Wednesday, December 24, 2008

POP, Death, Frustration and Challenge, part 42

During development of POP, JC (the creative director and I) would often wonder aloud why so many journalists who were previewing POP chose to focus on the 'no death' element of our game. We were always very careful to explain our philosophy regarding frustration in games and our desire to eliminate it from POP through, amongst several design choices, the save-me mechanic, but many journalists just translated that into "you can't die" and left it at that.

I remember one day after reading yet another article covering POP with our accessibility philosophy summed up in 3 words, JC sent me a one line email: "Death != Challenge. ARRRGGGH!".

In a nutshell, we believe (and the philosophy is shared by many at Ubisoft) that a game can (and in some instances, should) be fun, rewarding and challenging _without_ being frustrating - the key to a truly accessible game, in our opinion. This is what we tried to create in POP.

Ludwig, an editor over at Joystiq, wrote a very interesting piece yesterday on POP and our save-me system and really hit the nail square on the head. He summed up perfectly three years of discussions within our team in his article and I highly recommend it. I particularly like this line:
If you've ever had to repeat a devious segment numerous times, you'll agree that "another go" brings with it the real punishment for failure: your character's life may be infinitely expendable, but your time is not
And with that I will wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. I'll be on the road for the next two weeks without much access to the net so won't be posting.

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Blogger Armando said...

I totally agree, games are meant to be fun not frustrating. I love the new PoP mechanics and hope future games, including your competitors games, also share them and evolve them.

Also I love how quickly I get back into the game after I don't die. Thanks for saving me time in less loading screens.

Great job, here's looking forward to the sequel.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Alice said...

Hi Ben,

Prince of Persia was an incredible game and I found the save-me mechanic to be a lot more refreshing. I still found parts of the game difficult (the last extended platforming section before the last boss especially) but was very rarely frustrated with the game which is so unlike most other games I have played in the past few years. Contrast that with other recent games like Mirror's Edge where I was close to giving up throughout the entire experience out of frustration, and I truly appreciate the efforts you guys made in developing PoP. I am really looking forward to the next game in the series!

1:28 AM  
Blogger malcolm said...

prince of persia was an magnificent game but one question will their be one for psp like you guys did for the last two prince of persia's

1:52 AM  

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