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Opinion: The Sexual Politics Of  Prince Of Persia
Opinion: The Sexual Politics Of Prince Of Persia Exclusive
November 30, 2009 | By Tom Cross

November 30, 2009 | By Tom Cross
More: Console/PC, Exclusive

[This Gamasutra opinion piece by writer Tom Cross explores the negative reception to the leading man in 2008's Prince of Persia, what influence the voice acting of Uncharted's Nolan North might play -- and why one writer finds the backlash illogical.]

It’s no secret that I am a fan of Ubisoft's most recent Prince of Persia game, and that I find the criticism leveled at that game to be puzzling. In some ways, the rejection of the game (and of the Prince especially) always struck me as incomprehensible.

Recently, while playing Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, I was reminded of the Prince, and not just because Nolan North voices both Drake and the Prince. Specifically, the sexual tension in Among Thieves reminded me of that less well-developed, much-maligned tension in Prince of Persia.

A lot of people were annoyed by the Prince’s voice. They were annoyed by the way he sounded, and the way he talked, and what he said. I think that there's something interesting about what they didn't like about him, and about what they aren't saying when they say they don't like him. One especially common reaction went as follows: “The Prince sounds like a callow frat boy, and he has too many muscles.”

Likewise, people found the sexual nature of some of the Prince and Elika’s conversations unpleasant or off-putting. It’s too sexualized and too plainly stated (by the main characters), they said, and it would be better if their changing relationship was implied.

pop7.JPGNot Quite "Persian" Enough, Thank You

So what can we learn from these critiques? They are angry that he isn't more Orientalized than the game is (and than the Prince has been historically). Yes, he and Elika travel through a majestic kingdom whose architecture owes a lot to Middle Eastern cultures and their architecture. Once you play the game, you cannot deny this fact.

What bugs people about the Prince is that he sounds like “a dude”. An American guy. An American guy very much in the Han Solo/Rogue mold of various popular stories and films.

What's wrong with that? Elika has an American (or otherwise tonally North American -- I'm not an expert) accent. No one ridiculed Elika and maligned her for being too American or too much of an American. It's the Prince that bugged them, and specifically, the way Nolan North plays him.

Now, don't get me wrong, I will be happy when the games industry wakes up and realizes that there is more than one charismatic voice-actor leading man. Eventually they will realize that there are cowardly, excitable, dour, frightened, and whiny leading men.

Hopefully, by this point, they will realize that there are great female voice actors, who voice lots of different kinds of women (like Kari Wahlgren, the actress who plays Elika, I'd argue). They will realize that there are all of these actors, and that those actors are competent and capable! They are out there, waiting to be offered great roles, working with companies who realize that the actors in their games are assets, not hideous necessities.

pop_4.jpgI Ain't in This For Your Revolution, Sweetheart

But back to Nolan North. He plays a variation on his Nathan Drake persona, taking away some charm and adding a few rougher, abrasive edges. Reviewers’ reticence toward this one man playing two similar roles is confusing. Maybe Nolan North can be a little one-note, but it doesn't mean he isn't acting. As the Prince, he is a little more Han Solo/Harrison Ford, and a little more introspective.

He's less of a "lovable jerk" and more of an "unrepentant jerk." I'm not sure what the difference is precisely (aside from the dearth of repenting), but he is definitely a harder character to like, at first. He has to earn our (and Elika's) trust and approval.

He may rub us and Elika the wrong way (more) at first, but he is stubbornly, boorishly loyal, fearless (while whining a lot), and good for entertaining conversations about choice, theater, and human frailty and fallibility. Essentially, he is a harder sell.

Nathan Drake is light, flippant, and just plain fun, whereas players actually have to invest time and energy into creating a relationship with the Prince. This is something gamers are loath to do, even when faced with characters written by grown-ups, characters who have actual character to them.

But that's not what pissed off all of those journalists. What pissed them off was that the Prince had the temerity to sound like something other than what they all unthinkingly assumed a "Persian" (already a hilarious, broken connection, as no Prince in any PoP game has been even tenuously related to the already vague “Persia” in gamers’ heads) Prince would sound like: an Englishman.

