Spoiler warning

Posted by Oni (2104 posts) -
In this blog I will be talking about the role of the player in a video game, illustrated by a very recent example: Prince of Persia.

Don't read this blog if you haven't finished Prince of Persia.



Wherein we discuss Prince of Persia, mostly the story. I found it a very interesting game. First off, you're put in the shoes of the Prince, who is a total enigma, and does not really open up much throughout. He talks a little about his travels and how his parents died, and I guess he robs tombs, but we don't really know anything about his past. While plenty of games cast you as a blank slate, like Fallout 3 or Fable 2, the Prince does have a personality and a past, we are just not given it. We know he is a good guy at heart, obviously, but at the same time he only seems to trust himself. That he trusts Elika seems like an exception, to me. I found myself talking to Elika at every opportunity just to learn more about these characters, the Prince (I call him that because we aren't even given a name) especially. At one point the Concubine, an awesome villain, alludes to him being a Prince, but she could be referring to the future as well, as it's all rather vague. Obviously the game's title is meant to make you think he is/was/will become a Prince, but that could be a red herring. So throughout the game we steer the prince towards his destiny without really knowing his true motivations. That's fine, most of the time, we are used to doing what games tell us to do, especially if it is the Right Thing To Do. Which it is throughout. Until the end.

Where the game really starting messing with me and making me think was the ending. Again, I must warn you, this is a total spoiler zone, and it is an ending so shocking you'll want to see what happens for yourself. After having gone through all the trouble of healing all the fertile grounds and killing Ahriman's four corrupted Lieutenants, we finally get to imprison Ahriman himself. Elika uses all her powers to restore life to the tree that keeps Ahriman imprisoned, which costs her her own life. At this point, the Prince picks Elika up and we get control again. The only thing we can do at this point is walk outside of the temple, and we do, and we put Elika on the stone slab outside. The Prince doesn't say word one during all of this, including everything that happens after this. Four radiant trees have grown in the area surrounding the temple, which I assume are keeping the tree of light, Ahriman's prison in the temple, intact. Hesitantly, I make my way towards the trees. Surely, he can't mean to do the same thing Elika's father did? At this point we start hearing Ahriman, who has two voices, male and female, whispering, softly. Being given no other choice, I cut down the first tree, and the area surrounding it is drained of life and color and grows corrupted again. At this point my worst fears are confirmed. The game, or rather the Prince, wants me to cut down all the trees, and that is all you can do, save for turning off the game. With every tree I cut down, the whispers grow louder. Ahriman is convincing me, the Prince, to free him to save Elika. But has the Prince already made up his mind? Is he controlled by Ahriman or does he know full well what he is doing?

Having cut down all the trees, the temple reopens. I return to the tree of light, Ahriman's prison, and the Prince takes the essence of the tree, which is the orbs of light we have been collecting throughout the game. With the orb of light in our hands, we return to Elika. The Prince infuses her with the light and she returns to life, blurting "Why?". The Prince picks her up, carries her off into the distance in silence as the temple collapses behind them, the land is ravaged by darkness and Ahriman escapes.

To Be Continued.


The reason I find this so very fascinating is not just because the story makes me want to see what happens next, but also for academic reasons. We are used to following a linear path in videogames because we're doing the right thing, or in rare cases, playing an evil character. We are almost
What was he thinking? Did he really care so much about her that he was willing to sacrifice the entire land? We'll have to wait and see...
always doing things that reflect the character's nature. In some cases, you determine this nature for yourself. But in Prince of Persia, what you do in the end undoes everything that led up to that point. And worse yet, we get no insight whatsoever into why the Prince is doing this, because he doesn't say anything. Throughout the game, while we learn little about his past, we learn quite a bit about the Prince's character. Despite his devil may care attitude, he clearly cares about Elika and wants to help her save this land. He's a pragmatist. So why would he sacrifice everything just to save Elika? Was it Ahriman's influence? Was it his own choice? By making the player do these things, we are encouraged to consider the Prince's motivations. Ours are simple: Finish the game to see what happens, even if it means doing something that, in the context of everything that has been told to the player in the game, is a Very Bad Thing. Personally, I think the Prince knew full well what he was doing and it was his own choice, because we retain control of the Prince, even if we have no true control. This ending in itself would be surprising, maybe a little shocking, if it had been a cut scene, but because we, as the player, are forced to commit these acts ourselves, their impact is increased dramatically. Just think about that for a second. By simply being interactive, as opposed to a static cut scene, we look upon these events in quite a different light.

