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Your Questions Answered: Prince of Persia

Ben Mattes's Avatar + Posted by Ben Mattes on Dec 02, 2008 // Producer, Prince of Persia

Last week, I dropped by the PlayStation.Blog to find out what you wanted to know about Ubisoft’s new release, Prince of Persia. And to my excitement, there were well over a hundred questions about the first Prince of Persia game on the PS3. I took the time to answer some of the most interesting questions regarding everything from combat to the game’s new art style. Thanks for your support, and don’t forget that Prince of Persia is available today!

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Charliesdad asked: Wondering how you addressed the balance issues from earlier entries in the series. For example, Sands of Time was amazing, but going back to it recently the combat wore thin after a while (especially in the first big group fight) to be followed by long stretches of almost no combat. Does the new game fall on one side or the other or is there a middle ground that you all shot for and hit? And Demo tomorrow? Maybe?

    First, one of our main goals in combat was to make every fight grandiose and meaningful, to make every encounter feel more epic. Thus, we decided to make the new combat system a duel mode in which every enemy has special attributes, a unique personality, cool moves, and his strengths and weaknesses. Having one enemy to fight at one time gave us much more possibility to push this encounter to the limit. Every enemy is as strong as the Prince and will seize his chance to use the environment, his corrupted abilities to counter every mistake the player makes. Every enemy has a background and their own personal objectives that will help push the story forward. Also, there are multiple combat moves and these will take some time to figure them all out and access the most spectacular combos. Using your glove, Elika, your sword and acrobatics, players will be able to combine those to create some breathtaking moves. This new combat system is not meant to be button mashed, but instead requires timing, strategy and the right combo depending on the situation. Also, many quick real-time mini-games where the player has a little fraction of time to react will keep the tension high. The battle system uses some dramatic camera shots that make every fight feel even more epic. Battles will take place usually before saving a fertile ground and pushing away the Corruption. There are different challenges before healing a fertile ground, one might be an acrobatic challenge, a puzzle, a fight and a lot of them are mixes of them all.
    Sorry, there are no demo plans at this time.

KingBroly asked: What’s the framerate like on the PS3 version? I’ve heard this game employs the same engine as Assassin’s Creed, and the framerate on the PS3 version of that…not so good.

    Fluidity of control and animation quality are hallmarks of Prince Of Persia games. We would never ship a POP title unless we were confident the player could fully appreciate the movement of the Prince in acrobatics and combat and – simply put – framerate hiccups get in the way of that. They break the

    We have some of the most talented PS3 engineers at Ubisoft working for us on POP (and Ubisoft has now made quite a few PS3 titles) and I can assure you the performance on the PS3 is the same as the 360 – a solid 30fps throughout the game.

narde15 asked: are their any trophies?

    POP does indeed ship with trophies from day one.

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FeaturePreacher asked: Will the prince be able to use different weapons besides the sword that is seen in gameplay videos?
AND
Will the prince be able to level up his combat abilities? I hope the prince has a long list of combat combinations. Does he?

    We want the player to feel like the Prince is an adventurer with a lot of experience already – he is an acrobatic warrior who has already been through and seen a lot. As such it made sense to us that he start out this adventure with all his abilities unlocked. Elika, on the other hand, evolves in her abilities as the game progresses, unlocking new magical abilities. What is important to us is that the player still feels a sense of progression and development because the « duo » of the Prince and Elika are certainly evolving as you play.

    Finally, simply because the Prince has access to all of his abilities from the beginning of the game, doesn’t mean the players will know how to use them all. If it is your first time playing POP, don’t expect to be able to pull off the 14 hit combos and complete long uninterrupted strings of acrobatics without pausing – you’ll evolve towards that in time as you get more comfortable with the game systems.

SantanaClaus89 asked: Ever since The Sands of Time this series has been in a downward spiral. What if anything has been done to take the series “back to its roots” so to speak?

    In POP Sands of Time trilogy, the innovation was the Sands of Time. We felt the need to find a new innovation for this new chapter:

    • Open-ended structure
    • New combat system
    • New artistic direction
    • Role of the secondary character, Elika

    But you can also rest assured we’ve also kept the core fundamentals of what made the Sands of Time trilogy great.

