The Curious Case of the Rayman 4 Prototype Music

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Droolie
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The Curious Case of the Rayman 4 Prototype Music

Post by Droolie »

Hi all,

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 partly reworked into Rayman Legends.

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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.
Since you cannot just remove or change an instrument or two from a wave file, these tracks are likely demo tracks Eric Chevalier provided for Rayman 2 before they were finished.
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!
Droolie.
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Re: The Curious Case of the Rayman 4 Prototype Music

Post by GOT4N »

That's really interesting :mrgreen:
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Re: The Curious Case of the Rayman 4 Prototype Music

Post by Shrooblord »

Droolie, I love you for this.

You know how much of a hero Éric Chevalier is to me - being able to listen to some of his work on its way to completion, being able to highlight certain elements that are in the final tracks far more drowned into the background (for good reason, mind), being able to hear what the tracks once were, how decisions were made to change them, basically, what the evolution was towards the final Rayman 2 score, is like pure gold to me.

It's like taking a tiny peek inside his creative process and I bloody love it. It's very inspiring, because it sort of reminds me of the progress I've made since I first started making music digitally. Looking back on those old works, seeing what I've done with some of them to improve them, seeing how I score/write nowadays... seeing that Éric made similar steps and that he didn't just jolt down the perfect score instantly is - while of course to be expected and perfectly human and how could I ever have thought any different - an eye-opener. And one that helps strengthen the belief that indeed, I too, could one day write a score that I may hold as valuable and awe-inspiring to myself as his is. And hopefully, to have that same effect on someone else too, if I can.

Because that kind of sensation is the magic I want my music to convey.

And hearing these is not only incredibly educational, intriguing and geek-worthy to me, but also reassuring, inspiring and granting confirmation that I very well could be on that path.

So thank you dearly. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

You don't half know how much your post means to me.
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Re: The Curious Case of the Rayman 4 Prototype Music

Post by Droolie »

Hey, good to see you liked it Shrooblord :D I very much agree that it feels quite reassuring to see that a composer I've looked up to for so many years made the same type of mixing mistakes that I make all the time (and still struggle to fix).

And oh man, from the Rayman 4 stuff, Funky Stealth 2 and Escape in the Night are really growing on me. Those two are legitimately great tracks - the rest feels very early (with bad, noisy samples too), which it probably was. I may be reaching a bit now, but I'm even starting to hear the main Rayman 2 theme in Escape in the Night (0:24). It's not exactly the same so I don't think it's a reference, but I'll be damned if those tracks don't sound so very Chevalier-like, despite the very different main instrument choice. And imagining Rayman running through a building secret agent-style with that music is so good.

At least we know he definitely worked on this project (he listed "Rayman 4: Rayman contre les lapins crétins" on his website under "Trailers" before it went offline, probably because none of his music made it into the final game), and it was the last game project he worked on, so I wonder if the development troubles and eventual cancellation are part of the reason why he stopped composing for games entirely... That would be kind of sad :/
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Re: The Curious Case of the Rayman 4 Prototype Music

Post by PluMGMK »

That would certainly be very sad. :( I had pretty much finally come to terms with the cancellation of that project but this just adds a whole new level of disappointment!
Wow, it's been over ten years since RRR came out. Unbelievable…
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Re: The Curious Case of the Rayman 4 Prototype Music

Post by Shrooblord »

Man, if that's true, that only puts even more of an emotional damper on my perception of how all those events unfolded.

But to be honest I can't believe one experience like that can seriously be the sole reason to stop with the entire industry. It could have been a breaking point, "the straw" if you will, but there must have been a whole sleuth of reasons for him to move on to something else all building up over time to make him reach that sort of decision.

I wonder how he sees his own R2 score. Some creators hate what they've made in the past. Some absolutely adore it and it fills them with nostalgia. I'm genuinely curious now.
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Re: The Curious Case of the Rayman 4 Prototype Music

Post by Hunchman801 »

Well, anyone ever got in touch with him?
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Re: The Curious Case of the Rayman 4 Prototype Music

Post by Droolie »

That'd be impossible I'm afraid. It was already hard to find out who this Eric Chevalier was, and with no contact details available I think there's nothing we can do but speculate.
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Re: The Curious Case of the Rayman 4 Prototype Music

Post by Hunchman801 »

Didn't Shroob find a small website with an email address? Or was it another Chevalier?
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Re: The Curious Case of the Rayman 4 Prototype Music

Post by Shrooblord »

I found the website http://www.ericchevalier.com/ at some point that has a "contact us" button with an e-mail address behind it over in this topic I created a while back. Droolie on page 2 of that topic made some shocking revelations/finds.

In that same topic DandyGuy offers if his Facebook profile would be of any use to anyone. I'm actually sort of curious why I didn't immediately jump on that offer. Maybe I didn't quite read that correctly.
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Re: The Curious Case of the Rayman 4 Prototype Music

Post by Hunchman801 »

Yeah, I've seen that, but there's no mention of anyone actually trying to send him an email.
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Re: The Curious Case of the Rayman 4 Prototype Music

Post by Droolie »

I did send an email to that address back in 2013 asking what samples he used for R2, as well as to two other addresses in 2007 and 2008 (he replaced the email link on that website multiple times) asking if he composed music for the scrapped Rayman 4, in French, but never got any reply. Perhaps it's worth trying for someone else to contact him now though.
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Re: The Curious Case of the Rayman 4 Prototype Music

Post by Hunchman801 »

Too bad, let's hope he just never got to read them. :mrgreen:
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Re: The Curious Case of the Rayman 4 Prototype Music

Post by Haruka »

Man, I never thought Éric was working on R4 at first. I did find weird to hear some Rayman 2 samples in the previous RRR rip you did though. Nice findings!

As for the whereabouts of Éric Chevalier, I wonder if we will ever know.
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Re: The Curious Case of the Rayman 4 Prototype Music

Post by Rock_TBT »

Is the title an allusion to the novel "The Curious Case of the dog in the night time"?
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Re: The Curious Case of the Rayman 4 Prototype Music

Post by PluMGMK »

Unlikely, given that it's actually "The Curious Incident". :P
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Re: The Curious Case of the Rayman 4 Prototype Music

Post by The Jonster »

Hm, so there was R4 music?
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Re: The Curious Case of the Rayman 4 Prototype Music

Post by PluMGMK »

I'm afraid there was…
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