Rayman (early production)

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An early version of Rayman for the Atari Jaguar showing a small livingstone mounting a spider in an unknown environment

Over the years, a considerable amount of information regarding the early development of the original Rayman game has been unveiled, mainly through beta versions leaked to the public and Rayman Designer hacking. An interview also revealed that Rayman had had his limbs removed due to technical limitations.

Super Nintendo Entertainment System version

An extract from Pix’N Love's article about the cancelled SNES version of Rayman 1, featuring three screenshots

On 4th July 2010, French retro-gaming magazine Pix’N Love revealed that, at the very beginning of its development, the original Rayman game was intended to be released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The magazine also contained an interview with Rayman creator Michel Ancel on the subject. This version of the game featured a two-player co-operative mode, in which one player controlled Rayman and the other player controlled what appears to be a female version of Rayman, not dissimilar from the girlfriend character once planned to appear in Rayman 4. Rayman's body is red rather than the purple used in the final game, and the girl's body is blue. Both characters look considerably bulkier than Rayman's final appearance. Three screenshots of the prototype (visible to the right) are currently available, and they show early versions of the Dream Forest and the Caves of Skops. One image shows the heroes battling against an early version of Mr Skops. There are glimpses of what appear to be early versions of Antitoons, plums, flying rings, Tings, mushrooms, Big Powers and the telescopic fist.

One of the screenshots shows a heads-up display which is completely different from the one used in the final game or either of the Atari Jaguar prototypes. This display shows both characters' heads, each with their own ‘Shield’ and ‘Power’ status indicated by bars. Rayman's section of the display shows a picture of a pink crystal with the name ‘Skops’ above it, and the girl's section of the display shows a question mark where the crystal can be displayed. The ‘Shield’ bar appears to indicate the characters' health, but the function of the ‘Power’ bar and the crystals remains unknown.

With the advent of more powerful, optical disc-based games systems, the SNES version of Rayman, though nearing completion, was cancelled. The game was reworked for the newer platforms, and became the Rayman 1 which is known today.

During a live stream of Rayman Legends, through which Michel Ancel replied to a question concerning the SNES version of Rayman 1. He stated that he was only in a team of two at the time the Super Nintendo version was being made, and that he was 'super excited', it being the first platform he'd ever worked on directly. It was painful and extensive procedure to build the game onto the cartridge though, and since he eventually got the full team together, the Super Nintendo couldn't do it justice.

Atari Jaguar – Engine Test

On 25th August 2008, a YouTube video showing an early prototype of the Jaguar version was uploaded. Two months later, this was leaked to the public along with 19 prototypes or other Jaguar titles. Along with this newly leaked prototype, there is also a beta version, which displays even more differences between the final version.

This version begins with Rayman dropping down in what appears to be a Dream Forest level, and feeling grumpy the second he hits the ground. Some elements in the game do not seem to be detected by Rayman, even the enemies such as the Hunters and Moskito, indicating poor collision detection. Interestingly, Rayman can also perform handstands and attack with his feet, and his fist can be charged up to be more powerful, which is displayed with an icon at the bottom left corner and the word ‘Nova’ next to it.

There is also a very early looking heads-up display which is centered rather than to the left and right, there are more hit points than normal and the word ‘POW’ is between that and the lives counter. An icon of an Antitoon is displayed instead of the Tings icon, and apparently it counts and represents how many enemies have been defeated. Only the lives counter and five of the hit points made it into the final game.

The game crashes when Rayman falls into a body of water.

A mosquito standing still in the air
Many elements in this demo were scrapped completely from the final version
A glowing arrow indicates when Rayman's telescopic fist is fully charged

Atari Jaguar – Early Beta Version

These unidentified enemies in the early Jaguar version of the game are holdovers from the game's cancelled SNES version
The world map, as seen in the early Atari Jaguar prototype

This version has no specific prototype number, and it is unknown how much younger it is than the Jaguar's prototype, or whether or not this is the same beta that was used to advertise the game in magazines.

Several differences between this prototype and the final version are present, as well as glitches which may render the game unplayable, especially while running in a Jaguar emulator.

  • The game begins with no title screen, but straight to the world map which has been shrunk to fit the whole screen. Instead of Rayman, an electoon pinpoints his position.
  • There appears to be less levels available to choose from as they are unlocked, and the medallions look different.
  • There is no text at all in the game other than ‘ACTION’ and ‘GAME OVER’.
  • The game uses a completely different walk cycle for Rayman, making him look as if he is jogging.
  • When he is hit by an enemy, the throwback is a lot longer than normal, and he squeaks.
  • When Rayman runs up to an exit sign, he does not pose, but rather the game fades to the next stage or the map.
  • The lives counter displays a single digit.
  • Some enemies appear to float across the screen.
  • The bullets shot by the hunters do not withdraw a hammer.
  • Select maps are featured in the game. For example, when the Pink Plant Woods are passed, the player goes straight to the Swamps of Forgetfulness.
  • Rayman's body moves differently when he receives a power from Betilla the Fairy.
  • The Magician can be found and is paid with Tings as normal, but instead of normal bonus level, he takes the player to the breakout game.

Rayman Designer hacking

Main article: Rayman Designer hacking

Rayman Designer hacking allowed players to find unused textures and events which were probably meant to be in the final version but soon removed. Such sprites include a giant lava ball, clouds with a face and a strange portal.

A giant lava ball
Clouds with a face
Ink-covered erasers Blue Color Unknown Block

External links