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GameCareerGuide Feature: The Role of Interpretation in Prince of Persia

Recent Warren Wilson College graduate and modder Finn Haverkamp deconstructs the controversial plot of Ubisoft's 2008 Prince of Persia to see if it functions as intended, in GameCareerGuide's latest feature:
Recent Warren Wilson College graduate and modder Finn Haverkamp deconstructs the controversial plot of Ubisoft's 2008 Prince of Persia to see if it functions as intended, in GameCareerGuide's latest feature: The Role of Interpretation in Prince of Persia. Ubisoft's 2008 hit Prince of Persia was a gorgeous game with a story that lead to a great deal of discussion. Was the prince a suitable hero or an unlikable cad? Was the ending a fulfilling conclusion or a middle finger to gamers who stuck with the adventure? In Gamasutra's education-focused sister site GameCareerGuide's latest feature, modder and ludologist Finn Haverkamp dissects the story of the game. Says Haverkamp, "Ubisoft Montreal has a history of writing impactful, surprise endings. Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Assassin's Creed -- each game made an attempt to shift the story and emotional experience at the last minute. The newest Prince of Persia follows this trend, but Montreal's success is debatable." Haverkamp breaks down the narrative into its components to assist with the intepretation. "The interpretation of both Prince of Persia's ending and meaning stem from the combination of several factors: 1. Players' belief or understanding of fate as a theme of the game. 2. Players' personal feelings for Elika. 3. Players' interpretation of the Prince's feelings for Elika. There are two basic interpretations of the ending: desire and fate." Haverkamp concludes, "Prince of Persia has flaws, clearly, as many players come away from the game feeling confused, disappointed, and unfairly subjugated to its will. But I admire the attempt by Ubisoft Montreal. After all, choice is very quickly become a video game cliche. However, if Ubisoft Montreal had wanted to impart a specific interpretation of the game, then, despite whatever efforts they put forward, they certainly failed many players. Prince of Persia shows how important of a role interpretation can play in experience and satisfaction. Developers should look very specifically at the information they want to present to players, possible forms of conveyance, potential interpretations, potential motivations, and how these motivations support one another, conflict, or intermix." You can read the full in-depth analysis The Role of Interpretation in Prince of Persia, at GameCareerGuide now.

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