Be warned, the following paragraph also contains spoilers for Metal Gear Solid 3 and minor spoilers for Shadow of the Colossus and Bioshock


There have certainly been moments in games where you have to do things that you may really not want to do, but we know why Snake had to shoot The Boss at the end of MGS 3, even if it wasn't easy to do. So when I was destroying the trees, I felt incredibly conflicted. I knew what was going to happen and I really didn't want to do it, but the story demanded I do it. To stop playing would mean simply ending the game before it has truly ended. We are, in essence, slaves to the game's demands. I think the designers have been heavily influenced by Shadow of the Colossus here, where you are going around killing these colossi, who are mostly pacifistic, to restore life to a girl. But even there, you aren't sure that you're truly doing an evil thing. But somehow, it just feels wrong. Every slain colossus is another step towards the game's tragic conclusion. What makes this so interesting is that you are given the illusion of control in videogames, but there are really only two choices: follow the path you are given or stop playing the game, which isn't even a real choice given by the game. Bioshock did a similar thing where it is revealed you have been manipulated all along, and even after you break the manipulation, you are still a slave to the game's whims.

This new movement of games that have something to say, implicitly, about the player's involvement in a game (in this case, that control is an illusion) is incredibly fascinating to me. Games where you get to make choices that influence the story have been around for a while, and while some of them are fairly succesful at creating the illusion of freedom, ultimately you're still doing the things the designers intended you to do. Forcing you, the player, to do things you really don't want to do, or things that just feel wrong, instead of just watching them happen in a cutscene, can evoke an incredible feeling of dread or sadness. And that, my friends, is what makes video games so special. They can evoke feelings no other medium can. And that's why we're all here, isn't it? Feel free to agree/disagree/discuss, I'd love to hear what you guys think.

Thanks for reading and happy new year!

Oni
#1 Posted by Oni (2104 posts) -
In this blog I will be talking about the role of the player in a video game, illustrated by a very recent example: Prince of Persia.

Don't read this blog if you haven't finished Prince of Persia.



Wherein we discuss Prince of Persia, mostly the story. I found it a very interesting game. First off, you're put in the shoes of the Prince, who is a total enigma, and does not really open up much throughout. He talks a little about his travels and how his parents died, and I guess he robs tombs, but we don't really know anything about his past. While plenty of games cast you as a blank slate, like Fallout 3 or Fable 2, the Prince does have a personality and a past, we are just not given it. We know he is a good guy at heart, obviously, but at the same time he only seems to trust himself. That he trusts Elika seems like an exception, to me. I found myself talking to Elika at every opportunity just to learn more about these characters, the Prince (I call him that because we aren't even given a name) especially. At one point the Concubine, an awesome villain, alludes to him being a Prince, but she could be referring to the future as well, as it's all rather vague. Obviously the game's title is meant to make you think he is/was/will become a Prince, but that could be a red herring. So throughout the game we steer the prince towards his destiny without really knowing his true motivations. That's fine, most of the time, we are used to doing what games tell us to do, especially if it is the Right Thing To Do. Which it is throughout. Until the end.

Where the game really starting messing with me and making me think was the ending. Again, I must warn you, this is a total spoiler zone, and it is an ending so shocking you'll want to see what happens for yourself. After having gone through all the trouble of healing all the fertile grounds and killing Ahriman's four corrupted Lieutenants, we finally get to imprison Ahriman himself. Elika uses all her powers to restore life to the tree that keeps Ahriman imprisoned, which costs her her own life. At this point, the Prince picks Elika up and we get control again. The only thing we can do at this point is walk outside of the temple, and we do, and we put Elika on the stone slab outside. The Prince doesn't say word one during all of this, including everything that happens after this. Four radiant trees have grown in the area surrounding the temple, which I assume are keeping the tree of light, Ahriman's prison in the temple, intact. Hesitantly, I make my way towards the trees. Surely, he can't mean to do the same thing Elika's father did? At this point we start hearing Ahriman, who has two voices, male and female, whispering, softly. Being given no other choice, I cut down the first tree, and the area surrounding it is drained of life and color and grows corrupted again. At this point my worst fears are confirmed. The game, or rather the Prince, wants me to cut down all the trees, and that is all you can do, save for turning off the game. With every tree I cut down, the whispers grow louder. Ahriman is convincing me, the Prince, to free him to save Elika. But has the Prince already made up his mind? Is he controlled by Ahriman or does he know full well what he is doing?

