‘Rayman Legends’ Delay Enrages Fans, Developer; Ubi Crafting New Wii U Demo

Feb 8, 2013 by  

Yesterday, Ubisoft announced that Rayman Legends, once a Wii U exclusive, will now grace other platforms, as well. That’s good news for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 owners, who won’t have to miss out on what is shaping up to be one seriously charming, gorgeous platformer. Wii U owners, on the other hand, are stuck with a big, fat delay. Rayman Legends was originally slated to release in a matter of weeks, on February 26th. Instead, the game is now nearly seven months distant, with a nebulous “early September” release date.

Simply stated, no one is happy about this. Masses of Wii U owners have taken to Miiverse (check out the video at the top of this page) and Ubisoft’s Facebook page to voice their aggressive dissatisfaction with the situation, and one alleged member of the game’s development team has posted a scathing online missive about the game’s delay.

In a press release announcing the multiplatform versions of Rayman Legends, and the Wii U iteration’s attendant delay, Ubisoft Canada Communications & Marketing Director Lucile Bousquet delivers the news pragmatically.

“We heard from many Xbox & Playstation owners and Rayman fans who told us they really wanted to play Rayman Legends on their current system. We decided to give the fans what they wanted while at the same time broadening the audience exposed to this innovative and memorable game.”

The reception of that news, however, has been another matter entirely. That gamers were quick to question Ubisoft’s commitment to Wii U is understandable. The new system hasn’t performed as well as expected at retail, forcing Nintendo to lower its sales projections for fiscal 2012. Additionally, some began to wonder whether Rayman Legends might be suffering from development issues, and if the game was being delayed simply because it wouldn’t be ready in time for its February 26th debut. Surprisingly enough, Ubisoft addressed that concern head-on.

Rayman Legends Delay

In a statement delivered to Digital Spy, Ubisoft PR Specialist Sarah Irvin makes it crystal clear that Rayman Legends for Wii U is being delayed exclusively so that it will release concurrently with the other editions of the game.

“There are no issues with the game development. All of the information was in the press release, the only reason for the delay is to release on multiple platforms.”

“We usually release all of our platforms simultaneously (aside from PC). We’ve made special exception sometimes in the past but it’s definitely just on a case by case basis and not our standard practice.”

“In this case, Ubisoft recently decided they wanted to release the game on multiple platforms so the decision was made to launch them all at the same time rather than separately.”

“I know it’s not an elaborate, ‘convincing’ answer, but it’s the simple truth.”

To reiterate, the “simple truth” is that Rayman Legends for Wii U is complete and ready for retail, but Ubisoft is going to sit on it for seven months while the other versions of the game are completed.

Needless to say, this isn’t going over well with Wii U owners. Rayman Legends was the lone bright spot on the system’s release schedule during the early months of 2013. So bad is the Wii U game drought that Satoru Iwata himself literally apologized for the situation in the most recent Nintendo Direct presentation. With Rayman postponed to September – when, it must be pointed out, the game will have to compete with the release of Grand Theft Auto 5 on PS3 and Xbox 360 – the drought is that much worse.

Rayman Legends New Demo

It’s not just Wii U owners who are furious over the delay. An alleged member of the game’s development team, who posts on the Spanish forum EOL under the name Zeta69, details his own outrage at learning the news (translated by NeoGAF).

“I completely understand you but you have to understand one thing. This is not a decision taken by the development team, this comes from really really high up, so please don’t pick on the game.”

“If you’re pissed, imagine how we feel. Think on the situation, we’ve been making overtime with this game practically since May preparing E3, and then almost a demo per month (gamescon, Wii U presentation, shops, eShop, etc…) and at the same time trying to actually finish the game. We had a first delay because it was obvious we couldn’t finish on time but we gave it all to be there on February. What face do you think we had when the week we had to close the game we’re being told it’s not going to be released? I couldn’t believe it.”

“For practical matters, you’ll have to wait for some months for the game to be released and will most likely serve for more content to be added and do it better. For us, this means we’ve spent 6 months barely seeing our wifes, kids, and friends for nothing because, after all, such a haste wasn’t needed. Believe it, it was a hell to swallow these news.”

