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The Truth About Ubisoft's Canceled Prince Of Persia Game

It has been years since the last proper Prince of Persia sequel graced consoles. It has long appeared to be a dead video franchise, but there's at least something kind of new for fans of the series to get excited about. Fans have discovered some long-lost footage of a canceled sequel that has been hiding in plain sight. 

The footage is certainly impressive. It begins with the Prince (who notably has a shorter haircut than in previous games) leaping from building to building, performing wall runs and the like as what appear to be meteors rain down on the city. There are some impressive explosions off in the distance, but the real centerpiece of the footage arrives when the Prince jumps down into the city square and pulls off an impressive finishing move on an enemy. The enemy explodes into dust and the Prince begins to do battle with a group of enemies. He shows off some of his classic time-bending techniques during the fight, including a moment when he jumps back in time to properly dispatch an enemy with a spear.

After the fight, the Prince continues his escape in a sequence reminiscent of the Uncharted series' wilder set pieces. The city begins to crumble and explode around him as he runs through the burning streets and up the faces of the buildings. The source of the destruction is finally revealed when a massive tentacled creature bursts up from below. The Prince is flung into the air by the monster. As he plummets back to the ground, he cocks his fist back for the next fight. That's when we get our title reveal: Prince of Persia: Redemption.

It's an impressive bit of footage, looking for all the world like real proof of concept footage for an abandoned game. The only sticking point is that the footage was uploaded to YouTube way back in 2012. However, video game animator Jonathan Cooper has confirmed that the footage is, in fact, real. 

On Twitter, Cooper shared the footage and remarked on how he was once involved in pitching this potential Prince of Persia sequel to Ubisoft. "Wow — haven't seen this in ages," Cooper tweeted. Amazing work from animation director Khai Nguyen (For Honor) and team. This target game footage (pre-rendered game pitch) inspired our own pitch for Assassin's Creed 3 as they did such a great job making it look like real gameplay."

Cooper then explained why the project never made it beyond this impressive footage. He wrote, "Sadly Ubisoft are generally quicker to cancel Prince of Persia games than [other IPs] because [as far as I know] original creator Jordan Mechner still holds license rights so the profit margins are lower. Would love to see a new one though. I've always wanted a PoP set in contemporary Iran."

It makes sense that Ubisoft would want to stick to properties that it owns full licensing right to. However, it's a shame that the game never made it past this initial phase. It looks like it could have brought an even wilder cinematic quality to the over the top action of the series. 

IGN reached out to Ubisoft to ask about the authenticity of the footage. The company responded, "Prince of Persia is a beloved franchise and one that's been important to Ubisoft's development over the years [but Ubisoft doesn't] have anything new to share at this time."

This pretty much echoes the stance Ubisoft held back in 2013. When IGN asked Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat about the state of the Prince of Persia franchise, he said, "Brand management is a tricky thing. It needs people's attention a lot. I think it is fair to say that, right now, Prince of Persia is being paused ... I'm not scared at all for Prince of Persia fans. We'll find something to entertain them with in the future ... As soon as we have something to show, we will."

Unfortunately, the only Prince of Persia game since then was an endless runner mobile game, which received savage reviews. Fans are clearly longing for the Prince's true return, but it remains to be seen when that could possibly happen. At least they have that Prince of Persia VR escape room thing to look forward to, right?

In a hilarious note, it appears as though Ubisoft wasn't too bothered by the release of the footage. Not only was it released about eight years ago, but Ubisoft appears to have known about it for at least two years. 

A fan on Twitter pointed out that one of the comments on the YouTube video is from Ubisoft Assistant Technical Director Marc-Andre Belleau. About two years ago, Belleau commented, "Where did you get that?!"

However, it appears that Ubisoft wasn't bothered by the video's release. That honestly may be why it took so long for Cooper and others to find it and share it. Whatever the case, this video is an interesting look at what could have been.