    • The balanced mix of acrobatics and combat
    • Excellent visuals
    • Highly detailed character and story
    • Highly responsive controls
    • 1001 night’s universe / fantasy elements

    As you read this some reviews will have already hit online (IGN scored PoP 9.3, for example). One of the best compliments that any reviewer has given us so far is that we’ve recaptured the magic and mystery that made the original Sands Of Time so great.

narde15 asked: are you working on a prince of persia, playstation home space? will you consider one in the future?

    We are not currently working on a Prince of Persia home space but we might consider it for future games.

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DeforMAKulizer asked: What made you guys ditch the realistic style followed in AC and trying out for the new water color style? And which game was hard to code for… AC with its realistic graphics? Or maintaining the water color feel in PoP?
Thanks! Can’t wait to go back to the PoP series =D

    We wanted to embrace the fantasy nature that defines every Prince of Persia game. The ‘Photorealistic’ artistic direction that is seen in so many games right now did not fit in well with the magical world we were exploring with this game. We wanted to try something new and the “Illustrative” art style really represents our vision in this game – to make it feel like a storybook.

chaosatom333 asked: I am disappointed that U guys didn’t include any time-shifting powers.
They were awesome. Why did u guys do that?

    That mechanic started to feel old to us – it had been copied in many other games and had lost some of its uniqueness. Elika is our new sands of time and I think she more than makes up for their absence.

chaosatom333 asked: How long in production have u guys been?

    Three years, start to finish.

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chaosatom333 asked: How long is the game relatively speaking? like 12-16 or less. Something like that. How much platforming is there? The more the better imo.
Fights are nice too.

    An average player will probably take around 12-15 hours to finish the game if they do the bare minimum needed to complete it. If you take the time to learn all of the backstory of the characters (through our ODD system) and collect all of the lightseeds (to get all of the trophies) I think you can certainly expect more in the range of 18-20 hours.

    In terms of the breakdown between acrobatics and combat, it is hard to say for sure due to the open structure of our world. Certainly, though, there is the potential for you to spend a lot more of your time doing acrobatics then combat.

narde15 asked: how big is the world of prince of persia? will their be side quests?

    It’s quite big. It will take you some time to travel from one end to another. Also, It depends of the path you take to make your way around. Additionally our world features a lot of vertical gameplay, taking you up to some dizzying heights to survey the world down below you as you progress through your quest. The size and height of our world certainly gives it a massive sense of scope.

Munkeh111 asked: What percentage of the game is combat? I am hoping for a high percentage of platforming!

    It’s hard to say for the exact percentage but you will spend more time platforming than fighting that’s for sure. Collecting all the light seeds will definitely make you spend hours exploring the world, platforming and using your head to figure out how to get to that light seed! There are many combats as well.

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lifeRPGs asked: What are Ubisoft’s plans for the after-PoP?

    I’d be drawn and quartered if I gave away those secrets. Just a few days ago I saw an advanced prototype of an incredibly top-secret game and was floored with how cool it looked and felt. While I watched it being demoed I was furiously taking notes for ideas to draw inspiration from on my next game.

CrimsonFox13 asked: Beautiful art style. I’ve never played a Prince Of Persia game before, although I’ve always been interested. The beauty of this game captivated me. The game reminds me of Team ICO games. There’s a beautiful landscape with platforming involved, like the Team ICO games, and you’re traveling with a woman, just like in ICO. Did you draw any inspiration from either or both of the Team ICO games?

    Team ICO is definitely an inspiration for us and both Shadow Of The Colossus as well as ICO were games we played extensively during the development of POP. Team ICO consistently proves that videogames can be so much more then “just” a form of entertainment – they can enlighten, teach, and make us feel. I welcome any and all comparisons to the incredible development talent of that studio.

    It was very important to us, though, that our game be incredible accessible and action packed, too. We were not creating a game just for those players who like “art” in their games. We have spectacular acrobatics, incredible combat and a rich story. In many ways we consider games like Burnout influential as well in their immediate accessibility – you pick up the controller, press a few buttons, and right away spectacularly rewarding things occur. This was very important to us in the development of POP.

farmer_steve asked: For somebody who has never played a Prince of Persia game, how would you explain the experience? And what do you think is the main draw to it?

