Coming this year, Jordan Mechner, creator of Prince of Persia (all the good ones) is set to revive his first game ever – Karateka – for current gen systems.
This is the first time Mechner has been actively involved in game development since the hugely popular Prince of Persia: Sands of Time – which basically reinvented the franchise and paved the way for games like Assassin’s Creed, which has roots in the fluid character motions PoP:SoT brought to modern gaming.
And now Mechner is going to hopefully be doing the same with Karateka.
“The new Karateka is a straight remake of the original 1984 game — different in many aspects of the gameplay and visual presentation, but very similar in terms of story and scope,” said Mechner, speaking in a Q&A with MyGaming.
“Karateka isn’t really a fighting game in the vein of a Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter. I think of it as a story-driven game in which the gameplay mechanic is fighting. Its design philosophy and the overall experience are very different from a brawler.”
The original Karateka was released by Broderbund Software way back in 1984, and was a huge hit. The basic idea is that you play as a hero trained in the arts of Karate – a Karateka – and were tasked with infiltrating the fortress of the evil Warlord Akuma, battling through guards and levels to rescue the princess, Mariko.
Karateka was an awesome game for its time, with battles being pretty technical – and truly quite difficult. It was a short game, and you only had one life to get from beginning to end, facing the challenges along the way. But it set the foundation for Prince of Persia, and indeed many other games that followed, striking its name and cementing it in the tomes of gaming history
“For the new Karateka we have created an innovative gameplay mechanic, which is a new way of solving the same problem that led us to create the time-rewind feature in POP:SOT. And that is, in a normal story, the hero can only die once,” said Mechner.
“So how do you handle failure in a life-or-death situation, without taking the player out of the world of the story and breaking the continuity of the experience? We’ve found a new approach to that conundrum. It’s not the Dagger of Time, but it fits with the story and world of Karateka, and I hope players will enjoy it,” added Mechner.
There’s no solid release date for the Karateka as of yet, but it will be coming this year, and it’s going to be a digital download title on PSN and Xbox LIVE – according to Mechner, that’s where their focus is, at least for now.
“In bringing back Karateka, I wanted to push the visuals and audio to create a beautiful and immersive gameplay experience, and the power of the Xbox360 and PS3 consoles allows us to do this,” concluded Mechner.