10 ways to… die

Posted on Thursday Nov 3, 2011

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 :)

5 Responses to “10 ways to… die”

  1. Haruka Says:

    Then removing the “lives” system, makes the game work like Oddworld’s 2D games (also great Side-scrolling 2D games of their time), which is fantastic. :D

    I can’t wait for the DEMO! :)

  2. Joost Says:

    LOL Dark Rayman Is On!!
    1:19

  3. Leon Says:

    is Mr.Dark going to appear as the main villain and what will he look like(probably a teensy

  4. Jim Says:

    How will the game differ between consoles?

  5. HappySpaceInvader Says:

    I found the difficulty level on the demo (from the PlayStation store) quite frustrating. On the third demo level, where you get chased by those two big sea creatures, I got to a place where I couldn’t see how to avoid them… and dying meant going right back to the very start of the level. After four attempts, I just lost interest – there are, after all, dozens of new games out at the moment where the balance of challenge creates a more rewarding gameplay experience.

    As far as the gameplay goes, I think you’ve made exactly the same mistakes you made with the first Rayman – the devs get so good at it, they create crazy hard levels that can only be completed once you already know the level inside out. Too much of the time, you just can’t see what’s coming up ahead of you, and there are many “leap of faith” moments. The game effectively punishes you until you learn the levels by rote, and I think there’s a very small market of gaming masochists who enjoy that kind of gameplay.

    I’ve been playing platform games since Jet Set Willy on the ZX Spectrum and I found this hard (and ultimately gave up on the demo). I think lesser skilled gamers (especially those new to 2D platforming) are going to get absolutely nowhere with this. I predict a very high number of returns, and a thriving used market for this game; which is sad, because everything else about this game is nothing short of stunning, and I fear that publishers will see poor sales as justification not to invest in 2D platformers.