He also had the gall to be well muscled, while we (apparently) expect our vaguely ethnic Princes to be lithe young men, full of mysterious, doleful ennui.

pop_9.JPGA Little British Goes a Long Way

We all know that when it comes to accents and characters, English is code for "foreign," or "foreign and not white, but almost white." It's how we stomach the ludicrously British cast of Rome, or the original cast of Sands of Time. Britishness is automatically equated with foreignness. Here’s one example of the vitriol engendered by the Prince’s new style:

“Having stumbled upon a Princess in peril while out hunting for his wayward donkey, the Americanised Prince falls into a divine battle between the forces of good and evil, and proceeds to wisecrack and Brendan-Fraser his way through an occasionally delicate story of restoring life to a corrupted fantasy world of epic palaces and Skies-of-Arcadian technology."

"His antics are almost as destructive to the ambiance as the formerly caged God of Darkness, Ahriman, is to the environment, and his jarring dialogue and delivery persistently overshadow wistful, majestic graphics and his more serious and likeable new female counterpart, who rarely gets a chance to project the character her few monologues attempt to establish. With an oddly small, immobile head atop bulging musculature, the Prince looks awkward in his own skin, and he certainly feels out of place in his own game.”

So there's one knock against him: he's only mildly Orientalized (Ubisoft has taken this series so far in the direction of "mysterious East/West mash up,” that the Prince and Elika’s ethnicity is incomprehensible, no matter what metric you use), as opposed to the tried-and-true white-face/voice shtick we're used to. Here, he has a white voice and a mostly white face.

The idea that this is somehow less “authentic” than the hero in Sands of Time is at once highly problematic (how and why are either of them “authentic,” and what does that mean?) and almost completely meaningless.

pop_8.JPG"Nice Guys" and Our Expectations Meet

But that's just the beginning of it, as shown in the above quote. People really don't like the Prince because he's a dude. Now, I don't mean like The Dude. I don't mean like Dude Where's My Car. I mean he's the kind of guy who (when he isn't philosophizing with a princess or being chased buy evil gods) wants nothing more than money, drink, and companionship of his preferred sex.

And this pisses off a lot of people. It doesn't piss them off because the hero is a heteronormative jerk who spends the first few hours of the game mocking someone who saves his life at regular intervals. Likewise, no one speaks out about the game’s simplistically written, stereotypically plotted Concubine, a woman scorned, of course, who takes her revenge in the throatiest voice possible. Is this what a powerful woman in a game is, especially when compared to the far-from-reprehensible Elika?

This last should not be taken as a statement that the Prince is not an attractive (potentially) character to some players. In fact, to simply say that the Prince is an ass, therefore he is not worthy of the story/Elika/our time is reductive and misleading. It may be a common, annoying trope that the asshole is really a Nice Guy (and stems from a problematic assumption about male relationships with perspective female partners), but that, again, is not what people find alarming.

If it were, I would understand: the Prince's "Nice Guy" status has difficulty changing into nice guy (read: actually good or nice) status. He is at best a problematic, dubious hero. In fact, he's far more of an anti-hero than most suppose anti-hero bad boys in video games. Still: this is not what people dislike, not specifically.

We are shown that while the Prince makes bad decisions, he makes them because he is a somewhat deep, multi-faceted character. His ultimate betrayal of Elika’s trust and desires is actually quite interesting, if one cares about the complexity (but not necessarily the quality!) of his character: it shows him for the troubled, selfish, not-necessarily good person that he is. It also asks us to question how he and Elika can be attracted to one another, even if she knows his sense of morals and necessity differs vastly from hers.

pop_3.JPGThe Prince's Failure is a Good Thing... For Us

If one follows the story of the game to its conclusion (including the Epilogue), you’ll find that Elika, reeling from her “new” life, the Prince’s betrayal, and the burden that has, once more, been placed on her shoulders, abandons him, paying him back for his betrayal. I like the place where the story ended (in the Epilogue): it made sense for both characters, and I think it completely vindicates the authors’ choices concerning the Prince’s deep flaws, the flaws journalists and gamers seem to hate.

They want you to believe that they dislike the Prince because he is a shallow, callow, and stupid lead character, who isn’t interesting or complicated enough. This is of course, untrue (as the game’s writing ably proves, again and again).

In fact, I find the writing in this game to be good because it takes a person who acts and sounds like a jerk and shows that he is flawed, but shows that he can create a meaningful relationship with another person. Furthermore, it tells a story of another person, equally as complex as the Prince, whose feelings grow for him, as his grow in kind.

That flimsy argument regarding the Prince’s crass, asinine first impression may be why they dislike him publicly. But I would argue that it partially aggravates them because the Prince and Elika are both sexually aware and unafraid of expressing themselves in a sexual manner, and for some gamers, that can be dangerous, worrisome territory.

