I was a big fan of Rayman Origins when it came out back in 2011. It was an old-school platformer with a breathtaking art style that managed to toe a perfect line between challenge and gratification, making it a breath of fresh air in a genre that’s been more or less dominated by Nintendo‘s mustachioed plumber, at least in the mainstream market.
Consequently, I was a little disappointed when I learned that the game’s sequel, Rayman Legends, was to be a Wii U exclusive. I hadn’t yet (and still haven’t, for that matter) decided whether or not to pick up Nintendo’s new console, and though Rayman Legends looked just as good as its predecessor, it wasn’t the sort of title one purchases a console for. My displeasure at its exclusivity, though, was nothing compared to the ire that Ubisoft drew from Wii U owners when they announced back in February that the game’s release would be pushed back to September. The news would have been terrible enough on its own, as the game had initially been slated as a Wii U launch title, but when Ubisoft told fans that the delay would be used to give the game a simultaneous release on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, it made things even worse.
In an interview that was published in the most recent issue of the Official Nintendo Magazine [via Destructoid], Rayman Legends‘ lead designer Michel Ancel explained that the backlash that came from the fans, while not unexpected, was extremely difficult to see:
“No, I wasn’t shocked, but it was really hard for us. Of course, there are more important issues and problems in the world but we worked really hard to make something and were so involved, it was difficult for us and the fans.”
In an effort to make it up to these disgruntled fans, Ancel and the rest of the design team have been using the extra development time as constructively as possible, and have added a substantial amount of new content to the title. Senior Game Manager Michael Micholic confirmed that it isn’t just the usual ‘polish’ that the team has been working on, but a whole slew of brand new levels:
“Trust me, the things we are adding aren’t minor. We’re not talking about adding some polish here and there, but 30 new levels and several new bosses.”
Considering that Rayman Legends was originally going to contain around 60 stages, this means that the team has increased the size of the game by about 50%, which is no small feat. What wasn’t clear in the interview was whether or not this content is going to be Wii U exclusive, which would likely be one of the few things that would really placate those fans disgruntled with the title’s change of direction, but given all the extra work that this would have taken, it’s most likely that this content will be available across all versions.
I know that there are quite a few people who won’t be pacified by this, but even if you’re still angry at Ubisoft, you have to appreciate the extra effort the design team put in to try and make the delay a little more worthwhile. Considering that the decision to make the title multiplatform likely came down from the company’s upper levels, the developers really have been attempting to make the best of a bad situation. That, at least, is something they deserve to be commended for.
The full scope of this extra content will become clear when Rayman Legends launches on September 27th for the PlayStation 3, Wii U, and Xbox 360.