The original Rayman game was hard. When the sequels made the jump to 3D, the difficulty got scaled down in the process, making for more accessible games, yet still awesome.
Going back to 2D this time around, the dev team did their best to make it accessible to newcomers yet challenging for veteran players. Ubisoft released a Q&A with the game director, Sebastien Morin, who sheds some light on the upcoming game, focusing on the difficulty.
A demo will be available on PSN and XBLA next week, featuring the Jungle, Food and Ocean worlds, with an additional custom map enabling you to navigate through the worlds. Check out the “Ten Ways to Die” trailer, some screens and the Q&A after the break.
Q&A With Game Director Sebastien Morin-The first Rayman is known for its incredible difficulty, which made finishing it quite an achievement. Will Rayman Origins be as hard?
A: 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?
A: 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?
A: 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?
A: 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?
A: 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?
A: 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.