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  By Keegan McGuire/Oct. 7, 2020 12:02 pm EDT

  The Prince of Persia series has been around for more than 30 years, and the recent announcement of a remastered version of The Sands of Time has sparked life back into the franchise.

  However, after two reboots, a couple of graphic novels, a movie, and a lot of time rewinding, the timeline for the series gets a little convoluted. Toss in some non-canon endings for certain games, different console versions of the same game with separate stories, and an unnamed protagonist, and things become pretty confusing. To help clear things up, we’ve put together a guide to help understand the story of the Prince of Persia.

  The timeline starts with the first Prince of Persia back in 1989 that kicked off the first trilogy of games. Then we go into the core timeline that begins with The Sands of Time. After that, we’ll look at what the Prince got into after that series ended. This is the entire Prince of Persia timeline explained.

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  The first Prince of Persia game kicks off the original trilogy and introduces a storyline and setup that might seem a little familiar. Our hero is the Prince, who, despite his name, starts his story as an orphan who lives on the streets. After scaling the Sultan of Persia’s palace, he sees the beautiful Princess, and the two fall in love.

  While the Sultan attends to a faraway conflict, his evil Vizier, Jaffar, takes advantage of his absence to ascend to the throne. Both the Prince and the Princess land in prison, and the Princess has one hour to decide whether she will agree to Jaffar’s offer of marriage or die at his hands. This hour starts a real-time timer that players must compete against.

  With only an hour to complete the game and save the Princess, there isn’t much time in Prince of Persia for exposition. The most significant thing that occurs on the Prince’s path to a showdown with Jaffar is the creation of a transparent version of the Prince, the Shadow Prince. The Prince must merge with this entity to reach the Vizier, who he defeats in a duel.

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  The story gets a bit more involved in the second game of the original trilogy, Prince of Persia?2: The Shadow and the Flame. Kicking off just 11 days after the conclusion of the first game, the Prince has achieved his namesake title and won the Princess’ hand in marriage. Unfortunately, evil Vizier Jaffar has returned to make things harder.

  Jaffar changes his appearance to match the Prince’s and transforms the Prince into a beggar using magic. The disguised Jaffar orders the guards to seize the Prince, who escapes the city on a ship. Jaffar’s magical lightning strikes the vessel that carries the Prince, and he awakens on an island. While searching for the flying carpet that allows him to leave the island, a vision of his mother visits him and explains his royal lineage.

  The Shadow Prince reappears, and the Prince learns to control his interactions with him. Using the Shadow Prince and the Blue Flame, the Prince burns Jaffar, defeating him and ending his attacks forever. The Princess and the Prince reunite before the game ends with a witch watching them in a crystal ball.

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  Prince of Persia 3D, the last entry in the original trilogy, came with a significant visual upgrade. While the third game was a continuation of the story started in Prince of Persia, it was produced without series creator Jordan Mechner and deviated from the original arc.

  The witch storyline foreshadowed in The Shadow and the Flame is gone, although there were references to it in the manual. Instead, the story starts with the Prince and the Sultan visiting Assan, the Sultan’s brother. The Sultan had promised the Princess to Assan’s son, Rugnor, who happens to be half-tiger. After imprisoning the Prince and the Princess, Assan kills the Sultan. Rugnor abducts the Princess and takes her to a temple in the mountains. The Prince follows them and finds that Rugnor has tied the Princess to a giant gear after she refused to marry him.

  The game features two endings. If the Prince fails to defeat Rugnor within a certain amount of time, the Princess gets crushed and the Prince killed by Rugnor as he mourns. If the Prince beats the timer, Rugnor falls into the gears, saving the Princess’ life, and the two escape on a lamassu.

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  The series then went on hiatus until 2003, when Ubisoft decided to reboot the franchise. That reboot would become known as Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and starts the core timeline of the series. This is the universe that almost every game that followed would exist in and that is receiving a remake.