[Tom Cross writes for Gamers' Temple and Popmatters, is the Associate Editor at Sleeper Hit, and blogs about games at Delayed Responsibility. You can contact him at romain47 at gmail dot com.]

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Kimberly Unger
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Hi Tim!

Excellent look at the reactions to this game (and more to the point, the main character). As a longtime POP fan myself, I have to agree, I didn't like the new Prince at first, and had very much the same *omg, they made him a frat-boy* reaction when I first opened the game.

The thing I think you may be confusing, however is the "British accent = foreign" concept with a larger change in the Prince's demeanor and attitude. When the Prince first made the jump to 3d, and more clearly so in Sands of time, he was a refined, well-bred character who had fallen from grace. One of the attractive things about him was this refinement, he was a more Clooney-esque action hero. The British accent certainly enforced this perception, but that could have been handled without that accent being present, or with just about any other accent being used in its place. The more "Americanized" version of the Prince is lacking this underlying refinement, in action, in language, in attitude. It's possible to do, there are plenty of leading "American" chararacters that bring through this level or refinement.

I think the Prince could have pulled off the overt sexualization if a touch of this refinement had remained, it was one of the things that made his somewhat negative attitude towards women in Sands of Time tolerable, it's the kind of thing that lets us like James Bond despite the fact that he is also an extremely over, sexualized character. As it stands now, however, the verbal antics of the current Prince are very juvenile and simply not what we have been brought to expect from earlier versions.

It has, I think, nothing to do with him not being "Persian" enough, but rather to do with him not being "Prince" enough.

Nick Wiggill
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Hi Tom,

Appreciate your broaching this topic, it can take a bit of courage when it comes to these sorts of matters, because the water tends to be quite deep, so to speak. I haven't played the game nor have I read any reviews on it aside from what I've read here. But it is an interesting topic and one worth discussing.

I'd like to start off by saying that I think there is resentment in countries across the world about the proliferation of American or "Americanized" media, and the continuous portrayal of this kind of character as being some sort of an ideal (else why would you be playing him?). The genericisation of every concept (even something as blatantly foreign as the Prince of PERSIA) into any westernised "norm" is, frankly, offensive to many, including westerners. I say this as a born-and-bred westerner, but notably as a non-American. The unfortunate catch-22 here is that people from other countries who may want to portray heroism etc. differently, have little power to do so, economically and in terms of media reach. This is simply one of the truths of media power, geopolitically speaking, in the world today.

This relates to a topic I was discussing with peers recently on having the ability to relate to the character one plays. I believe that as long as the older Prince of Persia games said a lot less about the character, they were able to maintain a much tighter bond between the player and that character. Sometimes, less is more, and had they said less about the personality, ethnicity, culture etc. of the character, they may well have been doing themselves an unacknowledged favour. This is not the same as going for "all things to all people" a.k.a "flavourless mush", but rather, if we look at the success of the original PoP games, we can see how we are separated from the character a great deal, often due to yesteryear's technology limits, and this allowed player imaginations to roam freer, thus allowing each individual player to interpret the world in a way that was more agreeable to him or her. This is something we can find in good painting and literature as well. Media today feels the need to make everything so explicit that it leaves people with no room to use their imaginations. This is sad, because we're told that the mind thrives on the ability to "fill in the gaps".

This brings me to my second point, on the topic of explicit sexuality. While we must assume that players are old enough to handle this and aren't of some extremely conservative belief, I think we go on to mistakenly assume that one person's sexual tastes are the same as another's, and that is a grave mistake.

By being too explicit, you can easily turn people off to gameplay. Rhetorically speaking, does your idea of romance, sexuality and even love come anywhere close to what the game designers have portrayed your character as being involved in? One must remember with topics that are inherently very personal e.g. love and religion among others, that people very often don't *want* to know. They aren't interested in the details, because they have very specific and personal ideas of how these things work in real life, and they quite probably aren't remotely interested in some anonymous game designer's idea thereof. In fact I think a lot of people feel their intelligence being insulted, and they don't really play games to have an imposed love-life and so on anyway (clearly not always true!). I think that while there is a place for this, people very often pick up a game to enjoy far simpler things.