Having cut down all the trees, the temple reopens. I return to the tree of light, Ahriman's prison, and the Prince takes the essence of the tree, which is the orbs of light we have been collecting throughout the game. With the orb of light in our hands, we return to Elika. The Prince infuses her with the light and she returns to life, blurting "Why?". The Prince picks her up, carries her off into the distance in silence as the temple collapses behind them, the land is ravaged by darkness and Ahriman escapes.

To Be Continued.


The reason I find this so very fascinating is not just because the story makes me want to see what happens next, but also for academic reasons. We are used to following a linear path in videogames because we're doing the right thing, or in rare cases, playing an evil character. We are almost
What was he thinking? Did he really care so much about her that he was willing to sacrifice the entire land? We'll have to wait and see...
always doing things that reflect the character's nature. In some cases, you determine this nature for yourself. But in Prince of Persia, what you do in the end undoes everything that led up to that point. And worse yet, we get no insight whatsoever into why the Prince is doing this, because he doesn't say anything. Throughout the game, while we learn little about his past, we learn quite a bit about the Prince's character. Despite his devil may care attitude, he clearly cares about Elika and wants to help her save this land. He's a pragmatist. So why would he sacrifice everything just to save Elika? Was it Ahriman's influence? Was it his own choice? By making the player do these things, we are encouraged to consider the Prince's motivations. Ours are simple: Finish the game to see what happens, even if it means doing something that, in the context of everything that has been told to the player in the game, is a Very Bad Thing. Personally, I think the Prince knew full well what he was doing and it was his own choice, because we retain control of the Prince, even if we have no true control. This ending in itself would be surprising, maybe a little shocking, if it had been a cut scene, but because we, as the player, are forced to commit these acts ourselves, their impact is increased dramatically. Just think about that for a second. By simply being interactive, as opposed to a static cut scene, we look upon these events in quite a different light.

Be warned, the following paragraph also contains spoilers for Metal Gear Solid 3 and minor spoilers for Shadow of the Colossus and Bioshock


There have certainly been moments in games where you have to do things that you may really not want to do, but we know why Snake had to shoot The Boss at the end of MGS 3, even if it wasn't easy to do. So when I was destroying the trees, I felt incredibly conflicted. I knew what was going to happen and I really didn't want to do it, but the story demanded I do it. To stop playing would mean simply ending the game before it has truly ended. We are, in essence, slaves to the game's demands. I think the designers have been heavily influenced by Shadow of the Colossus here, where you are going around killing these colossi, who are mostly pacifistic, to restore life to a girl. But even there, you aren't sure that you're truly doing an evil thing. But somehow, it just feels wrong. Every slain colossus is another step towards the game's tragic conclusion. What makes this so interesting is that you are given the illusion of control in videogames, but there are really only two choices: follow the path you are given or stop playing the game, which isn't even a real choice given by the game. Bioshock did a similar thing where it is revealed you have been manipulated all along, and even after you break the manipulation, you are still a slave to the game's whims.

This new movement of games that have something to say, implicitly, about the player's involvement in a game (in this case, that control is an illusion) is incredibly fascinating to me. Games where you get to make choices that influence the story have been around for a while, and while some of them are fairly succesful at creating the illusion of freedom, ultimately you're still doing the things the designers intended you to do. Forcing you, the player, to do things you really don't want to do, or things that just feel wrong, instead of just watching them happen in a cutscene, can evoke an incredible feeling of dread or sadness. And that, my friends, is what makes video games so special. They can evoke feelings no other medium can. And that's why we're all here, isn't it? Feel free to agree/disagree/discuss, I'd love to hear what you guys think.