“Even then I’m firm in what I said back in the day, Rayman Legends is an excellent game and will still be, and the team that’s making it doesn’t deserve to have your back turned on them just because some men in ties one day took a wrong choice. This industry is really that shitty.”

The whole thing is an unfortunate mess. To its credit, Ubisoft is attempting to placate Rayman fans by crafting a second Legends demo for Wii U. The publisher made the announcement on its Facebook page.

“Thanks for all your feedback regarding Rayman Legends in all of its forms. We have heard you and we will continue to listen. We understand your frustration and that you want to get your hands on the game.”

“We are working with the development team to provide you with a new, exclusive demo for the Wii U soon. Stay tuned for more.”

And so we will.

Ranters, what do you make of all this? Should Ubisoft have simply made Rayman Legends a timed exclusive for Wii U, or is the publisher smart to release all three versions at the same time? Is a new demo a good “consolation prize” for Wii U owners? Will all this controversy ultimately hurt the game’s sales? Let us know in the comments below.

Rayman Legends releases early September for Wii U, Xbox 360 and PS3.

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Follow me on Twitter @HakenGaken.

Source: Ubisoft’s Facebook Page [via Destructiod], NeoGAF [via GameSpot], Digital Spy, Wii talia [via Kotaku]

 

25 Comments

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  1. Sometimes different regions have to wait months for a crack at a new game, or there are times when games are exclusive for a short period then get developed for multiple platforms. They see no reason to release the game on time because they don’t think they’ll move that many units to the WiiU anyway, the install base isn’t there for the bean counters to be confident, so they figure make the WiiU users wait.

    • Yes, but…

      Right now, ‘Rayman Legends’ has the chance to be a very large fish in an admittedly small pond.

      In September, who knows what ‘Legends’ will be up against, aside from ‘GTA 5′? September is generally ground zero for the rush of Fall/holiday games, and there is apt to be a huge amount competition, to say nothing of the possibility that new consoles could very well be releasing shortly thereafter.

      Personally, I just hope the game finds the audience it deserves, and I can’t help but think it has a better chance of doing that right now than during the busiest months of the year.

      • My thoughts exactly. I imagine a lot of Wii U owners are champing at the bit for another major game to sink their teeth into right now. Seems like it’s been a while.

  2. It’s utterly despicable of Ubisoft to do this. They’re essentially killing the game. I hope they enjoy their lower sales due to this situation. I mean, seriously, sending this up against GTA V and whatever else is coming out in that busy season? This is suicide for the game.

  3. I don’t understand why they just don’t release the game as an eShop exclusive on it’s originally stated release date. Then release the physical copy with the other multi-plats in September. This would pacify (most) angry Wii U owners by giving them their “exclusive” game, on time, and Ubisoft could still have their cross-platform release.

    I was for sure going to pick this up at the end of the month, now unfortunately, I probably won’t buy it ever. Ubisoft lost a ton of the respect I had for them and they lost my 60 bucks in the process. To treat Wii U owners this way, at a time when they desperately need new games to play, is just plain vile IMO.

    It’s like they are leading poor Rayman to slaughter. They could release the game, to critical acclaim, at a time when there is a serious drought or they could release it towards the end of whats shaping up to be one of the biggest years in gaming history. I’d buy the game right now in a heartbeat. Come September, I’m going to be trying to play catch up and poor Rayman will probably be a rental, at best. I just don’t understand their thinking on this.

    • Everything you said is EXACTLY how I feel about this. I just don’t get it either.

    • An eShop-only release on the 26th strikes me as an excellent idea, though it could be problematic for owners of the Wii U Basic Set.

      • All two of them. :) JK. I could see that being a problem but, it would be a step up from nothing for anyone and it might show that Ubisoft is at least trying to appease fans. While it still leaves people with out an Internet connection out in the cold too, it’s better than nothing.

        • UBI doesen’t care about their fans,all they care about is cash cash and cash again ! Take it from somebody who has to face there s***** decisions every day ! With overtime here everyday to meet stupid deadlines,cut lots of content and make good games soulless crap,thats who we are talking about !

