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Prince Of Persia Remake Is Somehow Still In Development

The remake of the PS2 classic was first announced in 2020.

A man with flowing hair leaps above a city, grabbing the edge of a glowing crescent moon that is par...

At Ubisoft’s Forward event on Monday, the company gave an update on its long-promised Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time remake. A short, minimal trailer of a candle burning in reverse as the sun and moon scroll by rapidly through a Persian window confirmed that the elusive game is still in development and slated for a release sometime in 2026. It was a surprise announcement that followed much more exciting developments in the storied franchise and a notable moment of dissonance between the publisher and what fans of the 21-year-old game really want.

To say the Sands Of Time Remake has had a troubled development thus far would be an understatement. First announced in 2020, the remake was being developed by Ubisoft Pune and Ubisoft Mumbai and originally set for a January 2021 release. The quick turnaround seemed appropriate for what was understood to be a PlayStation 2 game enhanced for current gaming hardware. It was set to be a great way to reintroduce audiences to the trilogy that put Prince Of Persia back on the map for an entirely new generation.

The release wouldn’t hit its initial release target, however, leaving many to speculate what exactly was happening with the fairly straightforward remake. In May 2022, Ubisoft broke its silence on the matter and announced that the Pune and Mumbai studios would no longer handle the development of the remake, as the project was being handed over to Ubisoft Montreal, the team behind Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Rainbow Six Siege.

The 2020 trailer for the Prince Of Persia Remake.

In early June, Ubisoft Toronto, the team working on the equally shifty Splinter Cell remake (first announced in 2021) said it was joining the Montreal studio in remaking The Sands Of Time. It’s clear that the project is very important to Ubisoft, as it has charged ahead, pouring time and money into the title. But one can’t help but wonder, what exactly is this game going to be?

In 2020, players seemed totally content with a visually stunning update to the action platformer. The original game already had strong art direction, compelling characters, and a charming fantastical world that stuck with players more than two decades later and was even adapted into a Disney motion picture. Smoothing over some of the more obtuse controls would have been a nice perk, and these improvements were already outlined by its two sequels: 2004’s Warrior Within and 2005’s The Two Thrones.

Anyone who understands game development knows it can be a grueling, unpredictable process. Even still, there’s something very weird about a remake of this magnitude taking more than six years to finish and a total of four studios hard at work getting it out the door.

Evil Empire’s The Rogue Prince Of Persia, which is currently in early access on Steam, is a fresh new take on the 35-year-old franchise.

Evil Empire

If certain elements of the original game are being reworked entirely, why is this being sold to players as a simple remake rather than a proper reboot? If it’s being rebuilt from the ground up, like Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, would it not make sense to bill it as more than just the remake that was shown four years ago? Communicating what this remake is (or has become) would go a long way in explaining what players should expect come 2026.

Speaking of 2026, if this remake is so far out, why potentially steal the thunder away from the incoming expansions for both The Rogue Prince Of Persia and The Lost Crown? Both of these games are fresher, far more exciting takes on the series and have substantial updates coming in the weeks and months ahead. Giving them the space they deserve without reminding players of the franchise’s most familiar touchstone would have been a cool way to cement the franchise’s new Batman-like direction.

It’s good to know that Ubisoft clearly wants to give The Sands of Time the love it deserves. Long before Assassin’s Creed, Prince Of Persia was the company's crown jewel, one that brought them to the AAA dance. But Monday’s unsubstantial update feels like an unnecessary misfire that could have been a tweet, especially when there’s nothing to show for the progress that has been made in the last four years.

For the sake of the franchise, we hope this big-budget remake is ultimately worthy of the original game’s impact. Thus far, unfortunately, the Sands Of Time Remake seems emblematic of everything wrong with the bloated, exorbitant development cycles that have closed dozens of studios and left the surviving industry teetering on the edge of financial collapse.

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