Prince of Persia

This article is about the entire Prince of Persia video game series. For other uses, see Prince of Persia (disambiguation).
Prince of Persia

The logo for the 2008 Prince of Persia game.
Genres Cinematic platformer
Developers Brøderbund
Red Orb Entertainment
Avalanche Software
Ubisoft Montreal
Pipeworks Software
Ubisoft Casablanca
Ubisoft Quebec
Ubisoft Singapore
Publishers Brøderbund
The Learning Company
Mattel Interactive
Creators Jordan Mechner
Platforms Amiga, Android, Apple II, Atari ST, Dreamcast, FM Towns, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color, GameCube, iOS, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Sega Genesis, Sega Master System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, TurboGrafx-CD, Xbox, Xbox 360, Wii, JavaME
Platform of origin Apple II
First release Prince of Persia
October 3, 1989
Latest release Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame (iOS)
July 25, 2013

Prince of Persia is a video game franchise created by Jordan Mechner, originally developed and published by Brøderbund, then the Learning Company, and currently Ubisoft. The franchise is built around a series of action-adventure games focused on various incarnations of the eponymous prince. The first game in the series was designed by Mechner after the success of his previous game with Brøderbund, Karateka. The title was successful enough to spawn two sequels: the series has been rebooted twice since its acquisition by Ubisoft, and has been successful enough to warrant a film adaptation, penned in part by Mechner and released by Walt Disney Pictures in 2010.[1] Since its first remake of the "Prince of Persia", the series has seen eight sequels on more than 10 different gaming platforms, from the Game Boy Advance to the PlayStation 3.[2]

Even though Mechner has been involved with the series in varying capacities throughout its history, the games themselves have been developed and published by several different companies. The first two games in the series, Prince of Persia and Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame, were published by Brøderbund. Prince of Persia 3D, the first to use 3D computer graphics, was developed by Red Orb Entertainment and published by The Learning Company on PC, and developed by Avalanche Software and published by Mattel Interactive on Sega Dreamcast. French-based video game company Ubisoft began developing and publishing the series in 2003 with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and so far have been the most prolific of any company in bringing out new games in the series.


Timeline of release years
1989Prince of Persia
1993The Shadow and the Flame
1999Prince of Persia 3D
2003The Sands of Time
2004Warrior Within
2005The Two Thrones
Battles of Prince of Persia
2008Prince of Persia (2008)
The Fallen King
2010The Forgotten Sands
2013Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame remake

Media franchise

Original trilogy

The first game in the series, simply titled The Prince, was created by Jordan Mechner after the success of Karateka. Drawing from multiple general sources of inspiration, including the Arabian Nights stories,[3] and films like Raiders of the Lost Ark[4] and The Adventures of Robin Hood,[5] the protagonist's character animation was created using a technique called Rotoscope, with Mechner using his brother as the model for the titular prince.[6] Despite the success of the game, Mechner enrolled in New York University's film department, producing an award-winning short film during his time there, before returning to design and direct a sequel to the original game.[7] The sequel, Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame, was developed internally at Broderbund with Mechner's supervision. The game, like its predecessor, received critical acclaim and high sales. Broderbund was subsequently purchased by The Learning Company,[8] which was later acquired by US gaming company Mattel Interactive.[9] In 1999, a new Prince of Persia title, Prince of Persia 3D, was developed and released under Broderbund's Red Orb label.[7] Released for PC only,[10] and criticized by many users as being buggy, it was a critical and commercial disappointment.[7] The Broderbund/Learning Company's games division, the assets of which included the Prince of Persia franchise, was subsequently sold to Ubisoft.[11]

The Sands of Time series

Mechner, who owned the Prince of Persia IP, was brought in to work with Ubisoft on a reboot of the franchise, eventually titled Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, although he was originally wary after the failure of Prince of Persia 3D.[12] The team they worked with were also working on Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: their aim with the new Prince of Persia was to breathe new life into the action-adventure genre.[13][14] The Sands of Time was an instant success. Mechner did not take part in the production of the next game, Warrior Within, and he later commented on finding the dark atmosphere and heightened level of violence unappealing.[15] The changes also provoked mixed reactions from critics, but sales were strong and a third game, eventually titled The Two Thrones, went into production.[16] For The Two Thrones, the developers and artists tried to strike a balance between the light, cartoon-like tones of Sands of Time, and the grittier mediums of Warrior Within.[17] In November 2008, Ubisoft revealed that they were working on a new entry in the franchise, which turned out to be The Forgotten Sands, which filled in some of the narrative gap between Sands of Time and Warrior Within.[18] The game was released in May 2010, timed to tie in with the film adaptation of the first game in the Sands of Time subseries, also titled The Sands of Time.[19]

Trilogy collection

The Prince of Persia Trilogy (known as Prince of Persia Trilogy 3D on the remastered collection's title screen) is a collection of The Sands of Time trilogy released on PlayStation 2 and subsequently on PlayStation 3 as part of the Classics HD range.[20] The collection includes The Sands of Time, Warrior Within and The Two Thrones, all previously released on sixth-generation video game consoles and Microsoft Windows. The games were remastered in HD for the PlayStation 3 with 3D and PlayStation Network Trophy support on one Blu-ray Disc. The PS2 collection was released on October 27, 2006 in Europe, while the remastered collection was released on November 19, 2010 on Blu-ray in PAL regions. The release marks the first Classics HD title to not be published by Sony Computer Entertainment.

