Jordan Mechner

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Jordan Mechner
Jordan Mechner at WonderCon 2010 3.JPG
Jordan Mechner at WonderCon 2010
Born (1964-06-04) June 4, 1964 (age 50)
New York City
Nationality American
Occupation video game designer, screenwriter, author, and filmmaker
Known for Creator of Prince of Persia

Jordan Mechner (born 4 June 1964)[1] is an American video game designer, screenwriter, author, and filmmaker, best known for creating the Prince of Persia video game franchise and the 8-bit game Karateka.

Life and early career[edit]

Mechner was born in New York City. He is a graduate of Yale University where he received a BA in psychology in 1985.

While at Yale, Mechner wrote several Apple II games that he submitted for publication, but which were rejected. Star Blaster, an Asteroids clone, was submitted to Hayden Software and Deathbounce, an abstract arcade game, to Broderbund. He then spent two years at Yale writing his first published game, Karateka (1984), which went to number one on the Billboard software chart.

His second game, Prince of Persia, was released in 1989 after over four years of work. He wrote both games in 6502 assembly language for the Apple II, though that system was in decline through the late 1980s and little new software was released by 1989. Initially Prince of Persia sold poorly, but as it was ported to other systems sales increased. Eventually it was adapted for nearly every computer and console platform.

Mechner designed and directed the first sequel, Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame[citation needed], released in 1993. By then, he was focused on game design and story mechanics and was no longer programming.

Mechner founded independent developer Smoking Car Productions in 1993, where he led the production of the CD-ROM adventure game The Last Express. Smoking Car grew to sixty people,[2] a huge game development team for the mid-1990s, and the game took longer to finish than anticipated. When finally released in 1997, it was positively reviewed but sold poorly. Combined with the high development budget, this bankrupted Smoking Car.

Mechner's first four games were all published by Brøderbund.

Prince of Persia revival[edit]

In 2001, Mechner worked with Ubisoft to reboot Prince of Persia. Developed at Ubisoft Montreal with Mechner as game designer, writer and creative consultant, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was released in 2003. It received 12 nominations and 8 awards at the Interactive Achievement Awards (D.I.C.E.).[3] Ubisoft has since published four more Prince of Persia sequels and several spinoffs.

Mechner became one of the few video game creators to adapt his own creation as a feature film with Disney's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, directed by Mike Newell, and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, and Alfred Molina. Disney released Prince of Persia movie on May 28, 2010. Mechner wrote the first drafts of the screenplay and is an executive producer of the film.

Writing and directing[edit]

In 2003, Mechner wrote and directed the documentary film, Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story. It won the 2003 IDA award for Best Short Documentary, was short-listed for an Academy Award nomination, and received its broadcast premiere on PBS Independent Lens in 2005.[4]

Mechner's first graphic novel, Solomon's Thieves, illustrated by LeUyen Pham & Alex Puvilland, was published by First Second Books in May 2010.[5] Mechner previously collaborated with First Second, Pham & Puvilland on the 2008 Prince of Persia graphic novel written by A.B. Sina. Mechner also wrote the graphic novel, Prince of Persia: Before the Sandstorm, to tie in with the release of the film in 2010. Templar, also illustrated by Pham and Puvilland, will be published in July 2013.

Mechner is writing the screenplay for a film adaptation of Michael Turner's Fathom for Fox Studios and actress Megan Fox.[6]

Mechner has posted old journals and videos from the 1980s, describing the making of the first Prince of Persia game, on his personal blog,[7] where he also posts sketches and current information about his projects.[8] Mechner was able to recover the source code of the Prince of Persia game from recently found 23 years old 3.5″ Apple ProDOS floppy disks[9] and posted it online.[10]

Published games[edit]

Title Year Platform Publisher
Karateka 1984 Apple II Brøderbund Software
Prince of Persia 1989 Apple II Brøderbund Software
Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame 1993 DOS Brøderbund Software
The Last Express 1997 Windows, DOS, Mac OS Brøderbund Software
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 2003 PlayStation 2 Ubisoft
Karateka 2012 Xbox 360 D3 Publisher

Movies[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]