Let’s fast forward to December. At the end of this year, you can bet your game-pads that store shelves will be filled with new Call of Duty, Battlefield, Assassin’s Creed and Super Mario games. One brand name that won’t be there though? Prince of Persia. The PoP franchise has been laying dormant for a while now, a far cry from the period in the mid to late 2000s when a new game was released every time a Ubisoft executive sneezed. And there’s a reason for that according to the developer and publisher. The franchise is “being paused”.
Speaking to IGN, Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat said that Prince of Persia was far from dead, and that the franchise was currently receiving a break after several annual releases in the past. “Brand management is a tricky thing,” Mallat said. “It needs people’s attention a lot. I think it is fair to say that, right now, Prince of Persia is being paused. But we said the same thing for some other brands that suddenly popped up because a team is willing to do it”.
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.
And that’s a solid business plan. The last PoP game came out in 2010, around the same time that a certain Jake Gyllenhall starring film of the same name emerged. Since then, it’s been a silent period for anything related to time-travelling sand. And I reckon that it’s still too early to bring back the franchise. While Warrior Within and The Two Thrones are still some of my favourite games to come out of the franchise, the following reboot took the game downhill with some gorgeous visuals and bad gameplay. The Forgotten Sands was a decent amount of fun, but was easily, well, forgotten.
Make no mistake, Prince of Persia will return, and I’d put easy money on it being a 2014/15 release that uses the Assassin’s Creed engine to create a new title in the iconic franchise. Who wants to take that bet?