In 2006, aged just 15, football prodigy Kiyan Prince was stabbed to death while protecting a friend from a knife attack. One of the most promising talents in the Queens Park Rangers (QPR) youth academy, Prince’s life was devastatingly cut short before he could fulfil his potential.
Now, on the 15th anniversary of his death, Prince is hitting headlines again as he signs for the senior squad at his former club – as a playable character on EA Sports’ Fifa 21. The campaign has been devised to inspire young people to be the best version of themselves.
’Long Live the Prince’ was created pro bono by Engine, in collaboration with EA Sports and the Kiyan Prince Foundation, which was set up by Prince’s father in 2007. All proceeds raised by the campaign will go directly to the foundation.
To create the virtual likeness of what Prince would have looked like, Engine partnered with Framestore, with input from the Prince family and help from Professor Hassan Ugail at the University of Bradford. Cutting edge ageing-projection software helped create a scientifically accurate image that was developed into the likeness of Prince seen in the campaign. Framestore brought this to life in film through AI technology, partnering with ELC.
EA Sports then added Prince to the QPR team roster in Fifa 21. Fans across the globe can now play as him in-game after developers worked closely with Prince’s family, friends and former teammates and coaches on integrating him into the game.
James Salmon, marketing director of the EA Sports Fifa Brand, said: “By adding Kiyan in-game this year, we not only want to celebrate what an incredibly talented footballer he was and should have been, but also continue to offer EA Sports Fifa as a platform to raise awareness of the Kiyan Prince Foundation.”
Adding to this, Billy Faithfull, chief creative officer at Engine, said: “This isn’t a story about death, it’s a story about life. An ambitious, hardworking, talented boy and the man he could have become. The kind of man he can inspire boys to be.
“The younger and more marginalized an audience are, the harder they are to reach, so our starting point was to think about how to connect Kiyan’s powerful story with kids who are virtually immune to traditional knife-crime advertising. Getting to them through gaming, influence networks and sponsorship felt like a unique and effective medium to speak to them and help The Kiyan Prince Foundation continue its vital work.”