Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Prince of Persia: Kindred Blades?!?

Greetings once again, my fellow prisoners... due to the present set of circumstances I currently find myself in (i.e. no job, no life, no money) a huge amount of my time has now been vested in rather futile pursuits of self gratification (i.e. completing each and every possible Xbox 360 achievement in my vast library of games).  Yeah... pathetic, right?  I know.  Just bear with me here.  My latest achievement tourney is none other than Ubisoft's Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands.  I used to have this game on the PC platform and sold it, since I wanted to get all the titles I used to have on my PC on my Xbox 360 console.  As it stands, I'm only 2 achievements away from completing all 40... they're basically the two achievements involving taking no damage from the game's antagonist; Ratash.  I can tell that these two achievements are those pain in the ass achievements that many a gamer out there are scratching their heads wondering why it just didn't pop up, despite of all the damage dodging of any and all violent attacks that would diminish the Prince's overall health.  But at any rate, that's probably the only thing that makes this game (and any game for that matter) downright challenging.

Now aside from all this... and getting to the meat of this here blog post, from my many fond memories of playing the previous installments of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, I recalled seeing a trailer which featured a comrade for the Prince battling enemies back to back as they were both seen in the thick of it all.  The thing that really stuck out about this was that it was one of those launch game trailers (which usually feature deleted footage, or just early demo footage of the game in question) that didn't really appear in any of those two aforementioned games themselves, but still had a similar rendering to a character that wouldn't feature in the saga until the Forgotten Sands was released... and that's the Prince's brother; Malik, who falls victim by being possessed by Ratash.

Here's the trailer I thought had Malik in it... but it turns out
to be the Prince's shipmate; just a deleted sequence
from the officially released game.

For some reason, I could have sworn that I saw a character that wore a golden mask just as Malik does in The Forgotten Sands, but I just can't recall where I saw this... whether it was unlocked bonus content from the PC Platform version of Warrior Within or the Two Thrones, or if it was in the ending to Warrior Within itself.  So in my quest to find this trailer, I uncovered another fascinating gem, which pratically blew my mind every which way but loose... and thus, this here blog post was born...

And the game in question, is none other than the unreleased early version of The Two Thrones (which kind of failed to live up to its Warrior Within predecessor in my opinion, but is still pretty good in some aspects) which was entitled Prince of Persia: Kindred Blades.  So what's so different about this particular game, you might ask?  Well, in a nutshell... practically just about everything!  For starters, the Dark Prince's skin is drawn completely different.  Instead of the strangely flaming black hair with the glowing tattoos and charcoal skin, we would have been treated to the same sporty Prince hairdo, except, everything would have been negative about it... the hair, for one, would have turned completely white.  Pretty cool, eh?  Wait... there's more.  The regular Prince (or the light side/good Prince) in this game would have been rendered with the same garb he sported in Warrior Within, which pretty much fixed a rather huge visually apparent continuity error occurring at the end of the former game (Warrior Within) with the good ending and the beginning of the officially released Two Thrones.  And that is none other than both the Prince's and Kaileena's clothing changing from their blood red and leather brown colors to those angelic pussy white get ups, which seemed to have given Kaileena a remarkably unexplained breast reduction as well.

Here's the good ending (oh wait... Spoiler Alert!) for
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within.  Note all the visual cues
that would tie in to what would be the unreleased third installment.

So then, learning about this last minute illogical planning decision, courtesy of the marketing executives over at Ubisoft, I finally got an explanation as to why there existed that trailer with Farah (i.e. the princess in the first game in this trilogy/and later quadrilogy; The Sands of Time) being found by the Prince who automatically turns from good to evil (for no reason, other than dramatic effect) which prompts Farah to do a backwards somersault and draw her bow and fire an arrow at him.  Clearly, this is a deleted sequence, since the game play made no reference to their meeting this way, and the Prince tried hard to keep his transformation a secret from her.  But... there still exists a yet to be explained error here as well.  And that is, if this is a deleted scene from the earlier version of the game, why is the Prince seen transforming into the realized version of the Dark Prince from the official Two Thrones release and not the earlier unreleased version?

The same can be said about this trailer below as well... even though this is an official trailer for the game, fans were not treated to this sequence being in the story.  And the interesting part about this sequence (from 0:11 to 0:48 in the video) is you can clearly see the Prince in his Warrior Within garb and not the Two Thrones official skin... but yet, he still transforms into the officially released Dark Prince.  Why?!?