    The first Prince of Persia game was created in the late 80s by Jordan Mechner and has become one of gaming’s most well-known franchises. Prince of Persia is a game with a balanced mix of acrobatics, combat and puzzle solving set in a fantastic Persian world where you control The Prince, the most agile warrior of all time as he Runs, Jumps, Flips and Fights his way towards saving the world. All the games are inspired by the 1001 night’s universe and feature an epic storyline with strong character development.

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luckettx asked: How many language tracks have been recorded for the Blu Ray release of this game in Europe?

    English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. There are other localized versions (one Dutch, another Polish, another Russian) but the main version will have those five languages on it.

Yuriki93 asked: Does this game have anything story-related to the previous games?

    No, nothing that will affect the main narrative. We put in a few tongue and cheek references (hint: pay attention to the ODD system) but just as a ‘nod and a wink’ to the hardcore fans. We are telling a new story within the “Book” of Prince of Persia.

SomethingClever asked: From where did you draw inspiration from (games or other) in this iteration of PoP Some of the big reactions to date have been about the voice of the Prince. What led your team to choose such an American sounding voice actor, and was there any concern over people associating that voice to Nathan Drake?

    The choice of Nolan North (Nathan Drake) as the voice of the Prince is entirely intentional. When we were designing the character of The Prince and trying to identify his personality, the two characters we returned to most often were Han Solo and Indiana Jones. Both, of course, played by Harrison Ford. Nolan North showed in his characterization of Nathan Drake an uncanny resemblance to Indiana Jones both in terms of tone and delivery. We thought it particularly appropriate given the heavy influence of these characters in the writing of The Prince that the voice actor we use be one who manages to capture the essence of the influencing characters deeply.

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zombiefriend asked: oh also i just remembered is PoP going to have subtitles? i rly hope so b/c i have hearing loss and i wasnt able to fully appreciate ACs story like i wanted to

    Prince Of Persia, like all Ubisoft games now, is subtitled in all languages.

PlasmaGlory asked: I know that your philosophy with Elika was to make someone that would never hold you back, so what’s to stop someone from just hiding in a corner and mashing the “Elika Button”?

    It wouldn’t help much to just tap the Elika button in a corner. The game requires you to use all of the Prince’s abilities combined with Elika in order to be effective. Whenever you need Elika’s Help, she is there to do so, but only if you are doing something as well (ie: fighting, in the middle of a jump, etc).

    Standing in a corner and mashing the Elika button will just summons a compass power over and over again – not much help in defeating the guardians of Ahriman. ;)

jazzyrider asked: what additional items are packaged with the limited edition versus the normal package?

    • Collectible Limited Edition packaging
    • An exclusive look at the making of Prince of Persia
    • A Prima digital mini-strategy guide full of developer’s secrets
    • A digital art book
    • The original soundtrack scored by master composer Inon Zur

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sainraja asked: I am looking forward to this but how similar is this to Sands of Time?
Sands of Time was magical! I loved every minute of it. I thought the story was put together very well. It was the Uncharted of last generation! I can’t to try this out but I am hoping it will give me the same feeling that Sands of Time did.

    We consider POP to be the spiritual successor of Sands Of Time. We invested a lot of time and energy into trying to ensure that the sense of magic, wonder and mystery that was so special and unique in SOT was reproduced in this new POP adventure while still bringing some strong visual and gameplay innovations to the series.

    In terms of your passion for Uncharted, let me simply say I share your enthusiasm. Uncharted for me was an incredible game because it was so much more than the sum of its parts. I have a hard time putting my finger on the one feature of Uncharted that stood out as my favorite while I was playing, but as soon as I finished I wanted to start over from the beginning and play through again. It is easily one of my favorite PS3 games to date.

Dark_Vincent asked: Will there be different difficulty levels?

    The game has just one difficulty level, but the challenge certainly progresses as you play and (hopefully) get more comfortable with the mechanics. New traps are released, more corruption infects the world, and the enemies unlock new abilities and combos.

TripOpt55 asked: Hey, I can’t wait for this game. Here’s my questions: Does the game autosave (or how does it save)? Can you create multiple save files?

