Prince of Persia
Jordan created and programmed the original Prince of Persia on an Apple II computer in 1989. A decade later, he partnered with Ubisoft to reinvent his classic for a new generation of gamers with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Its success launched a global franchise that now includes video games, graphic novels, toys, LEGO, and a blockbuster Disney feature film.
About Prince of Persia
Thank you for visiting this site. I’d never have been able to take on the projects I have without the amazing support and loyalty of POP fans over the past twenty years.
Here’s a quick recap of the Prince’s adventures and how they’ve intertwined with mine — starting in the present and rewinding into the past at breakneck speed, which is of course his customary mode of travel.
The Prince Today
The sands of time have come full circle. In 2013, you can still play the original 1989 Prince of Persia on various mobile devices and consoles; or, if you’re a programmer, you can play with the Apple II source code on github.
In May 2010, Walt Disney Pictures released “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” — my first produced movie as screenwriter and executive producer, and currently the top-grossing video game-based movie of all time.
Tied in with the movie release, I wrote Prince of Persia: Before the Sandstorm, a graphic novel prequel setting up the characters and world of the movie. I had fun collaborating with a group of amazing artists including Tommy Lee Edwards, Bernard Chang, Cameron Stewart, and Niko Henrichon. (More about that here.)
The Disney movie launch included a slew of other Prince of Persia books, toys, and merchandising tie-ins, including, most awesomely, LEGO Prince of Persia.
Also in May 2010, Ubisoft released the latest Prince of Persia video game, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, for next-gen consoles and Wii.
A month earlier, First Second Books re-released its Prince of Persia graphic novel written by Iranian poet A.B. Sina, with an afterword by me. It’s an original story, with its roots in the Persian myths and legends which the games and movie share. This was my first project with First Second/Macmillan and the phenomenally talented husband-and-wife illustrator team LeUyen Pham & Alexandre Puvilland, and it sparked our next collaboration, Templar.
Rebirth of a Prince
Continuing back in time through the Prince of Persia video game series… past Ubisoft’s beautiful, controversial, cel-shaded Prince of Persia (2008)… past the previous-gen sequels, The Two Thrones (2005) and Warrior Within (2004)… to the game that (re)started it all: The Sands of Time…
In 2001 Ubisoft‘s founder and CEO, Yves Guillemot, took on the challenge of reviving Prince of Persia, at that time a decade-old, “classic” (i.e., dead) franchise. The project was developed at Ubisoft’s Montreal studio under the leadership of producer Yannis Mallat. For his talented young team (average age 22) it was a chance to show the world a franchise reboot done right; for me (age 35), it reawakened my joy in making video games after a four-year hiatus.
I joined the project first as a consultant, signing on to write the script, casting and directing the voice recording sessions, then joined the team full-time. Sands of Time was one of those creative collaborations when everything meshes. It became an underdog success story of 2003, sweeping that year’s industry awards and catapulting POP back to the top of the charts (14 million units sold and counting) and even onto a French postage stamp. Confirming Ubisoft Montreal’s arrival as one of the world’s top studios, the game was a career milestone for many members of the team, including me; it persuaded Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney to give me my first professional screenwriting gig writing the Prince of Persia movie. I will forever love Montreal, even in winter.
How it Began
…to the original Prince of Persia, the side-scrolling, running/jumping/swordfighting game I spent three years creating and programming on the Apple II, back in the days when a computer was something you could pop the hood off and tinker with. Brøderbund published it in 1989. It was converted to nearly every videogame and computer console then in existence, selling 2 million copies worldwide. For the nostalgically inclined, you can play the original game on the iPhone/iPad, or download emulated versions from various sites you didn’t hear about from me.
Or, you can play Prince of Persia Classic, Ubisoft’s modern remake of the original POP, souped up with slicker graphics and a more contemporary gameplay interface. It’s available from Gameloft for download on Xbox 360, PlayStation, and other platforms.
If you’re curious about how Prince of Persia was created, or about the process of making video games in general, check out the ebook of my old journals, charting the development of the original POP game and its first sequel from 1985 to 1993. Portions of the journals are also posted online in the Old School section.