Turns out you don’t need an arsenal of big guns, online multiplayer, or a bristle-haired white guy as your lead character to start a gaming franchise in these bold modern times. Apparently you don’t even need limbs.
Rayman Origins, 2011’s premiere high-definition two-dimensional game about a dork jumping through gorgeous Kool-Aid-colored ice fields, was thought to be a failure following its release. Ubisoft put out Michael Ancel’s return to his roots on the very same day as Assassin’s Creed Revelations last November, damning it from the start, but despite reports of poor sales, Rayman did okay. More than okay, as Rayman Origins 2 is on the way.
A Monday report at Kotaku said that a marketing survey sent out by firm Arkenford included questions about and screens taken from a sequel to Rayman Origins. Rather than bizarre deserts made out of woodwind instruments and bosses like a many-mouthed wild beast, Rayman Origins 2 will be a bit more suburban, at least by video game standards. The survey reads: “The sequel to Rayman Origins will feature brand new settings: legendary worlds filled with castles, vampires, ghosts, Greek Gods, or dragons.”
The rough screen shots, which can be seen at the NeoGAF forum, for the game show much of what’s described in that quote, including a big purple dragon and Greco arches placed on a beach to mark the start of a race.
Rayman Origins saw what would typically be considered catastrophic low sales for a game released on a disc at stores rather than as a downloadable title. Eurogamer quoted research group NPD’s Anita Frazier in December as claiming that Rayman Origins sold just 50,000 copies in its first month on shelves. In an era when fewer than a million sales for a game on PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 is considered a failure, it looked like Rayman was doomed to be nothing more than a glorious oddity released in a wasteland of violence obsessed mediocrity. Ubisoft said in February though that Rayman was in fact profitable and described it in an investor-relations call as a game with “the capacity to become a long-term seller for the company.”
It’s wonderful that Ubi is willing to make more Rayman Origins, but it’s disturbing that it needs to take on more conservative characteristics. Part of what made the first game so special was that there were no dragons, vampires, or castles. It was almost entirely free of the of the fantasy tropes that have bogged down video games for the past thirty years.
Don’t be afraid to be weird, Ubisoft. The first game already proved that weird is profitable.
Digital Trends reached out to Ubisoft for comment on the game. As of this writing, we haven’t received a response.