Monday, January 05, 2009

On Reinventing Oneself

Does anyone else play the original Prince of Persia these days and give up after discovering there's no button for wall-run?No, I'm sorry, it just doesn't work like that.

I cannot just go out and kill David Bowie, stuff his body in a woodchipper, and then show up at parties and claim to be him. Seriously. As much as I may like to.

Also, if I were to put on a pair of classy spectacles and declare myself to be a "modern re-imagining" of Gregory Peck, I would not spontaneously become the much lauded star of To Kill A Mockingbird and I would not be entitled to the accolades and acclaim that might otherwise attach to that storied and well-reputed identity.

I say this to Ubisoft Montreal. These are the men and women ("memen") who have produced the game I am currently playing. They are frauds and snake-oil purveyors of the highest order and I call shenannigans upon them and upon all their workings.

They have made a game - and in all fairness it is quite a good game - and they have entitled that game Prince of Persia. Just... Prince of Persia. No subtitle. No index number either rational (Prince of Persia VII) or ludicrous (Prince of Persia 40K). They have brazenly gone out and stolen the name of a totally different game like a gang of shameless digital organ harvesters.

The new game does not have a protagonist wearing a classy white pant-and-vest combo. The new game does not involve rescuing a princess. I warn you fairly that there is, despite some investigation, nary a Vizier to be seen. This game is connected to the original in the same way that Sandra Bullock's 28 Days is connected to Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later.

This is not the way to do business, Ubisoft Montreal. You are being needlessly confusing. You could have called this game Prince Harder or 2 Prince 2 Persia or possibly even Prince of Persia: The Princening and we would have all known where we stood. You put a lot of effort into your game, and then when it came to the title you just got lazy. Lazy, and thiefy. Burglars are only sexy when they are women in tight leather; they are not sexy when they are game developers in tight T-shirts. Please stop thiefening classic games just because you happen to own the rights to them.

Thiefening is totally a word and I'm pretty sure it will appear in the next edition of the Macquarie Dictionary. Right next to a picture of Ubisoft Montreal. The fact that this would be the only picture in the Macquarie just goes to underline Ubisoft's thiefiness.

So in short, David Bowie is fine, he's just on holiday, don't look in his woodchipper, and that could be anyone on the security footage.

Thank you.


Grant said...

It did seem a rather odd choice of title - Sands of Time has already pretty much been the archetypal Prince of Persia game for a generation, and it's the one being turned into a Bruckheimer action flick. Trying to say "No, no, this version is the definitive Prince game for your generation" at this stage is a bit silly.

Greg Tannahill said...

The reasoning is obviously that they want to entice new fans without having them worry about the franchise baggage; that fits in with the generally more accessible feel of this latest incarnation.

That said, I'm quite happy to say that, putting aside considerations of historical context and suchlike, this IS the definitive Prince. Sands of Time is like a really good episode of Star Trek: TNG compared to the new game being like The Dark Knight.

Sorry, that's a really rubbish simile, but hopefully it gets my point across. Where the last trilogy aspired to master the genre and medium, the new one transcends genre and medium.

Jason O said...

Nary a Vizier anywhere? The hell you say!

It looks like an interesting game but I don't see the point. Get back to me when it's down to 50% retail. However, I think the title choice is just pretentious.

Greg Tannahill said...

Well, the sub-boss "the Alchemist" is kind of a vizier. But the plotline is a lot less Arabian Nights and a lot more hardcore Zoroastrian mythology. Everyone gets to learn how to pronounce "Ormazd"!

Zubon said...

Can I tell you how disappointing that made 28 Days Later?

Greg Tannahill said...

I don't think either of the movies STOP you from assuming they're in the same universe. There's no contradicting continuity. Other movies that may be in the same "shared universe": 48 Hours, 9 1/2 Weeks, and Seven Years In Tibet. Possibly the stars of these movies should get together and form some kind of super-team?