Rumour: Rayman Creator Leaving Ubisoft Over Legends Debacle

By Javier Jimenez 23.02.2013 15

Rumour: Rayman Creator Leaving Ubisoft Over Legends Debacle on Nintendo gaming news, videos and discussion

Rumours should always be taken with a grain of salt, however, one floating around now is that Michel Ancel is considering leaving Ubisoft over the recent Rayman Legends debacle. For those that haven't heard (who hasn't by now), Rayman Legends, supposed to be an exclusive to Wii U, was set to launch for Nintendo's system in late February. It was then not only announced for other formats, but pushed back to September to launch simultaneously on the PS3 and 360 as well.

Wii U gamers were not happy with this and neither was Ancel. He went so far as to stand outside Ubisoft Montpelier, home of Legends development, with fans and developers protesting the delay. Word now is that he's so displeased by the train wreck that he's mulling over leaving Ubisoft to form his own development team. He'd do this to have greater control over both development decisions and business decisions, the kind that delayed Rayman Legends and has also put Beyond Good & Evil 2  on the backburner for so long. Loyal employees are set to go with him as well, if the story is to be believed.

Ubisoft has strongly denied the rumour, but what are readers' thoughts on the matter?

Box art for Rayman Legends
Developer

Ubisoft

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

5

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (5 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

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Doubt it. He'd finish BGE2 first.

Yeah it'd be a sad day if he left before Beyond Good and Evil 2.

I doubt it. He'd lose his babies - Rayman and Beyond Good & Evil. If somehow it were true, NIntendo need to get him straight away. And then set up a massive Western studio with him him and other choice European and American developers in it.

I also doubt it, BUT there's the rumours that BG&E2 was canned by Ubisoft once again, and if that were the case I can certainly see why he'd want to.

Let's hope for the best for Ancel.

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Frapp said:
I doubt it. He'd lose his babies - Rayman and Beyond Good & Evil. If somehow it were true, NIntendo need to get him straight away. And then set up a massive Western studio with him him and other choice European and American developers in it.

Interesting idea, but isn't Retro basically Nintendo's Western studio?

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justonesp00lturn said:
Frapp said:
I doubt it. He'd lose his babies - Rayman and Beyond Good & Evil. If somehow it were true, NIntendo need to get him straight away. And then set up a massive Western studio with him him and other choice European and American developers in it.

Interesting idea, but isn't Retro basically Nintendo's Western studio?

I don't think anyone could complain about having another Retro Smilie

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He can't leave before he completes BG&E 2 for PS4 Smilie...

( Edited 24.02.2013 07:53 by RudyC3 )

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer
Darkflame (guest) 25.02.2013#8

He should team up with Fredric Raynal and make the best action adventure game ever

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After giving a deeper read into the original article on Gamekult, I can see that english websites didn't pick on all the information it contained.

To me, it seems strongly implied that Ancel, if he was to leave Ubisoft, would still be working closely with them, much like Masahiro Sakurai and Project Sora has been to Nintendo, if you see what I mean.

The article also says this isn't the first time Ancel hints at a departure from Ubisoft and ends up staying on board in the end. I think this is all very interesting info.

And apparently, the end of the exclusivity of Rayman Legends on Wii U would be due to a disagreement between Nintendo and Ubisoft over the distribution and commercialisation of Rayman Legends. It's quite possible Nintendo was to distribute the title for Ubisoft, as a spearhead exclusive Wii U title, and perhaps Ubisoft was afraid that this would potentially close the doors on future developments of the title on other platforms... like some specific agreements in the contract preventing Ubisoft from doing so, which may have turned out no so favourable for Ubisoft in light of the poor sales of the hardware since launch?? This is all speculation but could make sense...

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

I was thinking that the supposed "agreement" with Nintendo was what caused the game's first delay, among other things. Legends was a driving force in the WiiU's sales, and Nintendo needed it to be a game spread out amongst their own to lessen the dry-spell of games. So.. perhaps Ubi just didn't want Nintendo to have that kind of power over their releases. Either way, I'm not really defending their decision to delay it to a season that will really hurt the success of their game.

However we can't really fully understand what happens, I dunno if we ever will.

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RudyC3 said:
which may have turned out no so favourable for Ubisoft in light of the poor sales of the hardware since launch?? This is all speculation but could make sense...

That's what I don't get. Why are all these companies saying Wii U had poor sales of hardware since launch. It sold over 3 million units between launch and Dec 31. The only other console in history to sell that many was Wii and only by 200k. How many units were these companies expecting?

Yes, Wii U didn't have a great month of January. But companies were complaining about the sales before then and Ubisoft was already deciding this before then. The announcement of the delay came a week before NPD even released sales numbers for January in the US.

If these third parties are complaining about 3 million units being poor sales, what are they going to think when the PS4 and 720 launch? They will sell well, but they aren't going to blow away 3 million units each.

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Sonic_13 said:
RudyC3 said:
which may have turned out no so favourable for Ubisoft in light of the poor sales of the hardware since launch?? This is all speculation but could make sense...

