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 Prince of Persia  Creator Jordan Mechner To Helm New  Karateka  Game
Prince of Persia Creator Jordan Mechner To Helm New Karateka Game Exclusive
July 28, 2008 | By Chris Remo

July 28, 2008 | By Chris Remo
More: Console/PC, Exclusive

During a Q&A panel at the San Diego Comic-Con, Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner revealed that he is working on a followup to Karateka, the first video game he developed.

Published in 1984 when Mechner was attending Yale University, Karateka featured impressive fluid animation that laid the groundwork for his influential 1989 game Prince of Persia.

"There actually is a plan to bring back Karateka," the designer said. "It's a project I'm going to be involved in. I can safely say it's not going to be in the way you expect."

Asked by Gamasutra whether the project is indeed a video game, Mechner confirmed that it is.

Responding to a separate question about the original Karateka, Mechner recounted how he and one of the game's other programmers pulled off one of gaming's stranger Easter eggs.

"The programmer doing copy protection for the game figured out that by messing with the bit table, the whole game could be played upside down, which is really hard to do," he explained. "We thought it would be hilarious if we burned the flipped version of the game to the other side of the disk.

"We figured of all the people who buy the game, a couple of them would accidentally put the floppy in upside down," he continued. "That way, when that person calls tech support, that tech support rep would once in blue moon have the sublime joy of saying, 'Well sir, you put the disk in upside down,' and that person would think for the rest of their life that's how software works."

As it turned out, brass at publisher Broderbund was receptive to the idea: "We went do the president of Broderbund to propose this, and we didn't think they'd go for it, because it would require an assembly line change to actually burn the game onto both sides of the disk, which adds however many cents. So we went in, and he said, 'Sure. Do it.'"

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Lou Hayt
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Abdulah Pouriliaee
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This is like... Nine Circles of Awesome!

Now here's a quick head start on control scheme from a rudimentary standpoint:

Hold L2 or R2 trigger to select left or right side of your characters body. Use the right stick by leaning up and left for a left punch, up and right for a right punch. If I thrust the stick, it's a straight, if I curl it, it's a hook.

If I hold both sides, I'm in block mode and the right stick which is movement, becomes dodge, which if I have an opponent targeted by pressing L1 and R1 to cycle back and forth between available, or double tapping either to cancel combat mode altogether (pressing one or the other selects the closest available[and visible] target).

Now movement can happen while fighting, but intertia affects kicks. So if the character is standing still, you hold L2 and pull the stick down and the character kicks forward. Pull the stick to the left side and it's a left roundhouse. Pull it right and it's an instep kick (thai kick, etc).

Camera movement is player controlled while not in combat mode. While not in combat mode, the regular adventure controls apply (left is move, right is camera, square is interact, exx is jump [or dodge if moving backwards or sideways], etc....)

Anyhow. I would rather something that focused on the fighting system, much like Fight Night did.

Allen Seitz
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That upside down Easter egg story made my day. Thanks. :)

sergei nester
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A control system not in a way we expect. How about strapping a wiimote (Motion +) to each leg ankle and each wrist - and hey prresto ! instant motion capture...and a really sore groin..

Todd Zircher
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I wouldn't mind something like the N64 Hybrid Heaven system (menu driven martial arts based on the character's skill rather than the player's reflexes.) Some of old folks that remember playing the original don't have the agility for complex control systems. :-)



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Why don't implement wii controller... ;)