws in mid-corridor that guillotined you in half if you mistimed stepping through them. Alternatives were being run through by enemy swords, impaled on spikes, and hitting the bottom of deep pits with a skull-cracking smack.
- Nominal Importance: Averted. The Prince is never named except in The Movie, and several of the games have the majority of characters go unnamed.
- No Name Given: The Prince.
- The Other Darrin:
- In The Sands of Time, the Prince is voiced by Yuri Lowenthal. In Warrior Within, he's voiced by Robin Atkin Downes. In The Two Thrones, he's again voiced by Lowenthal, with Canadian actor Rick Miller providing his inner "Dark Prince" voice. There was talk during development that Downes would voice the Dark Prince, but ultimately that didn't come to pass. Also in his brief Foreshadowing appearance in the second game the Dark Prince is played by Michael Rudder.
- Played straight with Kaileena (modeled after Monica Bellucci and voiced by both her and sound-alike actress Alicyn Packard in Warrior Within and Sarah Carlsen in The Two Thrones) and Farah (Joanna Wasick in The Sands of Time and Hellen King in The Two Thrones).
- Pop-Star Composer: Stuart Chatwood, multi-instrumentalist and former bassist for The Tea Party, wrote the soundtracks to all the Prince of Persia games made by Ubisoft.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: The series and the movie adaptation get a lot of flack for making the Prince "too white", due to Western audiences expecting everyone who lives in the Middle East to be brown as can be and not even vaguely similar to the rest of the world. In truth, the Persian people were close relatives of the Europeans, and the majority of modern Iran's population could be considered "white". And most people there identify as white. Compare Iranian prime minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Jake Gyllenhaal. Also, read Kotaku's article. Even better, compare him to former deputy culture minister Mohammad Ali Ramin◊, who has a very light complexion.
- Real Time: In the first two games, anyway.
- Recycled Title: The original and 2008 games in the series share the name "Prince Of Persia".
- Rewarding Vandalism: Starting in Warrior Within, the Prince can gain sand by smashing objects in the environment. See Why We Can't Have Nice Things.
- Reset Button: A key part of the story and gameplay in the Sands of Time trilogy. Unlike many examples, this one is often seen more positively, as the Reset Button and its implications are major elements of the plot, not just a way to keep the status quo.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Sands of Time series has many examples.
- Scenery Porn: The Sands of Time series has this as well.
- Sealed Army in a Can: Pretty much any major army from Sands of Time onwards. At some point, one of the characters will even warn everyone present about what will happen when said army is released. Naturally, no one listens.
- Stripperiffic: All female characters, at one point or another (particularly the women in Warrior Within).
- Take Your Time: In The Sands of Time trilogy, some ledges can support the Prince indefinitely, but collapse immediately after he steps off them.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: It's never exactly clear how time travel/manipulation works in the Sands of Time trilogy."Most people think time is like a river, that flows swift and sure in one direction. But I have seen the face of time, and I can tell you — they are wrong. Time is an ocean in a storm."
- Trilogy Creep: The Sands of Time storyline got a fourth installment, conveniently about the time the film is released.
- Two-Part Trilogy:
- The original games were slated to be this. The first game was a self-contained story that wasn't initially meant to be anything bigger. A sequel was made, however, and it ended on a Cliffhanger. This was ultimately subverted, since the planned third game never happened, and the eventual sequel, Prince of Persia 3D, was completely unrelated.
- The Sand Of Time trilogy plays it straight. The first game is a standalone while the second ends with a cliffhanger leading directly to the third. However, Farah and the Vizir from the first game come back.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Throw the Sands of Time Prince down pits or into spikes as many times as you like! You've still got the necessary time-rewinding sand, right?
- You Can't Fight Fate: A running theme that is subverted and finally double-subverted throughout the Sands trilogy, but it's best defined in Two Thrones. Every single thing the Prince has tried to prevent from happening in Sands of Time and Warrior Within comes to pass in the third game, except one: Farah lives. The Prince accepts it in the end. Similarly, Shadee and Kaileena know their actions are futile but go against the time-line anyway. However, Kaileena's motivations are ret-conned into "I knew this would happen all along and all my actions were to make sure it did."
- You Get Knocked Down, You Get Back Up Again: Averted; in the Sands of Time series, enemies can and will attack you while you're down. Fortunately, you can rewind time, block while on your back, or perform a roll to swipe at their feet and get back up.