One month after unconfirmed reports indicated that a new Prince of Persia game was in the works, Ubisoft has made it official. The French publisher announced today that next May it will ship Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands for unspecified consoles and handhelds. Though short on specifics, the announcement did reveal that the game will mark a return to the storyline that began with the successful 2003 relaunch of the series, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands' release date and story were not chosen at random. The game will be released the same month as the big-budget film Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, based on the game of the same name. The reportedly $200 million adaptation premieres May 28 in the US and May 27 in the UK and is being produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean) and directed by Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Donnie Brasco). Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, the film--the effects-packed trailer for which can be seen below--was cowritten by Jordan Mechner, who created the first Prince of Persia game in 1989.
Though Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is being bankrolled and distributed by Walt Disney Films, Ubisoft is also banking on its success. Speaking at the BMO Capital Markets 17th Annual Digital Entertainment Conference earlier this month, Yves Guillemot said that the Jake Gyllenhaal-led action film franchise could be more lucrative than Disney's Pirates trilogy.
"What we hear is that it could be maybe stronger than Pirates, which did $2.7 billion dollars," Guillemot said as part of his presentation to analysts and investors. "I think this will really help our brand to become a major brand in this industry."
Ubisoft has expressed its desire to get into feature film production and has laid the groundwork by buying the Tom Clancy brand and Hybride, the effects studio behind Watchmen and 300. Earlier this month, it released a self-produced live-action short inspired by its recent hit Assassin's Creed II.