The Rogue Prince of Persia revealed: a slick 2D roguelite coming to Steam in May


I was a little surprised to learn that Ubisoft is publishing a second 2D Prince of Persia game so soon after The Lost Crown, meaning both were in development simultaneously. This one is a bit different though: It's not developed by a Ubisoft studio, and it's releasing on Steam in early access this May, which is notable because Ubisoft has been doing timed Epic Games Store exclusives for the past several years.

The Rogue Prince of Persia was announced at today's Triple-I Initiative showcase, although its existence was leaked earlier. It's being developed by Evil Empire, the studio founded to make DLC for popular roguelite Dead Cells while Motion Twin moved on to a new project, and sees the Prince reacting to a Hun invasion with his usual melee combat and platforming. As the "rogue" bit of the title hints, though, something new happens when the Prince inevitably finds himself at the bottom of a spike trap.

Lucky for our impaled Prince, he's been "living a roguelite his whole life," as Evil Empire marketing manager Matthew Houghton put it in a presentation Ubisoft showed me last week. Since he was a baby, the Prince has owned a magic item which returns him to a safe place in the event he's about to die. The ability has made him reckless, and also conveniently explains the roguelite structure of the game, which sends the Prince to a hub called The Oasis whenever he croaks.

Ubisoft let me play a bit of The Rogue Prince of Persia last week via remote streaming, and the platforming and combat feel as strong as you'd expect from the caretaker of the very well-liked Dead Cells. I especially like that you can wall run on the background of the level—it performs basically the same role as a double jump, but in a more Prince of Persia-ey way.

Platforming challenges saw me sliding down ramps that ended in spike pits, which I had to time jumps and wall runs to avoid while also staying clear of moving Super Meat Boy buzzsaws—that kind of thing. Combat had me combining a one-button melee combo with special moves, dodges, ranged attacks (you have a bow by default), and kicks that knock enemies into walls, each other, or traps.

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Eventually I took an L and wound up in The Oasis, and when I was returned to life in a rearranged version of the first area, I was introduced to collectable skill upgrades called Medallions. I found one that set enemies on fire when I kicked them into walls, for instance. I also encountered new and upgraded weapons along the way, so clearly bolstering our ability set and weapons will be key to keeping the Prince alive from start to finish—aside from just getting better at avoiding being bisected by circular saws.

What I'm unsure about for now is how much accumulated power will be transferred from one run to the next, and whether we'll unlock shortcuts or start from the beginning each time.

"Unlock new weapons and medallions and learn from your mistakes to become more powerful with every death," reads the Steam page. "New challenges await you each time as every level is procedurally generated, so no two runs are ever the same."

The Rogue Prince of Persia releases May 14 in early access on Steam. The Lost Crown, meanwhile, is still only available on PC from Epic or the Ubisoft store.