What's next for Rayman?
Let's get one thing straight, shall we? Rayman Origins is a great game. Heck, Rayman Origins is an amazing game. The fact that it was overlooked due to the bad timing of its release and subsequently ignored by most gamers is a total shame. Already Rayman Origins has seen multiple price cuts, and it's very upsetting to see such a quality title not getting the recognition it so deserves. Believe me when I say that Rayman Origins is worthy of great merit and tons of recognition.
I picked up Rayman Origins a few weeks ago and played through it in about 11 hours. I was filled with pure bliss and utter joy during the entirety of my play-through. Why? Because the platforming is just so damn refined, so impressive, and so expertly crafted. Really, I think simply referring to the game as "expertly crafted" speaks volumes of the amount of love and dedication to the platformer genre that Ubisoft and designer Michel Ancel poured into Rayman Origins.
The game is a great love letter to the platformer genre and its fans. By focusing on the nuances of tricky yet rewarding platforming, Rayman Origins magnificently delivers an outstanding entry in the genre that gives the Mario series a run for its money. Heck, if I were to be completely honest, I would have to say that I enjoyed Rayman Origins more than New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Donkey Kong Country Returns, two titles that it has drawn a lot of comparison to and two great games in their own right. Why did I like it more? Because everything it offers is a shining example of platforming done right, even more so than the two stellar aforementioned games.
As far as the platforming goes, Rayman Origins nails every element with nary a hitch in its design. So where can the series go from here? I would personally like to see a direct sequel to Rayman Origins in the future. The gameplay is so solid that I wouldn't mind getting more of the same--more levels, more environments, more world themes, more challenges, and more Rayman. Like so many others who also played it, I had such a blast with Rayman Origins that I would really like nothing more than to get something like a Rayman Origins 2, because that's how awesome this game is.
Unfortunately, it's still very unclear if that will ever happen given the low sales of the game. Rayman Origins didn't exactly have a strong debut, and in the weeks following its release, it was overlooked for other titles. It's obvious that this wonderful, little platformer was the victim of bad timing, and you really have to wonder how the game would have fared if it had been released at a later time. We're currently going through the usual game release dry spell that follows the fall and winter seasons right now, so maybe Ubisoft should have launched Rayman Origins around this time or in February. It wouldn't have hurt the sales any more than they've already suffered, that's for sure.
Even despite the low sales figures Rayman Origins has produced, I know I'm not alone when I say I look forward to a new entry in the franchise. However, rather than releasing a new game during a crazy video game rush, perhaps Ubisoft can look into releasing the next game as a downloadable title. Rayman Origins was originally slated to be an episodic series, and it's possible that doing that would have turned out better results for the game. If Ubisoft does a follow-up to Rayman Origins, an episodic series may be the way to go.
As far as the core mechanics of the game go, I don't think the formula needs to be drastically altered yet. Rayman Origins is a lovely endeavor rife with tricky jumps, novel ideas, and incredible charm. If Ubisoft works on a new Rayman game, it should keep these elements intact because they worked so well this first time that I doubt anyone who played Rayman Origins would really mind more of the same. Of course, there would have to be a few minor additions, but a new Rayman game certainly wouldn't require any drastic modifications.
It's really hard to predict when we'll be treated to a new Rayman game. Though Rayman Origins has been rewarded with much critical praise, the sales figures just weren't there for the game. Here's hoping that changes with the recent price cuts. Seriously, this is a game that more people should be playing, because it harks back to one of the greatest genres in gaming, and it reminds you exactly why you started playing video games in the first place.
When Ubisoft decides to make a new Rayman game, I really hope it doesn't stray too far from the formula set forth in Rayman Origins. If anything, I would like a little more variety to the level themes, and maybe some more unlockable characters (that aren't Teensies). Other than that, I don't expect, nor do I want, too much that's drastically different in the next Rayman game. Why? Because Rayman Origins is excellent, and more of everything presented in that game would most definitely be a great thing. But seriously people, get behind the current game for now. It deserves it.