After thoroughly listening to the Rayman Raving Rabbids soundtrack again while preparing it for the new RayTunes (adding covers and changing dumb filenames), I have noticed some very interesting things about the Rayman 4 prototype tracks found in the Xbox 360 version of RRR. This will be a long read, so stop reading if you're not into musical geekery.
First, about these tracks from the prototype:
Menu (original name: Mus_menu1)
Funky Stealth 1 (original name: Ambient_funky1)
Funky Stealth 2 (original name: Ambient_funky2)
Funky Stealth 3 (original name: Ambient_funky3)
Escape in the Night (original name: Ambient_jazzy1)
Carrot Jazz (original name: Fight_jazzy1)
Notice how they all use many of the same samples/loops found in the original Rayman 2 soundtrack? It's especially noticeable during the first 20 seconds of Funky Stealth 2 since that consists of nothing but those super recognizeable samples. They are also used in a style very similar to Rayman 2 composer Eric Chevalier's: you might recognize the triangles from Rayman 2's Infiltrating the Fortress and The Pirate Factory, the piano from The Sanctuary of Water and Ice (played in the same style, too), and the funky rhythm that kicks in at 0:12 from Riding the Shell. A bit later, you'll hear the familiar bongos kick in as well.
Further evidence presents itself in Escape in the Night, where apart from the familiar samples, one of Rayman 2's recurring chord progressions returns as well. At 0:50, we hear that very Rayman 2-like progression that can be heard most notably in The Precipice ~Insane Warship~, Freeing the Slaves and Pirates 1.
This is why I strongly suspect Eric Chevalier himself composed these tracks. Since we know that Rayman 4, before it became RRR, was going to have stealth sections, likely with Rayman infiltrating Rabbids bases, it is very likely the tracks were composed for this, too. So yes, let's take a moment to imagine a 3D Rayman 2-like game with an Eric Chevalier soundtrack reminiscent of classics like James Bond and Kill Bill, and weep that it was scrapped in favor of Rayman Raving Rabbids .
But my findings didn't end there. This Rayman 4 prototype also contained multiple placeholder tracks - many of them were tracks taken from various existing works such as the siren from Kill Bill, or Eye of the Tiger. Others were copied straight from Rayman 2, with small changes. Many tracks sounded much worse than the original. When I first heard them, I noticed that many of these tracks had a lot of reverb and thought someone at Ubisoft had played around with them, adding new instruments on top of the old tracks. However, this isn't the case. What I was hearing was the absence of instruments, not the presence of new ones.
Here are some examples:
- Main theme: Rayman 2 vs Rayman 4 prototype - Notice how muddy it sounds especially from 0:18 on, and how the percussion is slightly different. Or how the part at 1:17 originally used a phaser, but this prototype track doesn't.
- The Tomb of the Ancients: Rayman 2 vs Rayman 4 prototype - Many subtle differences here. For example, compare the piano at 1:33.
- The Whale Bay: Rayman 2 vs Rayman 4 prototype - This sounds very flat in the prototype because the choir is absent and the strings in the second part are way more audible than they are in the final version.
But why would demo tracks from Rayman 2 end up in a Rayman 4 prototype? I don't know, maybe they asked Mr. Chevalier to send some older tracks as placeholders and the first ones he could find were unfinished versions of his R2 music.
And with that, a large part of the Rayman 4 prototype music in RRR has been identified, and this post has come to an end just as abruptly as Rayman 4's development. I hope this knowledge is somehow useful to you.
Well, see ya!