  The Sands of Time opens with the Prince telling an unseen character, “Most people think time is like a river that flows swift and sure in one direction.” This vital line appears multiple times over the main Prince of Persia timeline, indicating that the Prince has returned in time to the beginning of his story.

  He explains that he is the son of the Persian King Sharaman and that he and his father were traveling to Azad when they were tricked into attacking an Indian kingdom by the evil Vizier. The Vizier manipulates King Sharaman and the Prince into the assault in order to gain access to the Maharajah’s treasure vault. However, the Prince gets there first, where he acquires the Dagger of Time, to the Vizier’s frustration, while his father takes the Hourglass of Time.

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  The Prince and his father travel to Azad with the Vizier and the Maharajah’s captured daughter, Farah. They present the Hourglass of Time to the Sultan of Azad, where the Vizier tricks the Prince into using the Dagger of Time to open it.

  The Sands of Time escape the Hourglass and transform everyone into sand creatures — everyone, that is, except for the Prince, Farah, and the Vizier, each of whom has a different magical artifact that protects them from the Sands. The Vizier has the Hourglass taken to a distant part of the Azad palace while the Prince and Farah fight off sand creatures, including the Prince’s father.

  The Prince and Farah work together to reach the Hourglass, and as they travel together, their disdain grows into affection. They make their way to a final confrontation with the Vizier, during which Farah sacrifices herself to save the Prince. An enraged Prince uses the Dagger to trigger a Grand Rewind, sending the timeline back before the attack on the Indian kingdom.

  In the past, the Prince defeats the Vizier once again and returns the dagger to Farah. While she does not believe his story, he repeats the secret word she told him on their travels, “Kakolookiyam,” before leaving.

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  After The Sands of Time reset the clock, the timeline starts to get a little more confusing, not only because the Prince has been jumping back and forth in time, but the chronological order of the story begins to go against the real release dates of the games.

  As such, the last main Prince of Persia game released, 2010’s The Forgotten Sands, is up next, as it is set in the seven years between The Sands of Time and Warrior Within. However, it is also worth noting that The Forgotten Sands is the title of four different games on different platforms –?each of which has different storylines.

  One version, designed for release on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, tells the tale of the Prince’s brother, Malik. Another version appeared for the Wii, in which the Prince releases an ancient evil in the ancient Kingdom of Izdihar. The PSP version sees the Prince fighting a renegade fire spirit, and the Nintendo DS version takes place in a mysterious Indian cult.

  Only the version created for the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 is canon.

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  In the official version of The Forgotten Sands, the Prince travels to visit his brother, Malik. Upon arriving at Malik’s palace, he finds it in a state of war, with an invading army trying to breach the walls and reach a relic called Solomon’s Army.

  The two make their way into the treasure vault, where Malik decides to unleash Solomon’s Army to save what remains of his people. The Prince objects, but Malik breaks the magic seal that guards Solomon’s Army. Each brother takes half of the broken seal, which keeps them safe from the power unleashed, which turns every other living thing into stone.

  Aided by a Djinn, Razia, the Prince realizes that he must reunite the seals, even if his brother objects. Things get worse when an Ifrit called Ratash arrives, also unleashed by the broken seals. Ratash merges with the Prince’s brother, taking over his body and growing at a rapid rate. After finding a Djinn sword, the Prince defeats Ratash and frees his brother, although Malik’s wounds are too great, and he dies soon after.

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  The next significant story development comes not from the main series but a Nintendo DS exclusive released in 2005, just after?Warrior Within. Battles of Prince of Persia was a tactical game which featured the Prince leading Persia’s army to foreign lands while learning more about one of his most important enemies, the Dahaka.

  The Dahaka is a guardian of the timeline created by the gods. After the events of The Forgotten Sands, the Dahaka begins pursuing the Prince to punish him for manipulating time. This endless pursuit is what explains the Prince’s shocking transformation that has occurred in the seven years since the end of The Sands of Time.

