Virtual Boy. Cel-shaded Zelda. 7.9. There've been some shocking reveals and ruffled feathers in Nintendo's past for sure, but I'd argue that none have been as widely-despised as Ubisoft's recent decision to push back Rayman Legends' release date to September. I'd use the word "controversial" here, but that would imply that people have a variety of opinions on the subject...which frankly, isn't really the case outside of some (read: not most) Ubisoft employees.
So let's get down to it, then--the top ten reasons why delaying Rayman Legends was a terrible decision!
They spring it on us a mere three weeks before launch
For some, the game is preordered. Others may have picked it as their brother's birthday present. And plenty more were excited to simply get it at release and enjoy its lavish worlds in one of the Wii U's first must-buy games.
It's not that we aren't used to delays, being Nintendo fans. But less than three weeks before the game was intended to release? They took that dangling carrot and made it a tough pill to swallow.
It was synonymous with the Wii U
Rayman Legends was not only the first Wii U game revealed, but it seemed specifically built around the system's capabilities from day one. Murfy was interacting with eyeballs, enemies, lums and others, while the game even featured the figurine-reading sensor on the Wii U GamePad in its trailer.
Nintendo apparently agreed, choosing to focus on Rayman Legends as the one playable demo to showcase the Wii U before launch. They could've easily picked Mario or Nintendo Land for this purpose, but they felt that Legends was a great blend of quality and creativity to show what the system was capable of. This gave the system and the game itself great exposure--important after middling sales of Rayman Origins. Lack of exclusitivity is a common thing in the game industry, but this case stings a bit after such an intimate connection with the system itself. Which brings me to the next point...
The PS3 and 360 versions will be altered from the original vision
In numerous interviews, Michel Ancel and his team have stated that they loved the features of the Wii U, and several of Origins' dropped ideas were specifically put into Legends once the Wii U allowed them to execute these gameplay elements. Forcing the team to make the game more conventional is like cramming a square peg into a round hole. It's stifling creativity, and it's clearly not what the developers want to do (more on that point later). It's akin to saying, "Picasso, what's with the mismatched eyeballs? Just make it normal."
Hell hath no fury like a Nintendo fan scorned
Nintendo fans are used to getting the shaft. Numerous outlets in the gaming industry treat the Wii and Wii U (and arguably the N64 and GameCube before them) as the red-headed stepchild of the industry. If they aren't "kiddie," then they're "casual," and it's not the kind of stuff that real gamers play.
Naturally, we fans have a bit of a sore spot when it comes to this mentality, and that's only exacerbated by third parties when they screw us over. We praised Capcom when they gave us the REmake and the Capcom 5, then cursed them when they arbitrarily moved most of the games to other systems. We remember EA giving us Mass Effect 3 but not the Trilogy, and Square-Enix leaving us for the PlayStation. So something like this will not easily be forgotten. Sorry if it sounds petty, but c'est la vie.
Demo quick fix shows that they just don't get it
Now this was just adding insult to...well, both insult and injury, I guess. But the day Ubisoft announced that Rayman Legends was being delayed and going multiplatform, their Facebook page was absolutely stormed with negative comments. In a misguided attempt at damage control, they scrambled to appease the angry masses with...another playable demo.
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.
Naturally, fans were outraged--if they have "heard" us, why aren't their actions reflecting this? It's a pretty simple solution, guys. This post got even more negative comments than the first one, clocking in at 3100 and counting as of this post.
There's a Wii U drought right now
It's been three months since the launch games of Nintendo Land, Mario U, ZombiU, and others. The popular Pikmin 3 and Wonderful 101 are still at least a couple months away. Now is the perfect time to release Rayman Legends--there're no major Wii U games near its release, and tons of gamers are hyped and ready to drop sixty dollars on it. I couldn't picture a better release window in the entire Wii U's life, actually, since this is before Nintendo starts bringing out its major guns this year and the game would see great success.
This point goes hand-in-hand with the next one...
Now it'll release against the big hitters of Fall 2013
This just makes zero sense to me, and anyone who's not completely out-of-touch. So instead of releasing during a time when people will flock to buy the game, they throw it in the same month that contains Grand Theft Auto 5, as well as plenty of other options on the Wii U by that time (the aforementioned Pikmin 3), not to mention whatever Nintendo's cooking up for the fall (Wind Waker HD, probably Mario and/or Mario Kart). It boggles my mind.
