Reboots are pretty much commonplace in all forms of media these days, but in the realm of video games, it's hard to think of one that's been quite as successful as 2003's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which turns 20 today.
Released on November 10th 2003, the game served as a reboot of Jordan Mechner's groundbreaking action platformer series, which made its debut in 1989 across a wide range of formats.
Developed at Ubisoft Montreal by a team led by Patrice Désilets (who would later create the Assassin's Creed series) and overseen by Mechner (who acted as creative consultant, designer, and scenario writer), Sands of Time was showered with praise at the time of release and would go on to sell 14 million copies across all platforms.
Sands of Time is famous for combining several mechanics in an incredibly effect way; the game's intuitive wall-running system allows for some amazing action-based puzzles, and is fused with what is perhaps the game's most famous innovation: the ability to slow down and even rewind time. The player is able to replay the last ten seconds of the game and resurrect the Prince instantly – a mechanic which is superbly backed up by Yuri Lowenthal, the Prince's voice actor, who, upon rewinding, gives the impression that they are telling a story and that death simply wasn't part of the narrative.
Sands of Time spawned sequels in the form of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (2004), Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones (2005) and Prince Of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (2010) – none of these achieved the same critical and commercial acclaim as the 2003 entry, however. In between The Two Thrones and The Forgotten Sands, Ubisoft attempted to reboot the franchise for a second time with 2008's sparsely-titled Prince Of Persia, but with lukewarm reviews and sales of 2.5 million, it was deemed to be a dead-end.
Sands of Time would also result in a 2010 Hollywood movie of the same name, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton and Alfred Molina. Produced on a budget of between $150–200 million, it would generate a global box office take of $336.4 million.
Ubisoft is currently remaking Sands of Time, with development being handled by Ubisoft Mumbai and Ubisoft Pune. After a series of delays and a large amount of criticism from fans for its poor visuals, Ubisoft has rebooted development and handed it over to Ubisoft Montreal; a solid release date hasn't been announced. Another game in the series, The Lost Crown, is also in development.