A 'leaked' screenshot from a potential Prince of Persia reboot has surfaced on the official Ubisoft forums this past weekend. Bearing the moniker 'POP_ZERO_2', this image appears to star a completely new and highly muscular hero in an unknown setting.
It's not yet clear whether this is the genuine article or not, but judging by the technical information featured in the photo - along with the quality of the screen capture - it appears to have been taken from within development. Even if there is little else to suggest whether it might be real, this image bears a great deal of similarity to the shots posted on NeoGaf prior to this year's E3; specifically, they seem to include the same hero and locale. On an intriguing note, the POP_ZERO_2 tag might be a reference to old rumours of a canned Prince of Persia reboot set in the modern day, entitled POP Zero.
This isn't the first time Prince of Persia has rebooted, of course. 2008 saw the release of a cell-shaded instalment starring Nolan North as the titular Prince, but Ubisoft subsequently returned to the 'Sands of Time' chronology with 2010's The Forgotten Sands.
Regardless of the leak's authenticity, it raises many questions. Whilst it's hard not to notice a radical departure in style (its gritty and realistic edge is reminiscent of the Assassin's Creed series, another Ubisoft-developed property) a point worth noting would be the picture's inclusion of a large crowd of civilians. Another element more commonly associated with the Assassin's Creed franchise, this might suggest a change of direction for an IP that historically concerned itself with platforming and puzzles.
Elsewhere, the proclamation from the NeoGaf photos that "Judgement is coming" - not to mention the style of those stills and the bald hero included in both apparent leaks - is more than a little reminiscent of PlayStation's God of War. Could this Prince of Persia see a greater focus on the latter's hack-and-slash action?
If you have any thoughts on what this could mean for the franchise, put them in the comments section below or give us your musings on Twitter @GamingExcel. Alternatively, feel free to let me know what you think personally @thewordyben.