Bear in mind that I'm not talking about everyone here. In fact I may be mistaken for the larger segment of the gamer population. But in discussing the above, I'm trying to put this into perspective from the point of view of those who *do* feel differently, such as myself. I think there is a certain grace to leaving many things unsaid in a story.

Lastly, I think that as games grow more and more realistic, the concept of having an avatar whose personality and exploits are set in stone becomes more and more of a limitation to players, who identify in a very real and physical sense with their characters. It's different when you watch a movie or read a book. Much as you may identify with lead characters in those media, he or she is *not*, in truth, your alter ego, as those are non-interactive media.

sam darley
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I personally felt that the Prince bore a good number of similarities to Disney's version of Aladdin, which was hardly an unpopular or unsuccessful film.

Robert Marney
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Nolan North is not the problem with Prince of Persia's lead character. Neither is the lack of any Persian aspects, since the game is no longer set in Persia with a Persian supporting cast. The problems are his general lack of heroism, lack of character development, his abuse of Elika, and the game's nonlinearity.

The Prince in Sands of Time is also arrogant, non-Persian, and responsible for unleashing an ancient evil. Over the course of the game, he comes to realize his mistakes and works to correct them, he develops genuine feelings for Farah and stops mocking her, and he saves the day. Elika is aloof, non-Persian, etc. but also slowly grows to like the Prince, never whines about her duty, and eventually matches the Prince's banter with some cutting rejoinders.

The Prince doesn't do any of these things, and even his mitigating scenes are buried under line after line of leaden exposition and unhelpful "hints" and optional push-to-talk buttons. Heaven forbid someone do the Concubine section first, then be confused as to why the Prince and Elika are so cold and distant when fighting the Hunter!

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

E. Daniel Arey
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Hey Tom,

Very interesting article. I have an interesting perspective on this as I was Creative Director at Naughty Dog helping to develop Nathan Drake and the Uncharted franchise, as well as a writer on the first game. I can tell you from our experience that there is a fine line between jerk and lovable rogue. We developed Nathan Drake determined to make him more human and accessible than most videogame heroes.

Heroes can be cocky, (in fact, if they’re not, you run the equal risk of making them inactive and only reactive – the kiss of death), but if a hero constantly shows their human side, we relate and forgive any seeming overconfidence because we’ve all been there.

The whole team, as well as myself, Amy, and Evan thought the reason characters like Han Solo (and his emotional twin, Indiana Jones) are likable is the fact that these characters constantly butt up against their frailty and often get in way over their head, barely finding a way out of predicaments. We can all relate to that! Couple this lovable trait with humor and a quirkiness about life, and you get a character you want to watch and play. (The kind of person you’d like to go have a few beers with.)

That was our intention, and we worked hard at developing the character to not conform to expectations. (From the baseball tee-shirt to the way he talks.) Then Nolan North comes into auditions and just knocks it out of the park! Nolan is a great actor, but also Nolan is Nathan! He’s a lovable rogue in many ways, and in another life Nolan would have been running booze or coming up with pithy lines while exchanging punches ala Sam Spade.) Nolan added dimension and humor to Drake that we didn’t foresee. That’s the magic of collaboration.

We all worked very hard to make sure Nathan never became an overly macho, testosterone seeping sexist (which does work for Bond, by the way!), or the many forms of expected, cardboard cutout superhero. And believe me, in the action adventure business, it’s easy to fall into the trap. Heck, we all want to be and play those action oriented, confident heroes! Escapism is a big part of our value proposition. But in truth, we all respond at a deeper level to what we really are. Heroes like us.

And as you said, there are many flavors of hero, and the game industry is still evolving this part of the art form. When it comes down to it, it’s about deeper character development, a solid and unflinching commitment to avoid the cliché traits, lines, and pat emotional responses which make characters flat and uninteresting. (And we all fail at this from time to time. Great writing and powerful “gametelling” is hard to do. In many ways much harder then film and TV.)

I don’t believe POP falls prey to all of the sins we see discussed on forums, but I know how easy it is to turn off an audience, and once you lose them, it’s hard to get them back on you and your character’s side.

Christopher Braithwaite
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Apparently I'm one of the few people who enjoyed the Prince a great deal. However I do have a knack for loving games that are shunned by most gamers (at least he's in good company with Cate Archer, Jade and Gum). I'm not typically a fan of Mr. Gung-ho Americana but in this case I think the Prince's irreverent tone was pitch perfect for Prince of Persia. In fact, his lack of heroism and selfishness is refreshing in a genre that assumes the player wants to "save the world." The Prince, just like the gamer, needs a reason to care about the world he is asked to save and by not taking that for granted Ubisoft has created a much more believable and interesting character.

