Jordan Mechner returns to development with Karateka re-make for XBLA and PSN

Prince of Persia creator abandons triple-A for indie

Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner has abandoned triple-A development to go Indie for his latest project.

To be released on PSN and XBLA later this year, “story-drive” fighting game Karateka is a re-imagining of his first ever title for the Apple II.

In an interview with Develop, Mechner said he decided to go indie for his latest project and work with a small team as he wanted to recapture the simplicity of the original Karateka, whilst wanting to move away from the large production teams involved with the Prince of Persia games and film.

“The original Karateka was such a simple, linear game. Even little kids could instantly understand the story and what they had to do, pick up the controller and start playing,” Mechner told Develop.

“I wanted to recapture that simplicity. Expanding Karateka into a huge retail console title didn’t necessarily seem like the right way to honour what was most special about it.”

He added that despite the benefits of triple-A, developers are “constrained to deliver a product that market research suggests will appeal to millions of people, and that second-guessing can be frustrating”, whilst Indie development allowed for more individual creativity.

He also revealed that talks took place early on in development with publishers, and that a potential deal was “close” to being done, but felt he would be giving up creative control of the title.

“I had a very specific idea for how I wanted to do Karateka that was a bit unusual and not easy to explain,” he said.

“It’s hard to describe something that doesn’t exist yet; everyone pictures it in a different way, and publishers aren’t set up in a way that encourages leaps of faith.”

Mechner said that the industry was facing an “exciting time” with the rise of independent developers, and was happy to join in on a sector where the next game-changing hit could be just around the corner.

“We’re in an exciting time, when it feels like the next game-changing crazy breakout hit could really come from anywhere,” said Mechner.

“It could be social, mobile, hardcore, it could be on Xbox 360 or Android or facebook. At the same time, there are plenty of solid niches where enough people are playing different kinds of games to give designers the opportunity and incentive to experiment.

“It’s an uncertain time for business but a great time for creativity.”

For more details on the Jordan Mechner’s decision to return to develop and why he chose to go indie, you can read our full interview here.

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