Prince (Prince of Persia)

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The Prince
The Prince as he appears in Disney's Prince of Persia
Series Prince of Persia
First game Prince of Persia (1989)
Created by Jordan Mechner
Voiced by (English) Benny Buettner (1999)
Yuri Lowenthal (2003, 2005, 2010)
Robin Atkin Downes (2004)
Nolan North (2008-2009)
Voiced by (Japanese) Daisuke Namikawa
Live action actor(s) Jake Gyllenhaal

The Prince is the title given to the collective group of protagonists from the Prince of Persia series of video games. There are three different Prince characters in the Prince of Persia series. Each Prince character appears in a universe almost unrelated to the other Prince characters, save for their nickname. The Prince characters share the common traits of swordsmanship and acrobatic prowess. Throughout the history of the franchise, the protagonists are never given any explicit names, just the title of the Prince except for the film where the prince was known as Dastan.

Character design[edit | edit source]

Although the protagonist of every Prince of Persia video game is referred to as the Prince, there are actually three different, unrelated Prince characters. The Prince in the 1989 video game, Prince of Persia, was designed by series creator Jordan Mechner. This variation of the Prince appears in Prince of Persia, Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame, and Prince of Persia 3D. The remake of the first game, Prince of Persia Classic, however, features the Prince as he appears in the Sands of Time trilogy, rather than the original trilogy. This second Prince also appears as the protagonist in the second trilogy of games, which includes Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. When Mechner originally wrote the story for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, it was suggested the game was a prequel to the original trilogy, the Prince being the same character in both stories.[1] After the release of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, Ubisoft Montreal stated they intended the new series to be a separate entity, because its players would be unlikely to be familiar with the storyline from the original games.[2] A third variation of the Prince character appears in the 2008 Prince of Persia.[3] Ben Mattes, the game's producer said: "We never felt that it was the Prince of Persia. It's a Prince of Persia. There are many Princes of Persia within this fantasy universe that we call Prince of Persia".[4] A name rumored to be his birth name is Amir Aalam, although this was not confirmed.

Prince of Persia[edit | edit source]

The Prince appears in Prince of Persia as the protagonist and sole playable character. He is an adventurer from a foreign land who has never experienced royalty, but wins the heart of the Sultan's daughter on a trip to Persia. The Prince is thrown into the palace dungeons when Jaffar, the Persian vizier, discovers this. However, he escapes from the dungeons, and ascends the palace. At one point, the Prince inadvertently creates a doppelganger of himself by jumping through a magical mirror, but they become one again later on. When the Prince reaches the top of the tower, he defeats Jaffar and saves the Princess. He is offered anything he wants by the Sultan of Persia as a reward for saving the kingdom. The Prince requests to marry the Princess, and becomes the prince of Persia.

Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame[edit | edit source]

In the 1994 sequel, Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame, the Prince returns as the protagonist. He approaches the Princess one morning, but an impostor posing as the Prince is already there. The guards are ordered to arrest the Prince, who leaps through a window and escapes Persia on a merchant ship. While on the vessel, the Prince dreams of a mysterious woman who asks him to seek her. The Prince awakens on an island after the impostor destroys the ship. He makes his way back to Persia, the woman from his dream reappearing to explain that Persia was once his father's kingdom, and the Prince was the only one who survived an onslaught. The Prince finds a blue flame in a temple, and uses the Shadow doppelganger of himself from the previous game to obtain it. The Prince then returns to Persia and vanquishes Jaffar with the flame.

Prince of Persia 3D[edit | edit source]

In Prince of Persia 3D, the Prince is the protagonist and player character once again. The Prince is ambushed at a party, and is once again thrown into the dungeons, but he escapes. He then witnesses the Sultan of Persia's demise at the hands of Assan, the Sultan's younger brother. The Prince pursues and defeats Rugnor, Assan's son, and saves the Princess.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time[edit | edit source]

The Prince, as seen in The Sands of Time.

A different Prince character appears as the main protagonist in the Sands of Time series, which rebooted the franchise. He is the main protagonist and sole playable character in the 2003 game Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. During the beginning events of the game, the Prince and his father lead a siege on the Maharajah of India, where he collects an artifact called the Dagger of Time, soon discovering it can manipulate time. Now in Azad, the Prince is deceived by the Vizier of the Maharajah into using the Dagger of Time to unlock the Hourglass of Time, which releases the Sands of Time. The Sands ravage Azad, but the Prince pursues and catches Farah, the princess of the Maharajah. He learns that using the Dagger of Time to pierce the Hourglass will lock the Sands back up. When the Prince is about to do so, he hesitates, and the Vizier casts them into a tomb. Farah steals the Dagger of Time while the Prince is asleep, and he pursues her, but she dies. The Prince then collects the Dagger, and locks the Sands back into the Hourglass, reversing the events of the game. He awakens in the war camp as his army is about to invade the Maharajah's kingdom, and finds that he still has the Dagger of Time. He invades the palace and finds Farah's room, to give her the Dagger, and convince her to imprison the Vizier. The Vizier appears, but the Prince kills him, stopping the siege on India.

