|Developed by||Ubisoft Montpellier|
|Designed by||Sebastien Morin with Lorenzo Avi, Julien Chevalier, Romain Claude and Axel Cossardeaux|
|Written by||Gabrielle Shrager (lead game writer and story designer)|
|Soundtrack by||Christophe Héral and Billy Martin|
|Release date||PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360:|
|Gameplay mode||Single player and co-operative; up to four players|
|Platforms||Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, Sony PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, Microsoft Windows|
Rayman Origins is a 2D sidescroller platform game, and the fourth major title in the Rayman series. Despite its title, it is not a prequel, but a sequel to the first three Rayman games. It was announced by Ubisoft at E3 2010, and is the first major Rayman game since the creation of the Raving Rabbids series. It also marks the return of Rayman creator Michel Ancel to the series; he had not worked on a Rayman title since Rayman 2 in 1999. Rayman Origins is the first game in the main series to feature co-operative platforming gameplay, allowing for up to four players at once. The game was released on November 15th 2011 in North America, and on November 24th 2011 in Europe for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii.
In February 2012, a PlayStation Vita version was released, with new features such as a Ghost Mode and the use of the touch screen. This version also features exclusive collectible items called Relics; these unlock two large mosaic puzzles in the Snoring Tree, revealing events from the pasts of Rayman and Globox. A Microsoft Windows version was released on March 29th 2012; a 3DS version was released in June 2012.
In April 2012, Ubisoft announced that a direct sequel to the game was being developed, under the title Rayman Legends.
At the beginning of the game, Rayman and his friends – Globox and the Teensies – are sleeping at the Snoring Tree. With them is the Bubble Dreamer, the jovial god who created their world, the Glade of Dreams. A nearby microphone, disguised as a flower, picks up the sound of the heroes' snoring, amplifying it and transmitting it to the subterranean Land of the Livid Dead. The undead beings who live there, infuriated by this incessant snoring, launch an invasion on the Glade of Dreams, ambushing and capturing Rayman and his friends. When they escape, they find that the Bubble Dreamer has gone quite mad. The Livid Dead have been joined in their invasion by hundreds of other enemies, who have captured and imprisoned the Electoons – small, pink energy creatures that hold the world together. Now the Glade of Dreams has begun to disintegrate. In order to heal the Bubble Dreamer's mind and restore harmony and balance to the Glade, the heroes must free the Electoons from cages hidden across the world – if they fail, their universe will vanish like a bad dream.
Energy creatures called Lums are scattered throughout every level in the game; at the end of each level, the heroes give the Lums they have collected to the Magician, a friendly character who counts them in a large test tube. In exchange for a certain number of Lums, the Magician gives the heroes Electoons. He also makes occasional appearances at the beginning of a level, to give the heroes advice and instructions. The hub from which the player can access levels and choose characters is the Snoring Tree. As the player frees more Electoons, more characters become available, but all are variations of Rayman, Globox and the Teensies.
The first stop for Rayman, Globox and the Teensies is the Jibberish Jungle, a lush forest filled with exotic foliage and enemies such as Lividstones and Darktoons. Eventually, they find Betilla the Fairy, the nymph who created Rayman long ago, and who has now been captured by the invaders. Once freed, she gives them the power to slap. When enough Electoons have been freed, Betilla informs the heroes that they have enough to reach the next world. The Electoons band together to form a bridge through the sky. On the other side, the heroes find friendly mosquitoes who fly them to the game's second environment. Along the way, the they must fight off an attack from the Guardian of the Music World, a gigantic bird which watches over the passage to the next land.
Eventually the mosquitoes take the heroes to the Desert of Dijiridoos, a bleak, scorched landscape, partially composed of musical instruments, and inhabited mainly by vicious birds. Here they rescue a nymph named Holly Luya – the first sister of Betilla the Fairy. She gives them the power to hover. Again, the heroes must free enough Electoons to create a sky bridge leading to a mosquito level, and again the mosquitoes take them to the next area.
They arrive in the Gourmand Land, a food-themed world. Its sharply-contrasting environments include icy cocktail and fiery kitchen landscapes. These are populated by dangerous Baby Dragon Chefs and Waiters. After they free the third of the nymph sisters, Edith Up, she gives them the ability to use funnels to change their size. Then they must cross a bridge made of freed Electoons and ride the mosquitoes to the next world. Along the way, they must fight off the Guardian of the Ocean World, a gigantic flying eel whose purpose is to stop anyone from entering the next land.
