Rayman Origins: One Reviewers Opinion on Why It Failed

Given the release of Rayman Origins on every single platform except perhaps the Game Boy and C64, there should be more than a few players out there singing its praises. Yet sales figures are conspicuously low despite the strong support shown by Ubisoft for this title. I take a look at the one reason why one of the best platformers of this generation has possibly failed.

Rayman Origins is a title that I missed when it initially came out for the Xbox 360 but later picked up for the Playstation Vita. The game is incredibly beautiful with animation that simply stuns you with its complexity and ingenuity. There have been several gaming websites and magazines which have hailed this as the best 2D platformer this generation not called Mario and I would agree with all of them wholeheartedly.

Rayman Origins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unfortunately, despite the overwhelming praise for the title and the fact that this is part of a long established franchise rather than a new one Ubisoft is trying to market, the title has barely sold. With total sales amounting to a little over a half a million copies even though it’s been released on every platform imaginable. Various opinion pieces have talked about how such games cannot survive in a 3D Shooter fueled industry, how 2D gaming does not have the same market penetration as it once did. With games like Trine releasing to massive acclaim and selling over a million copies with barely any presence and bucking the trend, are the low sales of this title just the result of bad luck or is there something murkier in the depths? 

This may be my own personal opinion, but I strongly feel that the reason why Rayman Origins has not succeeded is due to the title character. More specifically, the character design of Rayman in this title does not have the mainstream appeal that characters like Mario do. While this may seem like a broad supposition or even unsubstantiated, its important to note that this statement has nothing to do with how good the game is but rather how approachable it is to newcomers to the series.  

The Rayman character design has always been an odd choice to say the least.  Fueled by graphical limitations rather than design options, the loss of his limbs was a consious decision made by designers in the early Playstation era to preserve the core gameplay. While the character itself is harmless and inoffensive in his early iterations, the change in art style in this title creates not only a disconnect from his and his surrounding environment, it also creates a disconnect from the players removing all of the charm and relatability the character once had.

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