    POP features a ‘save anywhere’ system. No matter what you are doing, you can create a save (new save or overwrite – there is space for 10 save game slots). We don’t save the exact location, though (ie: if you are in the middle of the air and save, when you load you won’t fall to your death) but rather the last stable platform you were on. Don’t worry, though, these are never very far apart.

Zankantou asked: What motivated your team to take the franchise into a radically new direction artistically?
How did you guys come to the conclusion that this new installment should be not, or loosely, related to the previous trilogy in the last generation of consoles?
Is your team considering using this new artistic engine for future games as well?

    In terms of the art direction, we wanted to do something new, something unique. Most of our favorite games – the ones that stand out in our minds years after playing them – had unique visual styles that did not try to emulate reality. Additionally, as I said above, we felt a more fantastic artistic direction would mesh well with our fantasy universe and story. Finally, we wanted to take the incredible concept art and illustrations that our teams created as reference material and do them justice by creating the tools and technology needed to make our game look like the illustrations – a highly detailed painting brought to life.

    In terms of why we left behind the old trilogy, we felt the story of the Sands Of Time had been told and it was time to move on. We had never planned to continue to tell the story of the Sands of Time Prince forever, and the universe of Prince of Persia has so much potential for other themes to explore. By creating a new Prince, on a new adventure, we’ve added a wealth of material to the Prince of Persia universe to potentially explore in future games.

    Finally, I believe very strongly in the artistic choices we took for POP and sincerely hope that this Illustrative style is used again at Ubisoft moving forward. Of course I don’t have any specific details, but I think it safe to say that the response has been positive enough that we’ll likely be returning to this stylistic choice in the future.

//Add Your Own

86 Comments

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51

+ LoLskilled87 on December 2nd, 2008 at 2:43 pm said:

I love POP. The acrobatic adventures of the Prince mixed with some pretty sweet, yet mature fights made all the modern POP’s worth every penny. I loved Warrior Within especially. So dark! So evil!

This game looks so pretty…so…colorful…SO AWESOME OMFG I WANT THIS GAME OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!

And there’s trophies?! *dies*


52

+ BabeBro on December 2nd, 2008 at 2:44 pm said:

I will be picking up my copy this Friday, and if it does freeze or mess up, I expect a patch in less than couple of days. Other than that, from what I’ve seen the game looks beautiful.

Ubisoft seems to have done a great job in enhancing the Prince of Persia experience so that new gamers to the Prince of Persia series will enjoy it as well.

One more thing! Please! Please! Please add Prince of Persia content to PlayStation HOME!!


53

+ C-h-a-o-s on December 2nd, 2008 at 2:55 pm said:

Isn’t the PS3 suppose to be the superior machine? If so why is it the same as the 360?

“and I can assure you the performance on the PS3 is the same as the 360 – a solid 30fps throughout the game.”


54

+ schwaa on December 2nd, 2008 at 2:59 pm said:

Well, gametrailers hates PS3, so I would have to imagine their claims are exaggerated. Why do people even go there anymore?


55

+ jasoncourt on December 2nd, 2008 at 3:32 pm said:

-Definitely cool for answering all those questions. Thanks for the article, it definitely makes me more interested and excited in a game when I see such a detailed QandA. :)


56

+ erico316 on December 2nd, 2008 at 3:33 pm said:

i would like to thank ubisoft for the ps3 support .let keep them up


57

+ singhjeet29 on December 2nd, 2008 at 3:41 pm said:

ubisoft you fail for creating a game with utterly NO replay value. There’s only one difficulty and you can’t die, what makes this game worth a 60 dollar purchase and not a 10 dollar rental?


58

+ WilliaM on December 2nd, 2008 at 3:58 pm said:

Extremely beautiful game, a first day buy for me.


59

+ greeble on December 2nd, 2008 at 4:03 pm said:

Wow, great QA. I kinda wrote off this game because of Warrior Within and Assasin’s creed (which I didn’t like at all and I got a bit of a vibe of) But You’ve convinced me otherwise. Unfortunately I already spent a ton of money on games this month on amazon black friday sales, so this will get pushed back to January I’m afraid, but it is on my “buy” list.


60

+ Joakim Hagdahl on December 2nd, 2008 at 4:16 pm said:

Ghostm: Yes this new Prince of Persia uses the same voice actors as Nathan Drake of Uncharted (and also Des in Assassin’s Creed, the present time player character).