          For me the worst is the constant unpaid overtime here,every day ,sometimes till 21:00 other times till midnight,and then back next day at 8:00 ! :(

    • You nailed it, EastOfTheAnduin.
      Not only would releasing it digitally give Wii U owners the game they’ve been waiting for for months before anyone else has it, but it would be great motivation for new users to actually connect their console to the Internet and check out the eShop.
      Then they can do their big simultaneous release in September, and make some profit off of the other ports.

      • Exactly. It’d pretty much be a win, win for everyone. That’s one reason why I’m so perplexed by their rationale.

        • We we’re going to play the completed game in 15 days – How is that win to wait another 200? I don’t care about multi platform but I want what’s fair.

  4. I have all consoles except the Wii U and even though I loved rayman origins I still feel that the Wii U owners are being cheated. This should have been a timed exclusive for the Wii U and then multiplatform for everything else later on. With that said I hope it also comes out on the vita some time in the future.

  5. I wonder if Ubisoft will choose not to limit the number of playthroughs on the new, exclusive ‘Rayman Legends’ demo?

  6. This was the Wii U game that I wanted most. Had I bought one yet, Rayman Legends would’ve been the system-seller. The lost of exclusivity is a little weird in that way, but I guess it’s a good thing ultimately. Though I can’t imagine I’m the only one for whom Rayman was the most interesting Wii U title, so Nintendo probably loses a few system sales with this move. Still, it’s a smart business decision.

    The delay, though, is just pure BS. I suppose releasing it now runs some slight risk of it being overlooked as outdated or something when it releases on the larger platforms. But we’ve seen that kind of secondary release work out well for other games. And more importantly, like Jeff Schille said, this month is some prime real estate on the Wii U’s release calendar, and there’s a pretty big upside on the potential sales. September, though, is a terrible decision. Releasing in the fall likely played a very big part in Rayman Origins’ poor sales, and Ubisoft apparently isn’t interested in learning from that mistake.

  7. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve played the (very limited) demo that’s already on the eShop. Rayman Origins was right at the top of my list in 2011, and there’s a Wii U sitting in my bedroom right now partially because I wanted to support that team the minute Legends came out.

    I wish, for once, there was some retribution for such tragically awful decision making. Rayman will get buried, the Wii U will continue to flounder, and the next generation consoles will overwhelm gamers entirely. It may come across as almost conspiracy theory-levels of paranoia, but I truly think this could be the beginning of the end for Nintendo’s home consoles.

    The most important thing to keep in mind is that regardless of how heartless video game publisher executives are (and god are they ever), Ubisoft knew that no matter how well Legends sold as a Wii U exclusive, it would probably be a net loss for them. They are a business and they know the numbers.

    Be angry with whomever you like, but keep in mind the root of the problem: Nintendo.

    • How on Earth is this Nintendo’s fault? And I swear, every time I hear someone say Nintendo is doomed, and that this is the end of their home consoles, I want to smash my face into my palm with tremendous force.

      Also, I couldn’t care less if it’s exclusive. What pisses me (and most people) off the most, is that they’re delaying an already completed game for the sake of a simultaneous multiplatform release. This says to me “Sorry guys, but we just care about the PS360 crowd more than you,” and that’s a s***** way to treat your fans. If they are such a wise business, they would know not to release a niche game in the most cluttered time for video game releases, with one of those games being GTA V. Terrible business decision.

      • Microsoft stipulates that for any game to receive approval to be released on their console, it must release at the same time or earlier than it does on other consoles, unless it is an exclusive “enhanced” edition.

        As a result, Ubisoft was forced to either a) forsake the 360 audience, b) forsake the Wii U audience, or c) develop extra resources just for the 360 version of the game.

        They won’t develop anything exclusive for the 360, and X360 has a much larger install base. Clearly a greed-based decision, as other games that started as exclusives are after some time being ported to other consoles.

        Case in point: Capcom’s Resident Evil: Revelations has been a 3DS exclusive for over a year, and yet it is now being ported to PS3, Wii U, and 360. And yet there is no uproar from fans about the loss of a 3DS exclusive–because they released it on time.