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands[edit | edit source]

The Forgotten Sands is an interquel, based in the 7 year gap between the first and second games of the Sands of Time series. As such, the Prince's appearance in this game is a mix between the ones seen in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and in Prince of Persia: Warrior Within.

Battles of Prince of Persia[edit | edit source]

In the 2005 Nintendo DS installment, Battles of Prince of Persia, the Prince is once again the main protagonist and a playable character. Set after the events of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Battles of Prince of Persia introduces the Dahaka, a creature hunting the Prince because he cheated his death. The Prince is tasked with vanquishing the creature, and in an attempt to find the means to do so, he accidentally causes conflict between Persia and India. The Prince leads Persia to war against India, in an effort to find the Box of Ten Thousand Restraints, which he plans to lock the Dahaka inside of. The Prince retrieves the Box of Ten Thousand Restraints, but upon opening it he unleashes a race of demigods called the Daevas. He is forced to lead Persia against other armies, and ultimately uses the Box of Ten Thousand Restraints to imprison the Daevas once again, ending the conflict.

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within[edit | edit source]

The Prince is the main protagonist and only playable character in the 2004 sequel, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. Set seven years after the events of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, the Prince is still pursued relentlessly by the Dahaka, and is still trying to find a way to stop it. The Prince seeks counsel from an old wise man, who tells him about the Island of Time; where the Sands of Time were created. The Prince sails to the island and takes a portal back through time in an effort to prevent the Sands of Time from being created, which he believes will stop the Dahaka from chasing him. After saving a woman named Kaileena, she tells him that in order to open the door to the throne room where the Sands are being created by the Empress of Time, he must activate two towers. He does so, and soon learns that Kaileena is the Empress. He kills her, and then travels back to the present, believing he stopped the Dahaka and cheated fate. He is proven wrong, though, when the creature attempts to kill him again. He soon learns that when he killed the Empress, the Sands of Time became her remains; thus, in killing Kaileena, the Prince created the Sands of Time. After this revelation, the Prince finds and dons a mask that allows him to coexist with himself in a previous time line. He eliminates his former self, allowing him to take his place in the time line. The Prince finds and chases Kaileena into the present, believing that if he kills her here, the Sands will never be found, and he will never release them. The Prince executes his plan, but learns that the Dahaka is still in existence, but now pursues Kaileena, who was supposed to perish in the creation of the Sands. The Prince confronts Kaileena, but the Dahaka appears and attacks her. The Prince attacks the Dahaka in an attempt to save Kaileena, and (due to the power of his water sword) successfully defeats it. With the Dahaka dead, the Prince no longer has any reason to run, and asks Kaileena to return to Babylon with him. The two then set sail for Babylon, but when they arrive, they find it under siege.

Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones[edit | edit source]

Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones is another part of the story that takes place right after Warrior Within. The story set a few weeks following Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, and the Prince returns as the main protagonist and sole playable character. As the Prince and Kaileena approach Babylon, their vessel is ambushed, and they float into the harbor of Babylon, separated. The Prince pursues guards who took Kaileena. While attempting to free Kaileena, the Prince witnesses the Vizier character from Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time kill Kaileena, unleashing the Sands of Time. The Prince, lacking protection from the Sands, is partly infected himself. The Prince steals the Dagger of Time and escapes, but soon learns that the infection of the Sands of Time has had an effect on his mind. He now hears a disembodied voice, who claims to be a part of him. Several times throughout the game, this voice manifests itself physically, altering the Prince's appearance. As the Prince makes his way back to the central part of Babylon to kill the Vizier, he encounters Farah, who does not remember him, once again, and they decide to travel together. Upon encountering the Vizier, the Prince is cast into a well. Here he struggles with the voice for control of his body, and ultimately wins upon finding his father's corpse. The Prince escapes the well, and climbs the tower, where he kills the Vizier. When Kaileena appears to take the Sands of Time away from the world, the voice vies for control again. The Prince silences it, and regains consciousness in Farah's arms.