This time they are taken to the Sea of Serendipity, an idyllic marine location. On the surface, they find a Glute village that has been build on stilts. Down below, the ocean is teeming with strange fish and other aquatic creatures. In this world, the nymph sister they meet is Annetta Fish, who gives them the ability to dive underwater. After they cross another Electoon bridge, they are taken by the mosquitoes to the next world.
This mountainous landscape is the Mystical Pique. On the surface, the weather ranges from mild to snowy. However, the mountain contains many ancient temples, where glute fakirs meditate and worship the Bubble Dreamer. Common enemies here include Darkroots and stone men. Throughout this world, the characters notice that strange pieces of machinery have been inexplicably falling from the sky. The heroes rescue the local nymph sister, Helena Handbasket, who gives them the power to run on walls. However, the Electoon bridge that follows does not take the heroes to a mosquito level. It takes them to the lair of the Golem, a gigantic stone monster whom they must defeat in order to progress.
When the heroes reach the top of the mountain, they find the five nymphs gathered round the Dreamer's Door, a circular stone portal. They can use this to travel to the source of the mysterious machinery which has been falling from the dark, stormy clouds that have filled the sky. Helena Handbasket thanks the heroes for saving her sisters, but informs them that the Four Kings who rule the four lands of the Glade of Dreams have succumbed to the nightmares that are infecting the world, growing into monstrous and uncontrollable versions of themselves. Since the Four Kings' magical assistance is required to open the Dreamer's Door, the heroes must find them and defeat them, restoring them to their original benevolent states.
The Four Kings
New areas which extend the first four worlds now become available. Ticklish Temples is an extension of Jibberish Jungle, Grumbling Grottos is an extension of the Desert of Dijiridoos, Luscious Lakes is an extension of Gourmand Land, and Angsty Abyss is an extension of the Sea of Serendipity. The four extensions approach the four original worlds in length, but most extensions are slightly shorter. The game had been linear prior to this point, but the heroes can play through these four new worlds in any order they choose. At the end of each world is a boss battle against one of the Four Kings. The king of Ticklish Temples is a monstrous Daisy. The king of Grumbling Grottos is a gigantic Mocking Bird. The king of Luscious Lakes is a gigantic Dragon Chef; he swallows the heroes whole, and they must defeat him from the inside. The king of the Angsty Abyss is an aquatic dragon named Murray, who reverts to a prawn when defeated. Once the Four Kings have been restored, the nymphs channel their magic into the Dreamer's Door, allowing the heroes to travel through it and reach the source of the mysterious machinery.
The heroes find themselves standing amidst the Moody Clouds – a dark, electrified storm. They find the Magician nearby, but he does not offer them any advice, instead telling them that they are going the wrong way, and urging them to turn back. The heroes press on with the aid of their mosquito friends, and find what lies at the heart of the storm: a gigantic, flying city, composed of steampunk machinery and surrounded by clouds. This vast, dangerous city is inhabited by Robots which are almost immune to the heroes' attacks, as well as mechanical replicas of previously-enountered enemies such as flies and spiky fish. Along the way, the heroes often find helpless Lums, packed into glass containers and apparently being used to power the city and its mechanical inhabitants.
Eventually the heroes stumble into the room which lies at the heart of the Moody Clouds, only to find their old friend, the Magician, working the controls. They discover that he is the one who built this city and its army of robots. The Magician had grown frustrated with the decadent and lazy Bubble Dreamer, who had consistently failed to protect the people of the Glade of Dreams from his own nightmares. However, the Magician had also grown to admire Mr Dark, the arch-nemesis of Rayman and the villain of the original game; posters of Mr Dark, with '♥ Mister D', can be seen on the walls of the Magician's office. In order to start a war between Rayman and the Livid Dead, the Magician had hidden a microphone in the Snoring Tree. However, this war, and the entire plot of the game, had been nothing more than a distraction tactic; the Magician's real goal was to construct a mechanical army with which he could conquer the Glade of Dreams, overthrow the Bubble Dreamer, and impose a new order based on discipline and reason. Now that his scheme has been discovered, the Magician pulls a lever, causing the heroes to fall into a room where they must fight mechanical replicas of the Daisy and the Mocking Bird bosses. Once these are defeated, they return to the Magician's office. He distracts them with a disco number before making his escape. As the heroes chase the Magician across the outside of the Moody Clouds, it becomes apparent that his city is crumbling. When he boards a flying warship in another attempt to escape, the heroes chase him through the sky with the aid of the mosquitoes. Eventually the Magician's warship crashes into some kind of gigantic reactor core that seems to be powering the city. The collision causes a gigantic explosion, blowing the Moody Clouds to pieces. The heroes land on the Snoring Tree, in exactly the same positions they occupied at the beginning of the game, and resume their snoring. The scene fades to black and the credits roll; the players can run about in front of the credits for their duration.