Thanks for reading and happy new year!

Oni
#2 Edited by Rowr (5824 posts) -

awesome blog.

I am interested to see where game developers take this concept into the future.

It seems like in the last few years games have been maturing in this aspect, and its great.

#3 Posted by Lunarbunny (1025 posts) -

I'm curious as to whether the Prince actually cares about the land or the Ahura, or if he cares more about Elika. The ending seems to cement that it's the latter.

But yeah...when I got to the end, I was like "wait...I'm supposed to do what?" I considered trying to figure out if there was a 'greater good' alternative, but it forces you on that path if you want to finish the game.

#4 Posted by Gameboi (653 posts) -

Great blog!  I must say, the ending of the game surprised me.  It was an obvious set-up for the inevitable sequel, but I like it. It gave an emotional tug to the good ol' heartstrings -- something that I haven't felt since Shadow of the Colossus.

#5 Posted by Lunarbunny (1025 posts) -

I forgot to mention... since it's not a GFW Live or Steam title, there is no "To Be Continued" achievement for the PC version. I mean I guess it's kind of obvious that they're not just going to leave the story at that, but they didn't make an overt indication.

Now everybody's citing Shadow of the Colossus and I once again feel the need to play it (I've never owned a PS2). Dammit!

#6 Posted by TheGreatGuero (9130 posts) -

Great blog, dude. In all honesty, it helped me put the ending in more of a clear perspective. I never noticed the parallel's between the Prince's actions and Elika's father's. I think it all comes down to one simple thing. Any action a man does is pretty much a result of one thing: love. He didn't want to live without Elika and is clearly willing to endure the darkness just to be with her. Sure, he just undid all of their hard work, but hey, now they can do it all over again, yay! Sequel! For the record, I really enjoyed this game. The story and style of the game make it one that I think I'll remember for a long time.

#7 Posted by Azteris (810 posts) -

I still appreciate the ending for what it was, but I thought it would have been a lot more powerful (your point about interactivity aside) if it ended after he set her down. I thought the part where the credits started rolling as you walked down the hallway carrying her was very cinematic.

#8 Posted by Oni (2104 posts) -

That would've been a totally different ending though, and in all honesty not nearly as powerful, to me.

Also Lunarbunny, you should play SotC however you can. If you have a BC PS3, it's emulated pretty well. Borrow/steal/buy a PS2 if you have to, it really is an amazing game, some technical foibles notwithstanding.

But yeah, the fact that the Prince doesn't say anything makes me question whether he did it all just for Elika. Throughout the game he has a pretty cavalier attitude about the whole thing, sure, but also about her. It strikes me as odd that such a vagabond could completely and utterly fall for this one woman to the degree that he'd do what he did to save her, even if he didn't care that much for the land, setting Ahriman free will probably have some terrible consequences.

#9 Posted by Azteris (810 posts) -
Oni said:
"That would've been a totally different ending though, and in all honesty not nearly as powerful, to me.

Also Lunarbunny, you should play SotC however you can. If you have a BC PS3, it's emulated pretty well. Borrow/steal/buy a PS2 if you have to, it really is an amazing game, some technical foibles notwithstanding.

But yeah, the fact that the Prince doesn't say anything makes me question whether he did it all just for Elika. Throughout the game he has a pretty cavalier attitude about the whole thing, sure, but also about her. It strikes me as odd that such a vagabond could completely and utterly fall for this one woman to the degree that he'd do what he did to save her, even if he didn't care that much for the land, setting Ahriman free will probably have some terrible consequences."
Really? It seems much more deep for the Prince to accept her death than to do what he did. I mean the entire game it was obvious they were falling for each other. I guess to see him play the selfish role just seems more natural but also not at all what Elika would have wanted.
#10 Edited by Rowr (5824 posts) -
Azteris said:
"Oni said:
"That would've been a totally different ending though, and in all honesty not nearly as powerful, to me.

