Why The Backlash Against Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown?

Things are wild on the internet right now. And I say right now but what I actually mean, things have always been wild on the internet. This is especially the case in the gaming bubble across social media and the various websites covering gaming as a whole. So, what’s the issue today? Well, you may remember Ubisoft revealed a new Prince of Persia game during The Summer Games Fest. It soon spread quickly that the trailer was receiving huge pushback from angry gamers across multiple YouTube channels. Although YouTube doesn’t show the number of times a video is downvoted, it’s still possible to find it out. And someone did. The ratio between up and down voting was significant. Only on Nintendo’s YouTube channel did the trailer receive a warmer response.

There are many conclusions that you can deduce from why this happened. First, we know Ubisoft has been working on a remake of Sands of Time. It’s been officially revealed several years ago and it received largely, pushback. But for good reason. It looked bad. Development went silent, the game was delayed from its initial launch date and then news came out earlier this year from Ubisoft that the game was being restarted under a different team. However, there is some question as to whether the average gamer on the internet, and especially social media, knows about what happened or whether they understand that restarting development means they shouldn’t expect any showing of it for at least a year or two.

Maybe there’s also some discussion that needs to be had around the idea of people assuming it’s totally acceptable to expect games to be shown and ready for release straight away. This isn’t just about games that get announced either. There are plenty of instances when rumours about a potential game is in development, and before you know it, at every single live stream event the expectation is it’ll be shown. And not just shown but actually be in a state where it is near completion. A part of me thinks annualised franchises like Call of Duty and sports titles are to blame for this thinking. Most don’t know anything about how games are made and so assume it’s a quick, easy process. Others also seem to believe that heavy crunch regardless of the mental and physical health it puts on the developers, is totally okay if we get high quality triple A games out the door. This very thinking circulated social media after the release of The Last of Us Part II. 

Starting with the PS1 generation, there has been a movement that’s considered 2D games to be something of the past. The thoughts of spending any more than £10 or £20 on a high budget 2D game, regardless of quality or length has sparked multiple explosive debates online. Most notably in recent times was Metroid Dread which was a full price release. Much of the noise came from gamers of all platforms. It’s definitely possible that this is the same thinking behind the outrage over the revealing of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown. Perhaps Nintendo’s fan base is more accepting of these types of games? Who knows, it’s difficult to tell as they too can become angry at such announcements too. 

Whatever the reasoning behind the backlash, it’s going to need some serious rethinking from a marketing perspective for Ubisoft. It’s almost certainly too late to change whatever of the game they are showing in the upcoming Ubisoft Showcase, and I assume it’ll be featured in some capacity. But perhaps beyond their own event, those in marketing and social media teams are looking at what has happened and are working out ways to try and change the perception it’s receiving. 

The question of course, now turns to why are franchises like Sonic the Hedgehog not getting the same treatment with the reveal trailer for Sonic Superstars? Both Sonic the Hedgehog and Prince of Persia have their roots in 2D games. Is it just purely expectations on what everyone sees a particular franchise to be? The Sonic the Hedgehog 2D games has far more ups than downs. In fact, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is probably the only misstep in the 2D platformer series. The 3D games however, are constantly on a rollercoaster. So maybe it’s seen as acceptable for the franchise to continue seeing new 2D instalments.

I was going to look into the potential that perhaps Ubisoft being about big open world games over the past decade at least, was in some way to blame. But then I remembered they created two Rayman games and there’s a very vocal movement to see more in this franchise. So perhaps it’s not because of the type of games Ubisoft are known for. 

You know what, it could be so many things or a bunch of reasons all just coming together at once that’s causing this uproar. To be honest, here in the United Kingdom it’s too damn hot for me to care any more. So let’s just wait and see how future trailers and sales go for this game. 

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