The game features an optional final world: the Land of the Livid Dead. The entrance to this land is located in the Snoring Tree, but it is guarded by the Deadman, a skeletal figure with no teeth. He will only let the heroes pass if they bring him ten shiny red Skull Teeth. In order to get these, the heroes must complete the Tricky Treasure chases: ten challenging levels focused on speed and momentum rather than exploration and combat. When the Deadman has received all ten Skull Teeth, he allows the heroes to pass into the subterranean underworld that is the Land of the Livid Dead. The most difficult level of the game, this area is populated by the zombie-like Livid Dead. Although they were no more than pawns in the Magician's plan, they are still dangerous enemies. At the end of this world, the heroes encounter Big Mama, a monstrous, pink, squid-like creature. When they defeat her, she reverts into a nymph, thanks the heroes for saving her, and winks. The game ends and the credits roll once more, but this time the players can climb onto the credits themselves as they scross upwards, and either use them as platforms or smash them with their attacks.
The development of Rayman Origins began in late 2008 approximately. For the first year, a small team consisting of approximately six developers worked on the game. At this early stage, the developers drew inspiration from the contemporary platform games LittleBigPlanet and New Super Mario Bros Wii. After the first year, development shifted to Ubisoft Montpellier, where it was completed by a larger team of over one hundred developers.
Initially, it was announced that Rayman Origins would be an episodic release, and that the first episode would be released in late 2010. This approach was eventually scrapped after a delay: the game would instead be given a retail release in late 2011, in order that it might be a 'real sequel', in the words of Ancel.
The first trailer for Rayman Origins shows Rayman being created by Betilla the Fairy, whose narration seemed to imply that the game would be a prequel with a two-player co-operative campaign that would tell the story of how Rayman and Globox matured from buffoons to heroes. However, this approach was ultimately discarded: the final version of the game is a sequel, set after Rayman 3, and features many references to the events of the previous games made in the past tense. The titular Origins refers instead to the game's revelations regarding the origins of Rayman and several other characters, and also to the design philosophy of returning the series to its roots. The characters' sillier behaviour is not a sign of immaturity, but is intended to give the game a more light-hearted feel and help it to appeal to a wider audience.
Shortly after Rayman Origins was first announced, footage showing a demonstration of its mechanics appeared. This featured a different health system, similar to that of the original Rayman, with yellow and red bubbles to indicate the player's health.
A world composed entirely of artwork and art supplies, based on Picture City from the original game, was planned for inclusion but abandoned during the development of the game. It would have featured references to art styles such as pop art and pixel art.
A text file, or 'script', was discovered in the files of the game's demo. The script greatly expands and elaborates on the game's plot, and contains much dialogue which was omitted in the final version of the game, presumably in order to simplify the storyline. Much of what is known about the character of the Magician comes from this script; in the game itself, his actions and motivations are almost completely unexplained.
The game features local four-player co-operative play, with the players controlling Rayman, Globox and two Teensies; however, it is still possible to play through the game in single-player mode. There are currently no plans for online play.
Much of the gameplay can be reminiscent to that of Rayman, in that the aim is to find cages and rescue the Electoons that are imprisoned inside them. Unlike Rayman though, the cages are being guarded by several enemies that collectively use a forcefield to protect the cage (this can be reminiscent of Hoodoos, a Hoodlum in Rayman 3 that uses a similar technique to protect other Hoodlums); the team must defeat every single enemy that uses the forcefield, then the cage can be destroyed. The cage can only be damaged on the side which has a green padlock. Most of the cages are hidden away in secret passages, so once the Electoons are free, they will create a portal which leads to the outside of these passages. Each level contains a medallion that shows how many electoon challenges the players completed, such as break a single cage, collect a specific amount of Lums or beat the clock whilst the the level has been completed. In every level there are hidden cages ranging from 1 to 3.
