Rayman Origins demo is difficult, like it should be

While Ubisoft‘s armless, legless hero has been somewhat overshadowed recently by those pesky Rabbids, Rayman is headed back our way with the upcoming release of Rayman Origins, for Xbox 360 and PS3.

The game’s not quite here yet, but if you’d like to see what all the fuss is about, Ubisoft Montpellier has put together a demo for you, all ready to download via Xbox LIVE or the PlayStation Network.

The demo features 3 maps, one each from the Jungle, Food and Ocean worlds – as well as a custom map to help you navigate between them all. Collect up all 9 Electoons and you’ll unlock a new costume! Huzzah!

…now, as we mentioned in our recent preview, this outing is not a simple one for Rayman. It might look easy from the outside, but trust me, it’s more than a little bit challenging once you start playing.

Turns out that’s a design decision, as the Rayman Origins developer reveals in a new Q&A for the game.

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.

[img_big]center,8118,2011-10-27/RO_10Ways_WALLRUN.jpg,Rayman: Origins[/img_big]

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!

This story was featured in Episode 39, Season 2 of playerattack News:

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