The first Rayman is known for its incredible difficulty, which made finishing it quite an achievement. Will Rayman Origins be as hard?
This Rayman is both harder and easier.
At the time of the first Rayman, we didn’t playtest our games that much. That was a big issue, because game developers don’t know the real difficulty of their own games. They have something like hundreds of hours of flight, when a player is still learning to fly. So we end up with a quite difficult game, but we were not really aware of it.
In this one we playtested it a lot so that beginners could learn at their own pace. At the same time, a game for beginners would have been dull for veteran platformer players.
So we populated the game with a lot of (really, I mean really) hard challenges, that can be done, when you’re ready for it.
You say you want to be both accessible to beginners and challenging to gamers. How do you achieve that delicate balance?
We know that the range of skill between beginners and veteran players is quite huge.
So we’ve created the levels with those two “players” (the veteran and the beginner) playing it at the same time !
It means a lot of opportunity for both of them, scattered in the levels.
We also had to create a progression for both of those players :
One more about skills and bragging rights: the achiever levels where you end up chasing those crazy chests that take you in very dangerous places.
One more about surprise and discovery: the “explorer” levels where you defeat the electoon guards.
How many “lives” do you get in the game? Is there a limited number of “continues” as in the first Rayman?
Using “lives” seemed to us like a remnant of the “arcade era” when the designers needed to throw you out of the game after an average of 3 minutes of playing.
So we decided to get rid of those, and wanted to design in a more positive way: failure is less of a big deal, it’s just a missed opportunity to get something valuable, that you might achieve later, when you’re skilled enough.
Are there cheat codes in the game?
No but I’ve seen our QA testers do interesting stuff (like reaching seemingly impossible places) that we decided to keep in the game
How many times would you expect a gamer to die in the game?
Quite a lot and sometimes you’ll even die because of your mischievous friends.
But it’s no big deal, because you get better in the process.
Do you have tips on how to stay alive in Rayman Origins?
Go with the flow! In a sense, it’s a musical game, with its own rhythm. What’s interesting is that different players end up with a different melody
How many different worlds and environments will we be able to get around?
There are 5 universes and 10 different worlds to discover. Additionally, we have the Land of the Livid Dead, which is a bit hard to reach but is a whole new universe as well.
At the beginning, each world is introduced one after the other. In each, you will gain a new ability and master how to use them.
Then after you complete the first set of worlds, you’ve grown enough to be dropped in the wild. Just like that a whole new set of worlds are revealed and you have a lot of places to discover at your disposal.
Will all these actions be available from the start, or will some of them be powers you unlock along the way?
At any moment, we give you enough abilities to explore exhaustively each world. So if you feel like playing a level again and again to discover every nook and cranny, it’s up to you.
However, you won’t have all your abilities right away. At the beginning of the game, Rayman and his gang are still incomplete heroes. They’ll need to find and help the fairies to get all their powers back.
Will running be an unlockable power too?
As a Game Designer, an important question is “how do you make gameplay better?”. In Rayman, it could be answered by “chain a bunch of acrobatic moves together faster and faster”.
So it was natural to give this ability right away, for all the players that dare to run in a minefield.
Will there be different “flight modes” as in previous Rayman games? (like the power to fly up?)
The best way to fly in the game would probably be riding on a mosquito. However, you’ll also learn quickly to glide. The glide ability allows you to fly in a number of different ways. At first it’s a very helpful tactic to extend a jump and land out of harm’s way. But we also put a lot of wind in the game, which can extend a glide to more of a flying action. But that’s not always a good thing. Winds are there to help or hinder you, push you to safety or towards a spikey death. Also, some enemies use the wind as traps and it should be noted that you’re not the only one who can fly!
So many different moves must require a lot of different animations, how many are there in Origins compared to the first opus?
Way more! Rayman and his gang have a lot of new abilities, so there’s a lot more animation. Besides having all the animations for the abilities, you have to create more animations for combinations and transitions between those abilities you have. So each playable character has more than 250 animations! I can’t even begin to count the animations of the evil characters, because they can be defeated in a lot of funny ways.