The Rogue: Prince of Persia Preview – We Played the Roguelite Prince of Persia from Dead Cells Co-Developer


    When I got my hands on The Rogue: Prince of Persia, all I saw was the credits roll. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown Before a few nights ago, the last time I saw the credits roll on a new Prince of Persia game was in 2010 with The Forgotten Sands. I was surprised and happy to play a great new Prince of Persia game this year, but considering how long I had to wait for this game, I wasn’t holding my breath for another one – even A remake of Sands of Time I am waiting patiently.

    Which is to say, it was surprisingly surprising when Ubisoft talked about its new Prince of Persia rogue-lite. This isn’t a mod to Lost Crown or a spin-off, as I initially assumed, but a brand new game from Evil Empire, co-developer of Dead cells. “It’s actually a completely new story and a new universe, so it’s not connected to the previous games,” Evil Empire art director Dylan Urlings tells me when I ask about the game’s connection to canon and the princes that came before it. I ask

    But that doesn’t mean The Rogue doesn’t have at least one. Some A kind of relationship with the lost crown. “We sold out [The Rogue] During [Lost Crown’s] alpha stage,” says Evil Empire game director Lucy Deugnier. “From the beginning, we were in communication. They played our game, we played their game. Dewagnier follows up with compliments about Lost Crown. “Since we were working on the same franchise, we sometimes had similar ideas and similar solutions to problems,” says Dewagnier. “We needed to communicate to avoid making the same decision and making the same game.”

    When asked if we’re getting too much Prince of Persia, Daugnier laughs, “No, I don’t think there’s such a thing as Prince of Persia.”

    While it may not be traditionally tied to Prince of Persia of the past, I asked if we could expect to unlock costumes and comparable items from previous games. “It’s not in the game right now. I can’t say we won’t do it, but I can’t say we will,” Devagner chuckled. At the moment, the team is only in the hands of players on May 15. Looks focused on getting the Early Access version.

    Playing The Rogue

    The Rogue: Prince of Persia follows a prince who has acquired the power of time travel his entire life. He’s always had a certain thing that takes him back to the last place he was truly safe before he died, and it fills him with hubris and a complete disregard for personal safety. Turns out when you can jump from any height and fight anyone without worrying about dying, it makes you a pretty good acrobat and warrior. Unfortunately, his rash personality with little skill for strategic foresight attracted an invading Han army and its magical king Nogai, from which the Prince (again referred to as the Prince) Starts the game.

    Thanks to my history with Dead Cells I quickly grasped the basic controls of The Rogue. In a complementary way, the games feel similar. The overhead slashes and sword swings are all familiar, but The Prince is more acrobatic than The Prisoner (a similarly unnamed protagonist who shares the first three letters of his name). Swinging on bars and climbing platforms feels like Dead Cells, but it’s running along walls that feels new to the genre.

    Prince has been running with walls since 2003, but here it feels different. If there’s a wall in the background, you can run over and across it to avoid obstacles and get to platforms out of reach. In practice, it feels like a stand-in for a double jump, but it gives Prince’s movement an individual identity. It’s the kind of mechanic I fear I’ll miss when playing follow-up 2D platformers in the future.

    Evil Empire experimented with another mechanical staple of Sands of Time – rewinding time to undo short-term mistakes – but made the difficult choice to cut it. “It broke everything – the rhythm, the fight – so we decided to get rid of it,” says Dewagnier. “And I was very sad because it was the most technically complex thing I’ve ever done as a programmer.” He didn’t serve the game, so he had to go. “Sometimes something works. Sometimes something doesn’t work. And you don’t want to fall into the misconception of sunk cost and not keep something just because.”

    Overall combat is manageable. On an Xbox controller, I used the B button to dodge enemies, the Y button to throw them away, and the X button for a familiar standard attack. Prince also has an extensive arsenal with limited uses. I didn’t lean too much on this mechanic, but I found something like a boomerang to be more satisfying to use than the starter bow and arrow.

    Along with the enemy combat, I also found some rooms that were purely platforming challenges, and they stand out. Using the Prince’s wall-walking ability to dodge spinning blades and spike pits was a lot of fun, and I’m sure I’ll be eagerly pursuing these challenge rooms whenever they come up.

    Perhaps predictably, the final boss destroyed me. Before he killed me and sent me back to what appeared to be the night before, where I was hanging out with a group of villagers around a campfire. I was having a smooth time up to this point, but the boss was a stark reminder of the challenge I was familiar with with dead cells. Prince of Persia is known and likely appeals to a larger audience than Dead Cells, but Evil Empire is hardly holding back. “We don’t try to make the game easy. We try to make it accessible,” says Deugnier. Challenge is essential to encourage this sense of continuous growth. When asked if permanent upgrades will be available, Daugnier says, “That’s something we’re still working on. Something we want to work on with the community.”

    Running after that, I met another friendly townsman who shared information with the prince about a new place where the Huns were gathering. I wasn’t able to dive too deep into it, but finding people out in the world like this opens up new route options to try on follow-up runs.

    I was eager to try another run at the end of my demo session before I had online access to the build. without reason Canceled by the people in charge. I agree with the timing of my access, but I’m sad to see it go, which bodes well for its upcoming early release. I want to play more, which I’m a little surprised about considering how I finished Lost Crown recently. I wasn’t sure I’d be ready to jump into another 2D Prince of Persia game, but The Rogue has its own identity, genre, and style. When the game enters Steam Early Access on May 15th, we can all start trying our own runs, which understandably (but somewhat disappointingly) won’t represent the game’s full narrative. “You will see the first act of the story. We have three acts planned,” says Daugnier.


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