Prince of Persia producer Ben Mattes has told Eurogamer that his title will slip into 2009 "if the quality's not there", but added that the team was nevertheless committed to hitting its pre-Christmas target.
Treated to a walkthrough of the E3 demo earlier this month at Ubisoft Montreal, while it wowed us with its content, the code was noticeably buggy and suffered from a dodgy frame-rate in places. And the game will remain hands-off only to the press at E3 this week.
When we asked Mattes how confident he was of hitting the Christmas release date, at first he batted away suggestions of a slip, commenting: "If I want a job here next year it better be [out this year]." But when asked whether there was any leeway if the team wasn't 100 percent happy with the game, he added:
"Obviously we're not going to release the game if the quality's not there, that's for sure. But our goal is to make sure the quality is there in time. At least in my conversations [with Ubisoft management] it's got to be out for Christmas. We want the Christmas market; we want a now one year stagger with Assassin's Creed."
Ubisoft has recently granted extra development time for other high profile games, including Free Radical's Haze, which got an extra nine months, and promising forthcoming Clancy RTS EndWar, which got a bonus six months courtesy of Assassin's stellar sales.
Mattes also revealed that the tightly managed reveal campaign for the return of Prince of Persia, which was shown publicly for the first time only at UbiDays in May, was a conscious effort to avoid the risk of over-hyping which some believe impacted negatively on the reception to Assassin's Creed.
"I think that played into our decision this time around, certainly," he conceded. "We're following that same sort of pattern. But whereas they did it over a year, we're doing it over six months. But hopefully we'll generate suitable levels of hype and buzz."
You can find out exactly how hyped we are by reading our full impressions of the Prince of Persia E3 build on Eurogamer today. It's due out on PS3, 360, PC and DS and we're crossing everything that we'll be playing this in our pants come Christmas morning.