Thursday, July 28, 2005

Explore Babylon in Prince of Persia III

In the last installment of the "Sands" trilogy, the Prince will evolve in the city of Babylon, his hometown. Our goal is to make Babylon feel like a rich, vibrant city?but plagued by conflict. That is a huge challenge for our team!

To make this legendary city feel credible and realistic, our team took inspiration from real Middle Eastern cities: Cairo in Egypt and the medinas of Marrakech and Casablanca in Morocco all inspired the color palette, textures, and architecture for POP3. The preproduction of the game was done by Ubisoft's studio in Casablanca, allowing us to draw on the daily life of the team to lend authenticity to the environment.

Babylon, like most ancient Middle Eastern cities, features a succession of rooftops that, altogether, form a real "city above the city." The rooftops are the player's kingdom. Being a powerful acrobatic warrior, here the Prince reigns as a predator. High on the rooftops, the player will see foes and objectives from a distance. Massive jumps and amazing heights will give players a great sense of vertigo. Conversely, when the Prince is in the streets, the claustrophobic environment will serve to reinforce the feeling of being hunted.

We've created a city full of contrasts: everything from the mighty palace to the lowly sewers, from the lighter "high city" of wealth and prosperity to the darker "low city," home to the poor and decrepit. Our ambition is to deliver the organic feeling of a Middle Eastern city to players, with its intricate networks of streets and its typical "living" elements such as the interiors of homes complete with everyday necessities--vases, plates, carpets, etc.

The mythical Tower of Babel is omnipresent in the game. The player will see it from afar when he's perilously leaping across Babylon's rooftops or even driving a chariot at full speed through its narrow alleys!

We wanted to break from the traditional image of the Tower of Babel established by 16th-century European painters. We aimed to create an original tower, both in terms of its shape and internal structure. In POP3, the tower serves as the Royal Palace. It is divided into two parts. The first part is inspired by the bark of a tree--a defensive layer that protects the palace from enemy projectiles or sandstorms. The second part--the Royal Palace--is much more open, with terraces, apartments, the throne room, and the famous Hanging Gardens. All of this splendor overlooks the whole city of Babylon.

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