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.
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.
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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