Also Lunarbunny, you should play SotC however you can. If you have a BC PS3, it's emulated pretty well. Borrow/steal/buy a PS2 if you have to, it really is an amazing game, some technical foibles notwithstanding.

But yeah, the fact that the Prince doesn't say anything makes me question whether he did it all just for Elika. Throughout the game he has a pretty cavalier attitude about the whole thing, sure, but also about her. It strikes me as odd that such a vagabond could completely and utterly fall for this one woman to the degree that he'd do what he did to save her, even if he didn't care that much for the land, setting Ahriman free will probably have some terrible consequences."
Really? It seems much more deep for the Prince to accept her death than to do what he did. I mean the entire game it was obvious they were falling for each other. I guess to see him play the selfish role just seems more natural but also not at all what Elika would have wanted."
yeh i agree.

At first i totally thought that was the end. I was actually slightly dissapointed on a few levels when it wasnt.

Heh imagine the internet outrage.
#11 Posted by Oni (2104 posts) -

A character dying is nothing new. But to make the player himself do something that goes against everything the game has taught you, essentially, just messed with me so much. It's awesome. Having Elika die wouldn't have had that effect and would've basically just been "alright, I guess for the next game there will be a new love interest, great?"

Also, for the Prince, who goes through a lot of trouble to make it pretty clear he doesn't really care for people in general, to do what he did for Elika was pretty significant. That's my take away, anyways, feel free to disagree, obviously :)

#12 Posted by Azteris (810 posts) -
Oni said:
"A character dying is nothing new. But to make the player himself do something that goes against everything the game has taught you, essentially, just messed with me so much. It's awesome. Having Elika die wouldn't have had that effect and would've basically just been "alright, I guess for the next game there will be a new love interest, great?"

Also, for the Prince, who goes through a lot of trouble to make it pretty clear he doesn't really care for people in general, to do what he did for Elika was pretty significant. That's my take away, anyways, feel free to disagree, obviously :)"
As far as what it did for the interactivity part of storytelling and how much effect that can have, it was definitely great. By no means did I hate the ending, I just thought that it limited the growth in the character. To me, what he did was very much so in character for him. He cared about Elika yes, but most would consider what he did very selfish. Didn't you consider Elika's father's actions selfish? So no, I think doing what he did was in character and made it seem he did not change during the course of the game, which I felt he had. While the ending was great in many ways, I think it was counter-intuitive in others.
#13 Edited by Rowr (5824 posts) -
Oni said:
"A character dying is nothing new. But to make the player himself do something that goes against everything the game has taught you, essentially, just messed with me so much. It's awesome. Having Elika die wouldn't have had that effect and would've basically just been "alright, I guess for the next game there will be a new love interest, great?"

Also, for the Prince, who goes through a lot of trouble to make it pretty clear he doesn't really care for people in general, to do what he did for Elika was pretty significant. That's my take away, anyways, feel free to disagree, obviously :)"
She was never going to be dead, thats not the sort of game it is. It would be like taking a romantic comedy and having the couple not inevitabley get together at the end.

So of course you expected her to be saved somehow.

I just like it when media (same with movies) makes a statement and goes the other way occasionally. It's far more powerful. Take a particular scene in The Darkness for example.

I definitely felt the more powerful part was him carrying her out of the cave.

Throughout the game it was really Elika's goal to heal the FERTILE LANDS, the prince (on the face of it ofc) just wanted to fix everything up and find his ass. It never seemed to me like the prince was so concerned with the FERTILE LANDS as much as he was of Elika. So it never felt like such a big deal. It was the obvious course of action.

Basically my brain just said, oh ok, SEQUEL, i get it.....

Which brings up another issue. Are games and movies hamstringing their stories by catering to a sequel, in this expensive business orientated age?
#14 Posted by Azteris (810 posts) -
Rowr said:
"Oni said:
"A character dying is nothing new. But to make the player himself do something that goes against everything the game has taught you, essentially, just messed with me so much. It's awesome. Having Elika die wouldn't have had that effect and would've basically just been "alright, I guess for the next game there will be a new love interest, great?"