Question for the devs:

I looked at the Gametrailer review of the game and I thought the game looks very good, the animations and transitions are very well done and the graphical style works well. I also like the focus on one on one combat.

But (you probably saw that But coming) I was taken back by the mandatory orb collection required to unlock every section of the game.

I note you were inspired by Ico/Sotc and I agree those games are special and a major part of the reason they were so successful at creating the feeling that they weren’t just games were because they didn’t have those kind of needless filler things in them that are so common in game.

There were orb collecting and in SOTC they even made the landscape completely barren with no random enemies.

I was wondering why you made the decision to include the orb collection in the game? (I also had a huge problem with the Flag collecting in Assassin’s Creed but at least that was an optional extra)

It seems like nothing but an attempt to artificially make the game longer.


61

+ acerazer1 on December 2nd, 2008 at 4:18 pm said:

Wow, this post pretty much answered every question I had, looking forward to playing!


62

+ I.A.C.W. on December 2nd, 2008 at 4:21 pm said:

Excellent comments and answers. This has actually convinced me into seriously considering buying it! Great job Ubisoft you have proved yourself despite some doubts i was having.


63

+ theheadkase on December 2nd, 2008 at 4:49 pm said:

Thanks for the Q&A. I have not been into the PoP games for a long time and was on the fence about this game. Now I am sure I have to pick this up!


64

+ benmattes on December 2nd, 2008 at 5:23 pm said:

All – Ben Mattes here. I would never stake my reputation on a garuntee that the game is bug free, but both internal Ubisoft QA (who have now tested a lot of PS3 games) as well as Sony’s official testing teams made a point of reinforcing to us how stable and solid this game is.

I really think Gametrailers likely came across an entirely random crash – one of the 0.05% issues that are impossible to reproduce. Please don’t let their comment turn you off the game.

If indeed there are reproducible issues, we will (of course) look into them very seriously and issue a TU if needed.


65

+ Snack_Eeter on December 2nd, 2008 at 5:31 pm said:

Honestly I have never got into the POP series. I got to say this one made me like the series! I will eventually pick it up ;)


66

+ darzero on December 2nd, 2008 at 5:43 pm said:

great article, Im going to pick that one up for sure.


67

+ frombrosis on December 2nd, 2008 at 6:14 pm said:

Awesome detailed answers!! More developers should take the time to answer questions in this manner!!!


68

+ Jeigh on December 2nd, 2008 at 6:51 pm said:

I don’t usually say things like this, but in this case the game is unproven for me: I won’t consider a purchase until I’ve taken it for a test-drive. Since you seem to have no plans to release a demo, I don’t have any plans to buy the game- at least not until it hits the bargain bin. This may very well end up being similar to the releases of the demos for Warhawk and MGS4 where it won’t come until months upon months later, and that’s a good strategy financially. I wish you luck.


69

+ tusgal on December 2nd, 2008 at 7:14 pm said:

@ #15 i total agree with you, let see how infamous deal with open world


70

+ saintfighteraqua on December 2nd, 2008 at 7:30 pm said:

Thanks for the answers and beautiful screen shots! I think you should do a Home space though.


71

+ Wuggyboobeaufuf on December 2nd, 2008 at 7:37 pm said:

@13

I don’t understand how trying to sell me half a game is going to convince me to buy it in the first place.

If developers are going to *deliberately* withhold content that could have otherwise gone into the game, just to squeeze extra cash out of people who buy the game, consider this is a no-sale from the very beginning.

This is a shameful, shoddy, corrupt, greedy busines model you’ve adopted Ubisoft.

I would’ve bought this game if I felt like I was getting a complete package. Instead, we get half a game and have to pay *again* for content that was *deliberately* held back and should have been on the disc.

I don’t care what the reviews say, I don’t care what the word of mouth is.

I will not buy incomplete games.

Shame on you Ubisoft. You deserve to go bankrupt for immoral business pracitices like these.


72

+ Vegaz on December 2nd, 2008 at 10:11 pm said:

“Let the Xbox 360 fanboys get used to crappy hardware and Blue Screens of Death.”

Actually they’re black,I should know,I’m on my 6th.