Unlike most other games in the Rayman series, the players are very vulnerable to enemy attacks, and one touch can cause death. Throughout the game, bottles containing a Heart are found, and should a player break one, the heart inside will act as a shield until an enemy attacks, after which the heart will break. In multiplayer mode, if one player dies, they can float around and come back to life if they come to close enough contact with a surviving player. If all players die and there, then they will return to a previous checkpoint, normally a Darkblocker where the player had go through before, or the last place where the player broke a cage.
At the halfway point in the game, the heroes can first acquire the Blue Punch, a rare item that increases the power of their attacks, and is usually well hidden.
Contact to any body of water do not cause instant death unlike previous Rayman games, though creatures that lurk in some of them can catch a player and kill them then.
At certain points, the players will come across Betilla the Fairy and her sisters, each of whom is imprisoned inside the mouth of a Darktoon. When one is encountered, the player must chase the Darktoon and free the fairy inside. Once she is free, she gives Rayman and his friends a new power.
While featuring numerous original environments, Rayman Origins is the first game in the series to revisit locations explored in previous games. The game is divided into three phases. In the first phase, the player makes their way through five worlds – the Jibberish Jungle, the Desert of Dijiridoos, the Gourmand Land, the Sea of Serendipity, and Mystical Pique– in a pre-set order. Each world starts with the player giving chase to a captured nymph, which when freed results in the characters gaining new powers, such as the ability to dive underwater or change their size. Once the first phase is complete, the second phase can be accessed: Another five new worlds become available, each linked to the previous five worlds, kepping true to the theme, and this time the player can play them in any order they want. When this phase is complete, the player may access Moody Clouds, where the second to last final boss and the game's ending await. Collecting all 10 skull teeth will unlock the third and final phase: the Land of the Livid Dead which is both a single level and a whole new world. Each world is divided into many levels; there are a total of sixty-six levels in the game.
Descriptions of the first five worlds follow:
- Jibberish Jungle – A jungle-themed world where the characters unlock the power to attack. The enemies are comprised mostly of Lividstones and Darktoons. The boss is a giant, red plant.
- Desert of Dijiridoos – A music-themed world where the characters unlock the ability to glide. Rayman must use gongs to create sound waves which shield him from swarms of black flying creatures which resemble locusts. This world is composed mainly on music and musical instruments, and seems to be based on Band Land, a location which has not been seen since the original game. The boss is a giant, yellow bird.
- Gourmand Land – A food world where the characters unlock the ability to shrink. While the surface of the Gourmand Land appears as an icy landscape featuring cocktail elements such as giant orange slices (which may have been inspired by the Glacier Cocktail level from Tonic Trouble), its underground part turns out to be a surreal environment made of food and cooking materials, which aesthetic is inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration. This land is home to Baby Dragon Chefs – small, red, reptilian enemies who attack the heroes with their forks. Similar to the Organic Cave from the cancelled Rayman 4, a level takes place within the belly of a gigantic dragon, in which the players much avoid flaming walls of heartburn.
- Sea of Serendipity – A sea world where the characters unlock the ability to dive underwater. Footage shows Rayman and Globox swimming near the sea floor, surrounded by marine life. They are chased by giant eels. Above the surface of the ocean, a tribe of Globox's species lives in a village supported on stilts. The boss is a giant prawn.
- Mystical Pique – A mountain world where the characters unlock the ability to run up walls. Screenshots depict a mountain location surrounded by floating landmasses which recall the floating earth platforms of the original game. The mountain is dotted with small buildings. Fakirs dwell inside of caves and Rayman must rescue them from Darktoons, and swing on their beards to avoid spikes.
- Moody Clouds – A steampunk world which can only be accessed upon defeating the four kings. It is set in the sky, above the Mystical Pique, and Rayman must fight robots, as well as dodge spinning razor blades and electricity. The final boss is an airship which is fought in the Moody Clouds.