        The video game industry hinges on managing customer expectations. Ubisoft has failed to do so. This will ultimately impact their bottom line. I only hope that one day they wisen up about how they treat their customers.

        • That stipulation is pretty interesting; never heard of that. But wouldn’t they be able to develop those extra resources for both the PS3 and 360 versions? I assume that’s allowed, since the Witcher 2′s special edition also came out for the PC when it was released on the 360.

          Developing a little extra content would make sense anyway, with the lateness and all. Besides, they’ll probably be dropping a certain amount of content for those versions since there’s no touchscreen controller for the PS3 nor really for the 360 either. So, make up for that with one more world, or a few extra characters or something fairly small. And then release that extra content as DLC on Nintendo’s eShop.

        • Why would this be any different from Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge? That was a Wii U “exclusive” that is now being ported to the PS360.

    • Maybe the WiiU would sell more numbers if they had Rayman to add value? I don’t see how Nintendo is culpable in this in any way, Ubisoft is the boss of this game through and through, there the buck stops. The WiiU will pick up steam when the next x-box/PS iteration gets here without backwards compatibility, used game locks and always online garbage and running $400+. That WiiU will start looking a lot better then.

    • How can Nintendo be blamed on 3rd party publishers being lazy, greedy, cretins whom, instead of taking the time to create ports worth spending 60 dollars on; instead copy and paste the same game and half halfheartedly tack on on some of the controllers functionality. So lazy that they didn’t even take the time to make sure the games were optimized and running smoothly. Than Nintendo gets blamed for poor sales when the publishers couldn’t be bothered to make a game worth purchasing. I owned every port for the Wii U line up before and the Wii U’s versions added NOTHING. It’s the same BS excuse they use when PC gamers refuse to buy a port of a game that has nothing added to take advantage of playing on the PC. Why would a gamer waste there money on such drivel.

      Than you look at a company like Ubisoft who has absolutely no respect towards gamers or there own developers. These kind of nefarious actions infuriate me as a gamer. How does Ubisoft command the respect of the gaming public when they treat their hard working development teams like meaningless drones and tell their gaming fans to go **** themselves. There own PR had no way to spin the executives web of BS into something swallowable, that should speak volumes.

      I am not a loyalist towards any console. I own a gaming PC, Wii, Wii U, and PS3, and used to own a Xbox360… until it broke for the 3rd time. Eventually I realized Microsoft exclusive games were not my cup of tea and I have no incentive of ever buying there brand of hardware again. I got a little side tracked; what I’m trying to get at is I am so tired of 3rd party publishers just creating the same game and porting it to every console. What is the point of owning all the consoles when they don’t make anything special for them? It’s especially irritating when you have a console like the Wii and Wii U that try to offer a unique style of gameplay.

      It’s just so stupid to me; the publishers are curious why halfhearted, inferior games sell don’t sell well on Nintendo? There have been developers who created masterpieces on the Wii that sold well enough. Sorry that shovelware sits on the shelf, even more sorry that the same shovelware had a tendency of hiding the gems beneath a pile of ****. Sadly, it feels like the same thing is happening with the Wii U.

      Which actually makes this Ubisoft betrayal so much more rotten. Finally, a game being built up from the start to take full advantage of Nintendo’s hardware. It’s infuriating, dishonest, and I seriously hope that Ubisoft burns for this.

  8. I have been ranting about this decision since I heard about it yesterday. Ubisoft is acting very unethically and I have now cancelled my $49.99 pre-order on Amazon. I have also lost all respect for Ubisoft.

  9. Nintendo features this game prominently in every aspect of WiiU advertising leading up to launch. This game being a WiiU exclusive added definable value to the console for people who were considering early adoption and not only did they completely blow the launch window and subsequent “coming soon thereafter” window but now they’ve just completely betrayed every WiiU owner who was counting on this game. Nintendo should be up in arms about this if anyone should. Makes me hate how good that free Rayman game is on the iOS ;).

  10. Everyone needs to chill out…its just a game not a matter of life or death! Anyways, time flys, it’ll be here in no time.

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