Anyway my extra comment was that I sure hope the Sands of Time outfit code wasn’t specific as I have no way of getting the game from Gamestop. Free upgraded LE there too. Hmph!


73

+ wavesln on December 2nd, 2008 at 10:23 pm said:

I really hope you can use English subs with some of the other soundtracks like French cause the American voice track is horrendous.


74

+ Fuji311 on December 2nd, 2008 at 10:24 pm said:

Can’t wait. good work guys.


75

+ roddollente on December 2nd, 2008 at 11:33 pm said:

so where is the limited edition here in canada? i hate it how ubisoft just kep silent about this and let us know on the release date that we aren’t getting any limited edition. wtf is that?


76

+ Shadow_Dancer on December 3rd, 2008 at 12:55 am said:

Hi Ben. Don’t know if you’re still answering questions but I want to ask if you’re planning any future DLC? (costumes, episodes etc)

Anyway, well done! The game looks fantastic. I am alittle concerned after reading some reviews stating that the game is alittle too easy but since I never played a PoP game before and I pre-ordered this one, I think you’ve done your job.


77

+ Ddave_73 on December 3rd, 2008 at 6:02 am said:

been playing this game for a few hours now and it does feel like a fairly solid and interesting game, until you realise its highly repetitive, its highly repetitive, its highly repetitive, its highly repetitive, its highly repetitive..

Look nice tho and I do like the feel and atmosphere of the game, not a bad effort but I expected more varied gameplay.

@ the fanboys lol

Surely you guys are aware that the 360 GPU is actually more advanced and better than the ps3 GPU ? of course your not lol

Honestly, you fanboys are laughable, the 360 and ps3 are both excellent machines, quit the mindless fanboy crap ffs lol

if we wanted to get down and dirty in the hardware capabilities of each machine half of the 360 fanboys would cry and half the ps3 fanboys would cry.


78

+ Yuriki93 on December 3rd, 2008 at 8:29 am said:

Thanks for the answer. I am more convinced to buy the game after this Q&A:)


79

+ Doctor What on December 3rd, 2008 at 10:35 am said:

Thanks for the answers. I’m still not convinced yet on the decision for the voice actor, but I hope to be pleasantly surprised!

If you fancied releasing a HD version of Sands Of Time (or the other two games too) on PSN you’d definitely have a sale from me. Sands Of Time goes down as probably the best game I’ve ever played. An HD version of it would be wonderful!


80

+ mardur on December 3rd, 2008 at 11:56 am said:

Hey. Could you possibly explain why the PS3 limited Edition is not as ‘beautied’ up like the 360 version of the game which has the nice case and stuff like that?

Thanks


82

+ tusgal on December 4th, 2008 at 9:56 am said:

77 why you here?


83

+ kopicha on December 4th, 2008 at 1:17 pm said:

i dont really believe GameTrailer at times. they are pretty bias towards PS3 all these while as far as i have observe them. i played this game for hours and hours straight and i havent even had 1 freeze or crash with the game. everything just smooth and look extremely good too. one of the best game this holiday.


84

+ kopicha on December 4th, 2008 at 1:30 pm said:

@43

dont talk like PS3 only play games that are published by Sony. its really dumb for you to have such thinking. no one will buy a PS3 just to play games publish by Sony. if there is then you are probably the only one on earth i know.

you also have to understand PS3 exclusive isnt problem free either. they have their own sets of problem. so your comment is pretty moronic. also another thing exclusive usually run better is because they are build ground up to run on PS3. but multi plat games are different. they are running on a generic engine that would work across different system. and you forgotten that PS3 is pretty unique in terms of its architecture. while 360 works more like a standard PC architecture. so its not surprising that PS3 games would have issues some time with multi plat games. most importantly is they need to make it run smooth and look as good. all other things can be resolve via patch.


85

+ Vegaz on December 4th, 2008 at 1:35 pm said:

I got the LE for the same cost as the normal at Blockbuster and I’m in Canada so that worked out. Also the code is NOT specific but I hear it’s in with the LE anyway. (Waiting untill Xmas)


86

+ fshfb on December 4th, 2008 at 2:10 pm said:

i have waited for years for this game but the prablim is that its like drawing a photo in cartoon


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