  Warrior Within, released in 2004, opens with the Prince on a ship headed for the Island of Time, where he hopes to find the Fortress of Time, home to the Empress of Time. The Prince and his crew fight Shahdee, servant of the Empress of Time. The Prince pursues her across the island, into the fortress, and finally through a time portal that takes them both to the past.

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  In the past, the Prince fights and defeats Shahdee as she attacks a woman in red, Kaileena. The Prince seeks out the Throne Room but finds himself followed by the Sand Wraith and the Dahaka. Before the Prince reaches the Throne Room, the Dahaka attacks him, but he’s saved by the Sand Wraith, who dies in the Prince’s place. Entering the Throne Room, the Prince finds Kaileena, revealed as the Empress of Time. Kaileena has discovered her fate is to be killed by the Prince. The Prince reluctantly fulfills this prophecy and returns to the present.

  The Prince discovers the Mask of the Wraith and becomes the Sand Wraith, realizing it was himself the whole time. He retraces the Sand Wraith’s steps but does not save his previous self. The Prince concludes that if Kaileena dies in the present, instead of the past, the Sands of Time will never exist.

  Here, the story splits, depending on whether the player has discovered the Water Sword or not. If the Prince has the Water Sword, he fights and destroys the Dahaka, helping them both avoid their fates. If not, the Dahaka consumes Kaileena and takes the Medallion of Time.

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  The canonical ending of Warrior Within is the one in which Kaileena survives, as she appears in the last game in the Sands of Time series, The Two Thrones. The Prince and Kaileena travel to Babylon, which they find under siege by the Scythians.

  Due to the timeline changes that occurred after Kaileena’s survival, the Vizier from The Sands of Time is still alive and is waiting for the pair in Babylon. When the Prince and Kaileena arrive, the Vizier kidnaps and kills Kaileena, finally releasing the Sands of Time. The Vizier impales himself on the Dagger of Time, achieving immortality and becoming Zurvan, the God of Time.

  The Prince grabs the Dagger of Time but is partly infected by the Sands of Time, as is the rest of the city. The Prince’s infected left arm occasionally takes over, allowing the darker, more violent parts of his personality to take hold. Through chance, the Prince reunites with his lost love, Farah, in the city as the Vizier’s prisoner. The two rekindle the relationship that never happened in this timeline but face the Prince’s uncontrolled reversions to the Dark Prince, an entity consumed by revenge.

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  Upon reaching the palace where the Prince grew up, which the Vizier has occupied, the Prince?becomes separated from Farah and falls down an old well. At the bottom, he finds the body of his father and realizes that his selfishness and anger have created the circumstances around him.

  The prince resolves to drive the Dark Prince out of his mind and faces off against the Vizier in his new body of Zurvan, the God of Time. The Prince strikes a killing blow with the Dagger of Time, destroying the Vizier and causing the Sands of Time to reform into Kaileena. Kaileena heals the Prince of his infection and leaves to find a safer home for herself.

  However, the Prince still must face the demon inside himself. The Dark Prince drags the Prince into a strange mental realm that travels through many of the places the Prince has been. In the end, the Prince gives up his ambitions of power and leaves the Dark Prince behind for good. Reunited with Farah, the Prince recounts his story from the beginning, telling her that, “Most people think time is like a river that flows swift and sure in one direction.”

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  After the main series ended, there were a couple more significant Prince of Persia titles that ended up not having a substantial impact on the overall timeline. The first was the second major reboot of the series, 2008’s Prince of Persia. In this game, the Prince was a nameless wanderer who was aided by the spirit Elika in his fight against a corrupted god, Ahriman. The game never received a sequel, and its story is ultimately unrelated to the main games.

  The next significant project was Disney’s 2010 The Prince of Persia film. The movie was one of the few instances where the Prince received a name, here called Dastan and played by Jake Gyllenhall.?The film uses elements from many of the Prince of Persia games, such as a dagger that rewinds time and a traitorous brother of the King. However, the movie isn’t connected to the greater timeline of Prince of Persia.

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