And the optional final world:
- Land of the Livid Dead – A level with a strong resemblance to both the Cave of Bad Dreams and Tomb of the Ancients from Rayman 2. This is where the undead live; the antics of the protagonists annoy the villains, setting the events of the game in motion. It is located in the undergrounds of the location of the same name visited by Rayman and Globox in Rayman 3. The Land of the Livid Dead involves jumping across falling rocks, dodging fire, carnivorous plants, and riding a skeleton, similar to the serpent flutes from the Desert of Dijiridoos. Big Mama is this level's boss. Concept art depicts graveyards, insects, zombies, a strange hotdog-like character who appears to be selling hotdogs, and numerous tentacled monsters. This world has a golden palette, and features giant skulls, bones and cobwebs.
Main article: Rayman Origins: Original Soundtrack
The majority of the game's score was written by French composer Christophe Héral, who had previously worked with Michel Ancel and Ubisoft Montpellier on the 2003 videogame Beyond Good & Evil. As a result of scheduling problems, Héral had only three months to compose the soundtrack, so another composer, Billy Martin, was hired to complete Héral's work. The score was recorded by the Star Pop Orchestra, at the Davout Studios in Paris; this may be a first for the series, as the previous games' music seems to have been mainly synthesised. The game features interactive sound design; the player characters' actions within the game create diegetic musical sounds which blend with the game's score. Rayman Origins is the first and only game in the series whose soundtrack has been officially released.
In August 2011, a number of online department stores in Europe revealed a collector's edition for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 versions of the game, which contains a 50-page art book, a CD of the game's soundtrack and a 3D cardboard pop-up display. There are currently no known plans for this to be applied to other versions of the game such as the Nintendo Wii version. The Collector's Edition is exclusively available in Europe and Australia.
Main article: List of achievements in Rayman Origins
Throughout the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game, achievements are given for performing certain actions, such as rescuing each nymph, collecting a certain number of speed trophies, etc. There are 37 achievements in total (for PlayStation 3, while in Xbox 360 it is 36), including one that is hidden. The game is the first in the Rayman series to have PlayStation 3 trophies, though the second to have Xbox 360 achievements (the first being the Xbox 360 version of Rayman Raving Rabbids). The PlayStation Vita version has 39 trophies: the two added are named "Clear Sighted" and "Eagle Eyed", while another trophy, "Pop! Pop! BOOM!", was replaced by "Grim Reaper" and "Bubble Wrap Maniac!", which rely on the exclusive features of the PlayStation Vita, such as tapping the screen. "Hover Happy!" has been removed in this version.
Rayman Origins was released to critical acclaim. On the review aggregator Metacritic, the game has achieved scores of 88, 87 and 91 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii versions respectively. On GameRankings, these same versions received scores of 88.34%, 87.85% and 92.00% respectively.
Reviewers praised Rayman Origins for its vibrant and detailed cartoon graphics, as well as its fittingly whimsical soundtrack. The gameplay was considered well-balanced, offering both an accessible experience for new players and a satisfying challenge for experienced ones. The decision to add co-operative multiplayer to the series was well-received. Criticism focused on the lack of a clear storyline in the game, and the chaotic nature of the gameplay when three or four people are playing simultaneously.
The game was initially thought to have been a commercial failure, as it sold an underwhelming 50,000 copies in the first month following its November 2011 release. However, sales later increased considerably, and in February 2012, Ubisoft announced that the game had already become profitable, and had the capacity to become a long-term seller for the company.
On 16th March, 2012, Rayman Origins won the Artistic Achievement award at the 8th British Academy Video Games Awards. The nominees it defeated in this category were Batman: Arkham City, L.A. Noire, LitteBigPlanet 2, The Elder Scrolls V – Skyrim and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.
- ↑ Rayman Origins reviews []
- ↑ Rayman Origins reviews []
- ↑ Joystiq, Rayman Origins is actually profitable for Ubisoft, http://www.joystiq.com/2012/02/15/rayman-origins-is-actually-profitable-for-ubisoft/
- ↑ GAME British Academy Video Games Awards, http://www.bafta.org/games/awards/
|Rayman (1995) • Rayman 2: The Great Escape (1999) • Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc (2003) • Rayman Origins (2011) • Rayman Legends (2013)|