Also, for the Prince, who goes through a lot of trouble to make it pretty clear he doesn't really care for people in general, to do what he did for Elika was pretty significant. That's my take away, anyways, feel free to disagree, obviously :)"
She was never going to be dead, thats not the sort of game it is. It would be like taking a romantic comedy and having the couple not inevitabley get together at the end.

So of course you expected her to be saved somehow.

I just like it when media (same with movies) makes a statement and goes the other way occasionally. It's far more powerful. Take a particular scene in The Darkness for example.

I definitely felt the more powerful part was him carrying her out of the cave.

Throughout the game it was really Elika's goal to heal the FERTILE LANDS, the prince (on the face of it ofc) just wanted to fix everything up and find his ass. It never seemed to me like the prince was so concerned with the FERTILE LANDS as much as he was of Elika. So it never felt like such a big deal. It was the obvious course of action.

Basically my brain just said, oh ok, SEQUEL, i get it.....

Which brings up another issue. Are games and movies hamstringing their stories by catering to a sequel, in this expensive business orientated age?"
Definitely. I think anytime you walk away from a movie/game/or even book and are saying "okay so they've set it up for a sequel" is them intentionally leaving the work incomplete so that they're is a reason for them to come back to it.
#15 Edited by Oni (2104 posts) -

At the same time, there is nothing wrong with that as long as they wrap up the events of the game/movie, or at least end it satisfyingly. Which I think they did in this game. There was a definite arc with a definite endpoint. Unlike, say, Crysis and its expansion, which both have absolutely awful endings, that aren't endings at all. I felt ripped off there. But not so in PoP.

And while selfish, I still think it's significant that the Prince did what he did in the end. The land was healed, all was well, he could've easily moved on with his life and said goodbye to that whole place, but he chose to stay with Elika, which is totally contrary to his nature. So while the selfish aspect of his action is in character for him, I think the staying is a very significant departure from his vagabond nature. To say that that is not a development is a fallacy, in my opinion.

also I wrote a review, please check it out and comment :)

#16 Posted by Rowr (5824 posts) -
Oni said:
"At the same time, there is nothing wrong with that as long as they wrap up the events of the game/movie, or at least end it satisfyingly. Which I think they did in this game. There was a definite arc with a definite endpoint. Unlike, say, Crysis and its expansion, which both have absolutely awful endings, that aren't endings at all. I felt ripped off there. But not so in PoP.

And while selfish, I still think it's significant that the Prince did what he did in the end. The land was healed, all was well, he could've easily moved on with his life and said goodbye to that whole place, but he chose to stay with Elika, which is totally contrary to his nature. So while the selfish aspect of his action is in character for him, I think the staying is a very significant departure from his vagabond nature. To say that that is not a development is a fallacy, in my opinion.

also I wrote a review, please check it out and comment :)"
ahhh yes. Of course tho his motivation for hanging around in the first place was always questioned but never answered. Although they danced around it like awkward 15 year olds, his motivaitons were pretty clear from the start, and the ending was the final confirmation of those motivations.

In this case i wasnt dissapointed with the ending. I interpreted the game as a light action adventure from the start and totally appreciate it for what it is. Not every game needs to be Bioshock.

And I could totally go for a sequel.

#17 Edited by Azteris (810 posts) -
Oni said:
"At the same time, there is nothing wrong with that as long as they wrap up the events of the game/movie, or at least end it satisfyingly. Which I think they did in this game. There was a definite arc with a definite endpoint. Unlike, say, Crysis and its expansion, which both have absolutely awful endings, that aren't endings at all. I felt ripped off there. But not so in PoP.

And while selfish, I still think it's significant that the Prince did what he did in the end. The land was healed, all was well, he could've easily moved on with his life and said goodbye to that whole place, but he chose to stay with Elika, which is totally contrary to his nature. So while the selfish aspect of his action is in character for him, I think the staying is a very significant departure from his vagabond nature. To say that that is not a development is a fallacy, in my opinion.

also I wrote a review, please check it out and comment :)"
I can see your point and would concede that it is development, but not, atleast for me, very satisfactory growth. It is development, but in a very minor way. I see that more as falling in love than changing as a person.