I think a lot of Sands of Time fans have a hard time accepting an entirely different person as the Prince. On some level I think they would have rejected anyone who did not resemble the prince from Sands of Time. Having been a fan of Prince of Persia from the first DOS game way back when, reinvention of the Prince is one of the hallmarks of the franchise to me. I want to see different takes on the Prince and I don't necessarily expect all the princes to behave the same way or even represent the same person. All that is required for a PoP game to be "authentic" is a "prince", a "princess", swashbuckling, acrobatics, deadly traps, vaguely Middle Eastern architecture and magic.

BTW, I absolutely despise Nathan Drake with a white hot hatred, so diffr'nt strokes I guess.

Glenn Storm
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Nice article, Tom.

Daniel, thank you for that comment. You just spilled plenty of useful nuts and bolts.

Bob Stevens
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I don't have any vested interest or even know what you're talking about since I haven't played any Prince of Persia game in a good 15 years, but this article seems to be full of assumptions you can't back up.

Case in point: "That flimsy argument regarding the Prince’s crass, asinine first impression may be why they dislike him publicly. But I would argue that it partially aggravates them because the Prince and Elika are both sexually aware and unafraid of expressing themselves in a sexual manner, and for some gamers, that can be dangerous, worrisome territory."

Come on, you can't possibly back that up. Maybe people don't like playing games where the lead character is a douche. How you get from that to some sort of insecurity about sexual awareness is beyond me. Also I'm confused how you derived your "foreign = British accent" assumption as well.

You're putting words in the mouths of people you disagree with and then disagreeing with the words you put in their mouth. That's called constructing a straw man, and it seems to be the entire point of this article.

Thomas Cross
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@ Daniel: Thanks for your comment Daniel. I think that Naughty Dog did (what you outlined) this perfectly with Nathan Drake, in both the first and the second game. He may have bits and pieces that aren't lovable, but in the end, he always wins you over. I feel like the Prince was a tougher sell, but I don't think that's a bad thing. I think he just came from a place that was trickier to understand (and that some people obviously disagree with). But I also think that we'd be fools to dismiss heroes we don't like completely or totally, or dismiss the stories surrounding them.

@ Bob: Well, the English=foreign thing is quite well-documented. If you watch any recent (or older) movie, British is _always_ coded as foreign. Christopher Lee played (hilariously) Nehru, the House of the Spirits movie was all-British (Esteban was played by Jeremy Irons!), English accents are often donned for historical, _non-english_ parts and roles (the forthcoming "The Last Station" Tolstoy pic, The Illusionist, amusingly, and really any Middle Eastern/European historical setting), and all movies set in Greece, and/or Rome get the English treatment (even trash like "300" has a bunch of folks from the Isles speaking their lines).

@ Kimberly: This might be true, but (and this is obviously highly subjective) I like the idea that a Prince (of any kind) might be less than refined. In fact, some of my favorite fictional monarchs are as rough and rugged (if you will) as any character played by Burt Reynolds or Harrison Ford. I'm happy to see different side of the Princely coin, as it were.

@ Nick: Less might be more in some places, but in the land of video games, the bizarrely inverse relationship between reality and sexual expression in the everyday is staggering. Point: have you ever met people who act like the hyper-sexualized women and carefully "masculine" men in most games? I have never met the former, and I hardly ever meet (unless I'm going out of my way) the latter Have you ever met someone who openly flirts with another person whom they find to be attractive. Well... yes. it's not revolutionary anywhere else, but it sure is in video games.

Thanks for all the comments! It's great to get this kind of feedback.

Joshua King
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In all the cited criticisms of the game I could not see a comparison to previous titles and so it seems that the criticism that the latest title is less authentic than previous ones has been artificially introduced to add gravity to your argument or indeed create an angle for rebuttal. Since the Sands of Time the Prince characters voice, in particular, is both anachronistic and incongruent. Imagine if he had a Mick Dundee (idiosyncratic Australian) accent - I don't think anyone would have trouble finding that ridiculous for a Persian to have. Is that so different from a Persian having an American accent?

matt landi
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I'll just put my two cents in about the voice of the main character in Prince of Persia. My gripe is that the playable character did not have a Persian accent or many characteristics of being Persian. I'd be just as miffed if there was a game called Prince of Australia and the main character had an American accent. For me it affects the authenticity of the title. In my mind the only reason the game was titled Prince of Persia was for name recognition. I've played the past four Prince of Persia titles and the most recent had very little in common aside from the platforming.

