When Prince of Persia: Sands of Time was released in 2003, it was considered a miracle of video game design and praised as one of the greatest games of all time. Up until that point, the classic series had been all but lost to history, and in a flash, it immediately found the legs to carry it another decade.
Well, ten years is up and the series has yet to match the level of reverence Sands of Time achieved. Most of the subsequent releases have been called simply adequate or hollow compared to the original.
It seems like Ubisoft also shares the fans' sentiments. In an interview with IGN, Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat says the series is "being paused" and reminded everyone that this isn't the first time either.
"I'm not scared at all for Prince of Persia fans. We'll find something to entertain them with in the future. Prince of Persia is part of Ubisoft's portfolio. As a matter of fact, we sometimes iterate on franchises and sometimes we give them time to breathe and time to grow, or time to rest."
Ubisoft currently has their hands full with a much more successful historical platforming series called Assassin's Creed, which pulls in record annual dollars for the France based publisher. No doubt, they do not want consumers to confuse the similarly themed brands, and would rather pump their resources into the larger of the two.
Matching up the figures, both 2008's Prince of Persia and 2010's Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands sold one million units each on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Last year, Assassin's Creed III sold 8.5 million copies, so the math swings heavily in its favor.
It's also worth a mention that Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is also still the best selling game in the series, so maybe a hiatus is what the Prince needs to become financially relevant again.
The swashbuckler has been going through the motions recently, and his development team never quite hit that sweet spot Sands of Time did. Add to that the "maturation" of his storytelling and a ridiculous Hollywood movie, and he's fallen into the category of franchise with a capital "F" and strayed a little too far from his indie roots.
I support Ubisoft in this decision, and I can't wait to see what they pull out once they take the IP down from the shelf and give it a good dusting. Hopefully they stick true to the linear acrobatic platforming and charming characters, because I would hate to see it devolve into lowest common denominator open-world game like every other series is doing these days
I haven't played through Sands of Time in quite a while. Maybe it's time to do so again.