Prince of Persia (2008)[edit | edit source]

Another Prince appears as the protagonist in the 2008 reboot of the franchise, Prince of Persia. In the beginning of the game, the Prince gets lost in a sandstorm and falls into a valley where he encounters Elika. The Prince soon aids Elika in her quest to contain the god Ahriman in the tree of life at the center of the valley. They ultimately fail, but make every effort to lock Ahriman back into the tree. They succeed at this, but Elika dies. The Prince decides to bring Elika back to life, freeing Ahriman once again. Ahriman chases them to an underground palace, where Elika ultimately abandons the Prince in search of her people.

An early concept art of the Prince character, as seen in 2008's Prince of Persia.

Ben Mattes, producer of Ubisoft's Prince of Persia, explained that the inspiration for the character design of the Prince character was to express how he will eventually become a prince through an epic journey. Additional inspiration was drawn from characters such as Sinbad from Arabian Nights, Han Solo from Star Wars, and Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings. Mattes explained that when designing the character, Ubisoft wanted to communicate visually the dichotomy of the life of an adventurer. The Prince wears red and blue cloth as a turban and scarves, a sign of wealth. However, he also wears plain leather leggings to help protect his legs, instead of opting for fashion. In addition, the Prince wears a single metal gauntlet on his left hand, and wields a sword with his right.[5]

Prince of Persia: The Fallen King[edit | edit source]

The Prince also appears as one of two main protagonists and playable characters in the 2008 Nintendo DS spin-off, Prince of Persia: The Fallen King. In the beginning of the game, the Prince is in search of the king of the City of New Dawn. He finds a trapped being, whom he frees. The released creature attacks him, but the Prince fends him off. He then learns through a magus named Zal that the creature is actually the king of the City of New Dawn, who has been corrupted by Ahriman. The Prince travels with Zal to find a seal that will banish Ahriman from the land. He finds the seal, but Zal steals it. The Prince pursues and captures Zal, who explains that they now need help from a being known as the Ancestor. He helps Zal find the Ancestor, who fuses them together. The fused Prince and Zal find and kill the king of the City of New Dawn, who Zal reveals to be his other half; the Corruption split him in two. As a result, Zal dies with the creature and the Prince returns to his previous body. He collects the seal from Zal's remains, and uses it to drive Ahriman and the Corruption out of the kingdom. In the game's ending, the Ancestor leaves a message of hope for the Prince, promising that, in time, an inner power would be revealed and new ally would be found.

Appearance in other media[edit | edit source]

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time[edit | edit source]

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a 2010 film and the first adaptation based on the franchise. It is mainly based on the game of the same name although differing in many aspects from the game's storyline and starred Jake Gyllenhaal as Prince Dastan, Ben Kingsley as the evil Nizam and Gemma Arterton as Princess Tamina. It was produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer (the same team behind Pirates of the Caribbean), it was directed by Mike Newell.

Prince of Persia: Graphic novel[edit | edit source]

It's a 2007 graphic novel released under first second books, written by A.B. Sina with artwork by LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland and supervised by creator of the games Jordan Mechner.

Prince of Persia: Before the sandstorm[edit | edit source]

It's a 2010 comic book and a tie in to the film Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time, It was created by Jordan Mechner and Todd Mcfarlane. The story is a prequel to the film and takes place shortly before it.

Reception[edit | edit source]

GameDaily listed his transformation into a "dark character" as one of The Prince's worst moments. They described him in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time as a likable character, while his change in Prince of Persia: Warrior Within was a change for the worst, turning off fans as well as original series creator Jordan Mechner.[6] GamesRadar named the Prince "mister 2003" in their article on the sexiest new characters of the decade, describing his appearance as "rich in swarthy, Mediterranean good looks".[7] His Prince of Persia: Warrior Within incarnation was also cited by GamesRadar as an example of the "brooding pretty boy" in video games.[8] They also included him in a list of characters they knew less about, citing how he grew from a character with no personality or dialogue into someone contemptable as well as possibly being a "diagnosed schizophrenic".[9]

However, they stated that the Prince found in the Prince of Persia reboot in 2008 was even worse, describing him as a "cocky fratboy type who spouted lame one-liners, dressed like a Final Fantasy reject."[9] In an article about the sexuality of Prince of Persia, Gamasutra editor Tom Cross states that he finds the rejection of both the game and its protagonist incomprehensible. He compares Uncharted protagonist Nathan Drake to the Prince, stating that it was not just because he was voiced by Nolan North, but also because the sexual tension that Nathan Drake holds reminds him of The Prince's. He addressed the criticism of his voice, stating that people found it annoying and improper for him to sound so much like a Han Solo-type character considering the video game is located in the Middle East. He found this criticism unfair, arguing that no one criticized female protagonist Elika's North American accent. He added that the Prince was a harder character to like than Nathan Drake, due to him being an "unrepentant jerk" instead of a "lovable jerk." However, he states that this merely makes him a harder sell.[10]

References[edit | edit source]

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