My only guess here is that these trailers were in fact sequences that were from the Kindred Blades version of the game, but were altered at the last minute in order to make it appear to tie in more with the Two Thrones official release... like nobody would notice, right?!?  I must admit that the alternate meeting between the Prince and Farah seemed to have the air of a bad ending to it.  Even though the game's Wiki entry states that the storyline concerning the fate of Farah was abandoned in this game's development, I get the feeling she was probably brought in as a surprise guest at the last minute, judging from the looks of that deleted sequence trailer.  Perhaps it was one of those alternate endings you could achieve if you were to do certain actions that would tie in more to what the Dark Prince would do, or not complete a certain set of other actions (much like what you had to do in order to achieve the good and bad endings in the Warrior Within... i.e. getting all the health upgrades and obtaining The Water Sword) but that's just speculation on my part.  I can't say for certain... but that's just what I gathered after I read this interview with game developer Yanis Mallat.

Anyways... I must admit, that for someone that really enjoyed this rebooted franchise, I had no idea of this early version of the game until now... and yet for some reason, I could always swear I was playing a game that looked like it cut a lot of corners at the last minute, judging from the almost complete lack of that many cut scenes occurring within The Two Thrones game itself.  So I'm left here pondering the usual what if?  Well... instead of complaining about the lack of developer regard for fans of the franchise, let me offer them some constructive advice.  First off... release this game!  And here's a clever way to market it.  Just say it's the unreleased and shelved version of the game, now fully remixed/remastered/what have you and bundle it with the original official release of the game, just so you can make it available to the Xbox 360 platform (which you basically screwed many a loyal fan over by not allowing full backwards compatibility on and favored for a remake in a trilogy pack format on its rival competitor's Playstation console).  And might I add that the HD revamping for this trilogy didn't do the visuals much justice either; just look at this comparison below...

And let's just say, for the sake of argument, that The Kindred Blades project wasn't a fully completed game.  Just finish it in as far as your original vision was concerned, and release it as a three pack.  You can have your original Kindred Blades title, the officially released Two Thrones game, and an additional hybrid version of the two which could easily bring those two aforementioned deleted sequence trailers back into the mix, and quite masterfully, I might add.  And while you're at it, why not do the same for the Warrior Within?  Hell... just release the HD and original trilogy versions on a true Xbox 360 platform, and not a backwards compatible title like Sands of Time, which doesn't even allow for achievements to be earned!  You know, much like Nintendo did when they ported the original Japanese release of Super Mario Bros. 2 to the Super NES console and added The Lost Levels tag to it?  Maybe you can make a hybrid version of the Warrior Within as well by simply jazzing up some of the things that were not as sharp as you had hoped for (i.e. the choice of music and the imbalance of action over compelling storytelling).  Why not just include the scenes that were deleted?  It would be cool to see them play an integral part in the story.  Many people complain about the actor used for the Prince's voice in the second installment; Robin Atkin Downes... but I believe his voice is integral to the story, if you factor in the hardening of the Prince's character after the events that took place in The Forgotten Sands.  So basically put, the Prince grew up the hard way.  Maybe you can just leave his voice as it is, at least up until the very end, where the good ending takes place and then switch back to Yuri Lowenthal, who voiced this character in the first and last installments, as well as the Forgotten Sands insert between the first two titles.

And why not consider having the actress that did the voiceover for Farah in the first adventure (Joanna Wasick) to redub her character in the third installment?   Not to knock Helen King's work or anything... but honestly, her voice work for this character was just too American sounding for such an exotic character.  Far be it from me too critical of this choice, but even Nolan North, who voiced the Prince in the Prince of Persia reboot stated that he would have liked to redo his voice work for that character simply because he felt as though his approach with the American accent was off. Sure, this version of Farah is the hardened warrior and all... but the developers just made a bad decision.  Maybe Joanna wasn't available?  It's kind of strange that she only has two credits to her work on her IMDB profile.  Maybe she retired?  Who knows?  At any rate, what you could do is And you would have yet another newly released three pack on your hands there as well... (i.e. original game/HD version/newly released revamp).  It's just a suggestion, that's all... I just feel that with so many fans out here that actually want to see this early version of the game fully realized and the fact that Ubisoft has declared the Prince of Persia franchise to be on an indefinite hiatus, now would be a good time to relaunch this never before released title.  But don't take my word for it... there's even a petition online to get this game made and readily available to the market!

This has been the illustrious (yet genuinely ill fated) P.S. Elliott (AKA: Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

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