Leif Ostlund
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E. Daniel Arey .......... Thank You for a most eloquent insight.

I was entranced from the moment I first saw a trailer for Prince of Persia ..........I didn't even bother with the reviews ....... I just had to have it. Such beauty . But , just a few hours in and I resized once more ( and for the last time) how important it is to identify with character. I actually went into options and turned the Prince's voice off. It ruined the game of course. I think back to Sands of Time and how much I cared for the Prince and Princess.......I even loved to hate the bad guys . Drakes Fortune 1 and 2 are the first titles I have played since Sands that have really hooked me in .

Kamran Ayub
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I would just like to say I was a huge fan of Nolan North without even knowing it. I played PoP and I loved the Prince's character. I played Uncharted and Uncharted 2 and loved Nathan Drake. Once I looked up who played the voices, I was not surprised to see why I liked them both.

As per the Prince, I thought he had just the right amount of jerk in him to still make him likable. I loved Elika and I loved to exhaust all their dialogue whenever possible because it was hilarious. At some points I laughed out loud which I rarely do. I was probably one of the few but I had positive things to say about the story in that game since the ending "enraged" me so much I knew it was well-written.

I think as games get bigger and better budgets, voice acting will be even more important. With lifelike games comes realistic voice acting. Dragon Age is the most recent game that has employed top-notch acting... whenever people watch me play it's because of the cinematic sequences or dialogue.

Uncharted 2 was not only fantastic because of the "I am Indiana Jones" gameplay but also because of the superb dialogue and writing of the story. It was realistic and it was relateable.

Aaron Knafla
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I disliked the new prince for the same reasons I hate Travis Touchdown.

Mechner's prince is a reluctant hero.

- The prince (actually just a common boy) meets the princess and makes friends with her. Determined to marry the princess himself, Jaffar throws the prince into the dungeons. With no other options, the prince must escape the dungeons, stop Jaffar, free the princess, and inform her father of Jaffar's abuse of power.

- The prince awakes one morning to discover that Jaffar has returned with a clever plot. With a crafty spell, Jaffar poses as the prince--while changing the prince into a common boy again. Forced to flee the palace guards for trespassing, the prince escapes the same way he arrived in Persia: as a stowaway. He sails far away; but he is determined to find his way back to Persia--and the princess.

- Blinded with arrogance, the prince enters his first battle determined to please his father. He boldly takes a magical knife without understanding the consequences--and unleashes a horrible chain of events. In order to survive, the prince is forced to team up with the princess and face his mistakes. Working together, the prince and princess put things right; and they develop a relationship. They have believable dialogue, with subtle tension. Instead of embarrassing exchanges, their bickering is often funny and entertaining! Sadly, the prince must sacrifice his friendship with the princess to put things right in the end. It's a bittersweet ending; but he puts things right.

The reluctant hero is just a small part of what's missing. Mechner brings so much to the table. For instance, his ability to write believable characters and dialogue has been sorely missed since The Sands of Time.

David Boudreau
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Sands of Time was one of the best games on its platforms, but I definitely remember that British accent being very, very grating and extremely out of place (it stood out so much it actually jarred me from sense of disbelief).

Jeff Spock
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I think one of the most powerful comments on the PoP3 style is the fact that the lead character actually has a character, rather than the generic, bland, seen-it-six-billion-times Indy Jones clone. I think it is an interesting data point in the on-going discussion of immersion, narrative linearity, and identification -- we can put up with lead characters in books or movies that we dislike, so why not in games? (Yes, I know, we've all heard the arguments on both sides).

I personally am ecstatic that Andy Walsh (the lead writer for the game, who should have been mentioned in the article and won the Writers' Guild of Great Britain Videogames Writing Award 2009 for the script!) dared to create something outside the indyclone space that has become such a fallback cliché for game development.

I have been asked, as a game writer, to make the main character "like Indy" for heroic fantasy, modern military, and casual kids' games. Kudos to the PoP3 team for daring to actually do something different.

I kind of missed the 'sexual politics' part of the article... but I agree wholeheartedly with your comments on "Commonwealth accent=foreign" and the quality of the Prince's character and arc. Thanks to you for a great article and to the readers for their excellent comments.