Wait a minute...I'm getting deja vu. Didn't this happen already, where a great game was overlooked because it released against bigger names?
Oh yeah. With Rayman Origins.
It's made Ubisoft as a company look awful--rampant hypocrisy and terrible PR
Ubisoft didn't just shoot themselves in the foot with the handling of this announcement, they blasted that sucker off with a cannon. I don't know where to begin with this, so I'll first link to this great video that succinctly sums up Ubisoft's hypocrisy:
In addition, "We made the tough decision to push back the release so we could offer it on multiple platforms." So why doesn't that excuse work for Assassin's Creed 3? Why not push back the PS3 and 360 versions to coincide with the Wii U release 2 weeks later?
Because Nintendo, that's why.
Not coincidentally, Ubisoft is suddenly looking for a new PR rep.
Rayman Legends' developers got the shaft
Let me make something very clear amidst all this negativity: Rayman Legends' (and Origins') developers are a remarkably talented and passionate bunch that have a great deal of my respect. They're excellent at what they do and I definitely want to support them.
Here's the tragedy: they all worked extremely hard on this game to get it done in February, lost time with their families, and got very little sleep in general. Suddenly, the publishers want to make it multiplatform and push it back for no reason, meaning that all that hard work to hit the deadline was basically for naught. They're still there, now working on the other versions. It just sucks, man.
To make matters worse, a lot of people are boycotting the game and Ubisoft because of this terrible decision. It's not that I think this is unreasonable--heck, I'm furious, myself--but I wish there was a way I could support the Montpellier team without supporting the father company. So please keep in mind that this isn't the fault of the guys working on Rayman--they wanted the game to be on the Wii U from the start, and were set to release it this month. They're as mad about this as we are, if not far more.
And look, now Michel Ancel himself has joined in the protest. This thing has gotten big.
Finally, the number one reason...
THE GAME IS ALREADY FINISHED
For crying out loud, they've got Rayman hostage! Why's it sitting in a factory somewhere when it could be in thousands of Wii U owners' living rooms? They're delaying it to release in a worse season, to worse sales, ticking off literally EVERYBODY in the process--fans, developers, shareholders, and the friggin' creator of the series, all so it can be ignored and hit the bargain bin one month after release.
So there we have it--one of gaming's flat-out stupidest moves in a very long time. I don't know what's more incredible, that there are this many problems with the decision, or the fact that I had to cut some out just to fit ten. Or the fact that Ubisoft somehow thinks this is still a good idea.
What's the story then? Rumor has it that Microsoft has an exclusitivity deal that doesn't allow multiplatform games to hit opposing systems earlier than their own. I'm not sure if this is true or not, but it sounds dubious and I hope that's not the case.
There's some hope left, however! As more and more fans express their disgust at this decision--including Michel Ancel most recently--Ubisoft's gotta sit up and take notice...right? Let your voice be heard on their Facebook page or company email!
Those reasons are exactly why I'm ticked off - and now after considering myself to be a little calmed down after this stupid Ubisoft move, I clicked on your great Top 10 list and I'm pissed off all over again so thanks a lot!
This... is awesome work Matthew (love the illustrations)! It's hard to grasp the insane decision Ubisoft has made regarding Rayman Legends. Whoever is to blame (Sony, Microsoft, etc.), this is not going over too well with Nintendo fans (see reason #7 for example).
I agree with everything but think #9 should be far higher. Like, #2 or #1 even.
If this situation is really so bad though I could see these fucking morons maybe releasing Wii U version early, or with some extra incentives or something. No way they completely ignore this shit storm. No fucking way. Gaming history has shown gamers' voices can be heard if loud enough.
Just chiming in to say that the illustrations are brilliant; especially #7. This list sums up the many problems with the delay in a manner that really should be shared to people who can't see anything but the positives.
@-JKR- All they really stand to gain is releasing the game to a much wider audience; of course, releasing the game to a much wider audience really doesn't matter when they're ultimately getting an inferior version of the game. There really aren't many positives to this; the numerous negatives cancel them all out.
I'm racking my brain, but the only things I can come up with are basically Ubi thinking releasing on all systems in the fall would make for better sales. But there are two major reasons (#5 and #4 in the list) why this is faulty, and it's hard to see why they'd think otherwise. Unless they still think the game won't sell on the Wii U for whatever arbitrary reason (Capcom Test Syndrome?).