In North America, the three games were originally released separately as downloadable only titles on the PlayStation Store. The first, The Sands of Time, was released on November 16, 2010 while the other two games followed in December 2010.[21] The Blu-ray version was to be released in North America on March 22, 2011[22] but the collection then ended up being delayed until April 19, 2011.

Spin-offs and mobile games

The first spin-off of the series was developed alongside and released in the same year as The Two Thrones for the Nintendo DS. It was titled Battles of Prince of Persia, and was a real-time strategy game set between Sands of Time and Warrior Within.[23] It received mediocre reviews from critics.[24][25] In 2006, concept designs surfaced hinting at another entry in the franchise.[26] The game, titled Prince of Persia was finally officially unveiled in 2008, with Ubisoft marketing it as a reboot of the franchise, with its level and combat design harking back to the original 1989 game.[27] The game came out in December 2008, receiving positive reviews from most video game outlets and decent sales.[28] Alongside the main game, Ubisoft's Casablanca branch developed a direct sequel and spin-off to the reboot for the Nintendo DS, titled Prince of Persia: The Fallen King.[29] The game was released alongside the main game, and received fair reviews.[30][31][32] So far, no more games set within the reboot world have been made.[16] There have been a number of Java ME mobile games developed by Gameloft, some based on older PC or console titles with 2D graphics and others loosely based on contemporary games but with 2D graphics and different gameplay due to technology constraints. Gameloft has also developed some ports for both the iPhone and the iPad.The First spin-off by Gameloft was called Prince of Persia:Harem Adventures which was released for JavaME in 2003. [33] Specifically, the company has developed HD remakes of the original Prince of Persia in 2007,[34] and its sequel The Shadow and the Flame in July 2013.[35] While the stealth-action series Assassin's Creed shares little but basic gameplay concepts, it has been called the Prince of Persia series' spiritual successor.[36]


In 2012, leaked images from a project entitled Osiris were widely assumed to be the next Prince of Persia title.[37] Jordan Mechner even commented on his Twitter account that the images were not from a Prince of Persia game.[38] A year later, in 2013, Yannis Mallat, CEO of Ubisoft Montreal, said that the franchise was being "paused", saying that "As soon as we have something to show, we will".[39] In the following months, Ubisoft confirmed that they were either planning or considering next-gen entries in multiple franchises, including Prince of Persia.[40]


Graphic novel

Jordan Mechner finished writing the story for a graphic novel in 2007. The novel was written by A.B. Sina, and illustrated by Alex Puvilland and LeUyen Pham. It was released by First Second Books in autumn 2008.[41][42] The story follows two Princes, jumping to and from the 9th and 13th centuries. Although it belongs to the franchise the plot is not related to any of the game continuities or that of the 2010 film.[43]

Prince of Persia: Before the Sandstorm

"Before the Sandstorm" is a 2010 one-shot comic book that serves as both a direct prequel and sequel to the feature film and thus explains the motives and backgrounds of some characters. It was published by Disney press and written by Jordan Mechner with illustrations by Todd McFarlane, Nico Henrichon, David Lopez and Bernard Chang.

Lego Prince of Persia

Main article: Lego Prince of Persia

Film adaptation



The success of the Prince of Persia series resulted in Guinness World Records awarding the series 6 world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These records include First Motion-Capture Animation in a Video Game and Highest Rated Platformer on PS2 and Xbox.

Impact and legacy

Under his associated act, "The Classic" in 1994, South Korean singer-songwriter Kim Kwang-Jin released the song "Magic Castle", with lyrics inspired from the storyline of the original Prince of Persia.[44]

In 1992, Russian author Victor Pelevin wrote a book called A Werewolf Problem in Central Russia and Other Stories, in which there is a short story called Prince of Gosplan. The story is greatly influenced by the game; the main hero of the story lives in a mixed reality of real world and computer games and identifies himself as Prince of Persia. He tries to understand if his life is real or is he just seeing it on a computer display.[45]


  1. "Prince of Persia trailer released". The Independent (London). 2009-11-04. Retrieved 2011-03-15.
  2. "Factiva". Retrieved 2016-10-14.
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  4. Gamasutra - Features - Game Design: Theory & Practice Second Edition: 'Interview with Jordan Mechner'
  5. Mechner, Jordan (2011). Classic Game Postmortem: PRINCE OF PERSIA (Speech). Game Developers Conference. San Francisco, California. Event occurs at 38:35. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  6. October 20, 1985 |
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  10. Prince of Persia Legacy:
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