EDIT: I also could totally go for a sequel. I really liked the game.
#18 Posted by Oni (2104 posts) -

Yeah, I guess you could say that Azteris. But I still liked it way more purely as a story development than I would've if she'd just died. That's just me, I guess.

And yeah, I will buy the sequel. I just hope they make the platforming more fluid and free-form like the old games rather than so restricted.

#19 Posted by Rowr (5824 posts) -
Oni said:
"Yeah, I guess you could say that Azteris. But I still liked it way more purely as a story development than I would've if she'd just died. That's just me, I guess.

And yeah, I will buy the sequel. I just hope they make the platforming more fluid and free-form like the old games rather than so restricted."
I dont mind the tight feel of the platforming, also it helps to restrict bugs. I was incredibly suprised how well they avoided glitchy platform moments, given the potential for problems.

I hope they make it a bit trickier tho, or at least have a harder difficulty setting. It was far to forgiving on timing. As long as you hit the B button somewhere within 10 seconds of the ring you are fine.
#20 Posted by Kilzombie (407 posts) -

Yeah, the ending was a shocker, great blog post. I did notice during my second playthrough that when Elika said she trusted the prince he says "well you haven't known me long enough" which foretells what happens at the end of the game, also when he questions her about her experience with men she says something along the lines of "I've had experience with men doing stupid things for women" and that's clearly refrencing what her father did to keep her alive.

#21 Posted by eleniel (15 posts) -

Great post.

Emotions going through the ending were interesting.  I had the same "They're not really going to make me free Ahriman, are they? Oh no, they are...." thoughts.  And yet it made sense.  I remember thinking toward the end, before I got to the temple the last time, how it was great we were restoring the land and everything, but why? Everything was ruined and no one lived there any more.  It was just some pretty landscape... isn't Elika's life worth more than that? And maybe that justification would have been fine if bringing her back didn't *also* release a dark god that would simply move on to destroying the next land...

Can't wait for the sequel~

#22 Posted by Jayge_ (10221 posts) -

I think the Prince did it as much to say "Fuck you" to Ormazd as to save the Princess.

#23 Edited by Zebadee (491 posts) -

The way I saw the ending was that you had two choices.

The credits rolled as you walked out the temple and placed Elika on the stone, you are then given back control, to me this is where the game ended however I think it was the developers clever idea to make you choose:

Turn off the game, leave Elika... keep the world safe.

Could we get ourselves to do that though? No... we couldn't. We wanted to save Elika, we wanted to see what happened next, obviously that came at a price where we instead had to witness the horrifying sight of everything we had just done be put back to the beginning and made worse. I found it strange the developers chose to roll even longer credits after you had done this as if this was the way the game should of ended.

Don't you feel it would of been much cooler if the whole credits were somehow done as you exited the temple and then thats it, it's your choice? Turning the game off as if you were saying goodbye to Elkia or falling into the developers hands and try to save her?

Edit:
By the way didn't you find it genius with how the platforming for the four trees at the end was designed? The way it displayed obvious routes to the trees but you couldn't go that way because of your loss of Elika? I thought that really helped impact what you were about to do and why you were doing it.

#24 Posted by nathos (79 posts) -

"By the way didn't you find it genious with how the platforming for the four trees at the end was designed? The way it displayed obvious routes to the trees but you couldn't go that way because of your loss of Elika? I thought that really helped impact what you were about to do and why you were doing it."

I also like how the game wouldn't let you jump from the top of the temple steps to the ground, since Elika wouldn't be there to save you. 
#25 Posted by Oni (2104 posts) -

Yeah that messed with me. First thing I did was try to jump up there from those steps, and then I realized "Oh yeah, I can't do that now..." Yet another reason why the ending is so brilliant!

#26 Posted by brukaoru (5079 posts) -

I call him the Prince, simply, because I looked in the manual for the game and they had him listed as such.

Anyway, I completely agree that I think he knew full well what he was doing and I don't believe he was under the influence of Ahriman either.

As for the ending, I also agree I would have been bothered if the game had ended after the first credits had rolled, because I don't think it would have fit his personality to just leave, which Elika wanted, because he is selfish. Which is my issue with two endings, it wouldn't fit at all.

i am looking forward to the sequel as well.

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