That's what I don't get. Why are all these companies saying Wii U had poor sales of hardware since launch. It sold over 3 million units between launch and Dec 31. The only other console in history to sell that many was Wii and only by 200k. How many units were these companies expecting?

Yes, Wii U didn't have a great month of January. But companies were complaining about the sales before then and Ubisoft was already deciding this before then. The announcement of the delay came a week before NPD even released sales numbers for January in the US.

If these third parties are complaining about 3 million units being poor sales, what are they going to think when the PS4 and 720 launch? They will sell well, but they aren't going to blow away 3 million units each.

Sorry I should rephrase that:

Perhaps they weren't as much disappointed by hardware sales as they were by the amount of software the console managed to shift. That's what I should have said.

Ubisoft had ACIII lined up for Wii U but that didn't sell too well. Granted... It had been available on the other consoles and PC long before the Wii U launch, so the amount of people left who would have jumped on it was reduced (not mentioning the frame rate of the game tends to be a bit lower than the others on some rare occasions in the Wii U version).

They also had ZombiU, which was plagued with glitches and still is since they still haven't released a patch, despite saying they would a long time ago. It also didn't have quite the graphical level you'd expect from the most powerful console available on the market at time of release, and was a completely new license altogether... Not mentioning the ZombiU Premium Pack with the console was only made available in relatively limited quantities in Europe... So that didn't sell well either (despite the game getting some strong word of mouth praise among gamers, especially on Miiverse, so it continues to sell modestly but steadily in the long run).

It's hard for software to shift WiiUs when the games that arrive on it are either totally new licenses that fail to do well with most critics (ZombiU) or when it's a multiplat game that arrives much too late and is poorly optimized for the new hardware. That being said, I love both games and own them, and they're among my favourites on the system so far. Heck, they're even the two games I played most since I have a Wii U, according to my console's play stats !!!

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

RudyC3 said:
Perhaps they weren't as much disappointed by hardware sales as they were by the amount of software the console managed to shift. That's what I should have said.

Ubisoft had ACIII lined up for Wii U but that didn't sell too well. Granted... It had been available on the other consoles and PC long before the Wii U launch, so the amount of people left who would have jumped on it was reduced (not mentioning the frame rate of the game tends to be a bit lower than the others on some rare occasions in the Wii U version).

In raw numbers, it didn't sell anywhere near as well as the other versions. It's estimated that the PS3/360 versions sold more than there are Wii U units. I think instead you have to look at adoption rate of games sold to systems sold.

PS3: 4.62 games / 77 systems = 6.00% of PS3 owners have the game
360: 4.09 games / 76 systems = 5.35% of 360 owners have the game
WiiU: 0.11 games / 3.06 systems = 3.59% of Wii U owners have the game
(in millions)

When you do that, you see that it didn't sell nearly as bad as people think, especially considering the other reasons you mentioned:

when it's a multiplat game that arrives much too late and is poorly optimized for the new hardware

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That's a very good point. However I'm not sure developers care about adoption rate per platform... the Wii U port cost them money and if that port didn't sell enough to outweigh the cost of its own development, then it cut into the profit margin of the other versions... This could be considered bad (but since we don't know exactly how much the Wii U version cost them, or how much profit or loss the sales of the Wii U generated, that's quite impossible to weigh in any relevant way).

Then again, when it comes to new hardware, with the detrimental factors mentioned in previous posts for this specific game that AC3 is, you can't really expect a game to sell millions of units, can you. Heck, as development costs will continue to rise with new hardware, this is going to be even more of a massive mess. How can one expect a third party big budget game to still come as an exclusive title on a console launch with that? It sounds almost suicidal to do so. The stakes are much too high.

( Edited 26.02.2013 01:02 by RudyC3 )

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

RudyC3 said:
That's a very good point. However I'm not sure developers care about penetration rate per platform... the Wii U port cost them money anf if that port didn't sell enough to outweigh the cost of its own development, then it cut into the profit margin of the other versions... This could be considered bad (but since we don't know exactly how much the Wii U version cost them, or how much profit or loss the sales of the Wii U generated, that's quite impossible to weigh in any relevant way).

Granted, when it comes to new hardware, with the detrimental factors mentioned in previous posts for this specific game that AC3 is, you can't really expect a game to sell millions of units, can you. Heck, as development costs will continue to rise with new hardware, this is going to be even more of a massive mess. How can one expect a third party big budget game to still come as an exclusive title on a console launch with that? It sounds almost suicidal to do so. The stakes are much too high.

I think that pretty much nails the complex issue of software development for new consoles! It's been fun talking with you. Smilie

I still wonder what their expectations were because they do need to balance what makes them a profit with what is realistic for sales. It's annoying if they set unreleastic goals and then complain about not reaching them.

I'm interested in seeing how things work out when these developers start producing new software for the PS4 and 720 at launch and what developers do regarding Wii U since it will have the largest install base (for at least some time anyway).

( Edited 26.02.2013 02:30 by Sonic_13 )

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