A piece of art found in Assassin’s Creed IV appears to feature a character from a leaked screenshot purportedly showing a next-gen reboot of the Prince of Persia franchise that made its way onto the Internet in August of last year.
The image in question appears as part of Assassin’s Creed IV‘s present day segment, within a document that lists possible eras the game’s fictional developer, Abstergo Entertainment, might explore in their future products. Of all the concept art included in the list, this one, focused on Egypt, appears to be the most visually polished. Even more interesting, the shot features a black man with a physique, hairstyle, outfit that appears nearly identical to the player character from the 2012 Prince of Persia leak.
Skeptical? Check out the original image and judge for yourself:
The project represented in the above screen, referred to as both Prince of Persia Zero and Osiris, was allegedly in development at Assassin’s Creed studio Ubisoft Montreal as recently as 2012. In January of this year, a video featuring mocap footage from the game surfaced the Internet. In response to the second leak, a representative told Polygon that the clip was “from a Ubisoft project that is no longer moving forward.” That doesn’t mean, however, that the concept wasn’t reworked to fit a different project entirely.
Adding to the mystery are comments from ACIV director Ashraf Ismail, who recently said he’d “love to explore Egypt” in a future iteration of the game. Given that the franchise’s yearly release cycle centers around two teams alternating development duties, the soonest we’ll see another project helmed by Ismail will be fall 2015. In addition, Ubisoft has occasionally referred to Assassin’s Creed III, IV, and the next game in the franchise as “the Kenway trilogy,” making it unlikely that we’ll see such an abrupt change in setting for next year’s title.
It may very well be that work on the scrapped Osiris project has since been worked into Ubisoft’s upcoming plans for Assassin’s Creed, providing the groundwork for the first next-gen exclusive entry, perhaps to be released in 2015. Then again, this could just as likely be nothing more than a meaningless easter egg planted by the folks at Ubisoft Montreal who worked on the Osiris concept. Only time will tell.