A few weeks ago, I made my way to Ubisoft's Montreal studio to interview a pair of team members working on the latest Prince of Persia, and it turned out to be one of those interviews where we kept talking longer than we probably should have.
Below is an excerpt from that interview as follows:
1UP: Were you guys disappointed when those first couple of screenshots leaked out and everyone assumed it was going to be a two-player game?
BM: [Laughs] Disappointed? No, it was to be expected, really. I think if you see two characters on the screen, some people are going to assume one of their friends can control one of those two characters. So it didn't really disappoint me to see people saying, "Oh, oh, I think this is going to be a co-op game."
But we really haven't had much negative backlash about the fact that it's single-player. I've been reading the forums, I get e-mails, I get Facebook messages and that sort of stuff, and no one ever comes and says, "You've ruined Prince of Persia because you haven't made it co-op." I don't think there are many people out there who play Prince of Persia expecting a multiplayer experience.
MM: No. But like you said, there was that initial anticipation like, "Oh, is this co-op?" Co-op gaming is fun. I really like the idea of co-op. But it doesn't fit everywhere. So I think people were saying, "Oh, is this going to be co-op?" And then when they see it's not, they're like, "Oh, OK." And that's sort of where it sits.
Because like Ben said, it's not like we've gone and changed an element of the brand where it's like people were accustomed to this and then we took it away. It's just that there was a promise that they thought may be lingering there that ends up not going through. When people understand exactly what we've done, typically they're not that disappointed.
BM: I believe very firmly that there still is, and always will be, a significant market for just the single-player experience of video games. You know, "I don't want to deal with downloading, I don't want to deal with patches, I don't want to deal with griefers, I don't want to deal with any of that stuff, I don't want microtransactions to buy art, I don't want any of that.
I want to sit down, I want to crank the volume up, I want to put my disc in and I want to get lost for 10 hours just blocking out the world in a way that only a truly epic single-player game can do." I don't think that's going away. Of course there's room for multiplayer. And of course, some action/adventure games, I think, are truly made better by the inclusion of multiplayer, be it co-op or more traditional capture the flag or deathmatch or whatever. But I don't think, as Michael said, that you need it everywhere.
MM: I don't think it was part of the decision at all, but really, at this point, I think it's, "Thank goodness we didn't do co-op." Because that doesn't come free; that's a whole other half-game you have to build.
BM: Yeah, it would've been a very different experience for sure.
MM: If people wanted the game this Christmas.... [Laughs]
1UP: I'm curious why you guys decided to split the combat from the platforming. What was the idea behind that?
BM: I think part of it was the desire to have alternating experiences. To have that, "OK, now I'm in my rhythmic acrobatic experience, now I'm in my combat experience, now I'm back to my rhythmic acrobatic experience."
Part of it was the design of combat that we were going for -- this very dramatic camera, dramatic combinations between the Prince and Elika, dramatic pushing an enemy over the ledge, having him throw you off a ledge, having him push you up against a wall, that sort of stuff.... It required, effectively, arenas.
It required a certain amount of ground space where you could maneuver around. We had done tests with combat in smaller areas, and it just became so claustrophobic and a huge pain. In one of the fights in the lair, there's all of this goop, all of this Corruption that surrounds you so your actual combat arena is much smaller than it was for most of your fights, and it really changes your strategies because the second you push your enemy up against this Corruption, he's automatically going to win that struggle because pushing him into Corruption doesn't do anything.
He automatically kicks you back, so the experience is very, very different, and it's done intentionally in that particular situation. But we didn't want it like that everywhere in the world. We wanted this feeling of, "OK I've got some room to kind of roll up my sleeves and do some cool stuff."
Check out the rest of the interview linked above! More PlayStation 3 News...