The Prince of Persia series at large has been gracing gaming consoles for nearly 30 years, but the game that defined the franchise for a generation of gamers first arrived 15 years ago this year - Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The success of this title helped to reinvigorate a franchise that had seemingly fallen by the wayside.
The story followed the titular Prince after he discovers a mysterious artifact known as the Dagger of Time, and is soon thereafter tricked by the local Vizier into releasing the Sands of Time. The Sands begin turning everyone into monsters, leading the Prince to use the Dagger to attempt to undo the damage caused by the Sands; he must later take on the treacherous Vizier as well.
The game is a third-person action-adventure title, in which the Prince is able to fight his way through tombs as well as solve the various puzzles within. Using the Dagger, the Prince can also rewind time (in order to avoid things such as falling into traps or even death itself) or freeze it completely in order to do extra damage to enemies.
The Sands of Time was the first game in the franchise developed by Ubisoft, following that company’s purchase of the Prince of Persia license. However, the actual intellectual property rights still belonged to series creator Jordan Mechner, who was originally not interested in making anymore games in the series following disappointing experiences with other titles. Eventually, Mechner was impressed with Ubisoft’s vision for the game, and joined the team as a creative consultant, later expanding his role to help write the game.
Upon release, the game was praised by gaming critics worldwide, with the story and gameplay both receiving positive commendation. The Sands of Time would receive a number of awards following its release, with a variety of gaming publications naming it Game of the Year, and the Game Developers Choice Awards giving it both Excellence in Game Design and Excellence in Programming. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time would eventually sell more than 14 million copies worldwide.
A film based on the game was released in 2010, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Ben Kingsley. Though it received mixed reviews, it grossed more than $336 million at the box office, and is generally considered better than many other video game adaptations.