with Michel Ancel and Ahmed Boukhelifa|
Michel - As the creator of the Rayman series, why are you no longer involved in
the development of the game? What
was your role in the creation of Rayman 3 ?
Rayman 1 and 2, I had the opportunity to share creative visions with a lot of
talented people. Céline Tellier, for one, who's now DA on Rayman 3, started out
in charge of the background and environment graphics. We had a lot of fun coming
up with the unique visuals that went on to become signatures of the Rayman universe.
Then there was Michael Janod, a game designer on Rayman 2. He was the guy who
came up with the famous "leg missile." He's now Lead Game Designer for Rayman
3. These people and others had so many great ideas, so I felt really confident
they could carry forward the vision that made Rayman games so unique.
for me, after Rayman 2, I was ready to explore new emotions, worlds, characters,
and gameplay that didn't exactly fit into the Rayman universe. Though it was hard
to leave the awesome Rayman team, I decided to start a new project with a woman
as the central character.
So, my role on Rayman 3 was mostly assisting
the team here and there, like with Rayman's new look. Then every so often we'd
brainstorm ideas for the characters and the world - that sort of thing. Other
than that, I was just going full throttle on my new project.
Ahmed : What was your role in the creation of Rayman 3 ?
was the Project Manager, which basically means I oversee the operations and manage
the 50 members of the development team. As Michel mentioned, many people on the
team had worked on previous Rayman projects, so they had a lot of whacked-out
ideas. That was one of my first and favorite roles - to stimulate their imaginations.
It worked out great because we have every possible personality you could imagine
- everything from the comedic to the outright bizarre. I feel the key to making
a great Rayman game would be to cultivate this range of imagination to create
a visually dynamic universe.
Ahmed: What's the basic story behind Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc?
all begins with the red lums, which are these tiny creatures of positive energy.
One day, a single red lum beholds something so terrible it grows black with fear
and evil. This transformed Dark Lum spreads the evil to other red lums, forming
an army of cloaked soldiers called Hoodlums. Soon Rayman and Globox discover the
Hoodlum's plan, which is to taint the Heart of the World. Unexpectedly, Globox
saves the day by swallowing the Chief of the dark lums… This accident provokes
a strange addiction to plum juice… On his journey, Rayman must travel to unknown
lands forgotten by time, survive cunning creature awaiting him at every turn,
throughout a strange and fantastic land. But, this time, to save the world he'll
have to take care of Globox's health first!
This may seem pretty straightforward,
but the story unfolds in a very unpredictable and fresh way. Unlike other platformers,
Rayman 3 really draws from its epic storyline and bizarre humor. That's all I
can say without spoiling the plot!
Ahmed : The teaser video we've seen had a lot of strange hooded creatures. Who
are they and how does Rayman fit into this?
are the Hoodlums - Dark Lums equipped in their combat suits. In the game, they
captured big, woolly creatures and knit their outfits from them. The Hoodlums
are an army, organized into various posts that specialize in a specific area.
Rayman has to contend with all sorts of these Hoodlums, and will never know who
he'll face next. It might a sniper - like the one you saw in the video - who could
take Rayman out from long range, or it might be a grenadier, who's armed with
his own explosive concoction of plum juice based bombs.
Hoodlums are really
skilled at holing up in places and setting ambushes for Rayman. You might be cruising
along through a mysterious temple and get caught by surprise, or even get attacked
from the sky. We built each Hoodlum's AI to think independently, so even when
the Hoodlums are attacking in an organized group, they'll still act for themselves
and be pretty tough to predict. I think this will be quite a challenge for the
The Hoodlums are pretty fanatic about stopping Rayman at all costs,
but are also kind of comedic in their own right. Sometimes they get a little too
excited about being evil and bumble around a bit, especially if they get separated
from their leader.
Ahmed: What other kinds of creatures do you come across in the game?
world of Rayman 3 is bursting at the seams with crazy creatures. Rayman's best
friend, Globox, will naturally be there and have an important role in the game.
Then there's Murphy and the musical Teensies. These Teensies have appeared in
previous Rayman games and will have a much bigger role in this adventure
Hoodlums aren't the only enemies to watch out for. There's an egomaniacal hunter
and vicious swamp witch that are out to put the big hurt on Rayman and Globox,
to name a couple. Character Designer Stéphane Zinetti had a blast brewing up scads
of wild characters, so many that we wound up having to take away his sketching
tools. He came up with so many character ideas, which was great, but poor Rayman
was getting edged out of the picture.
Ahmed :Can you give us an idea of some of the locations featured in Rayman 3?
wanted to delve into the dark, unexplored realms of Rayman's world. So we came
up with a bunch of visually complex settings that vary greatly from one area to
the next. The game starts out at night in a forest filled with these giant, luminescent
mushrooms that sparkle in the dark. And by the end of his quest, Rayman will have
traveled through some crazy stuff - shimmering temples, barren lands with bones
shooting out of burning sands, dark deadlands full of forgotten stone gods, and
a Hoodlum factory powered by strange machines. Those are just a few places Rayman
will have to get through. We wanted to get away from the same old desert, beach
and mountain that we've seen in platformers so many times before.
Ahmed : You stress the combats when talking about rayman 3. What's new here?
is now more power for the player and more enemies acting together. The idea is
that the player has to face multiple enemies at the same time, and from different
elevations. You've got an array of abilities and powers at your disposal, but
you have to use them strategically to find the best way to take out specific kinds
Ahmed: It appears that Rayman has a new look. Why did you make this change, and
how did you arrive at it?
look of the original Rayman was created to fit within a 2D world - pretty basic
and modular. Then as the power of consoles increased around the time of Rayman
2, we adapted that to 3D. Now, with the flexibility of next-gen consoles, we have
the possibility to add more polygons, more detail and in the end, more personality.
of working from an existing model, we modeled the new Rayman completely from scratch.
We used more polygons for special parts like the face and the hands, to allow
Rayman to have a much wider range of facial animations and expressions.
new thing we explored was the SFX and super powers. It gave us the opportunity
to give Rayman all kinds of dramatic expressions and play up his cartoonish edge.
It's cool to see Rayman burst into a wild animation while he's using his new superpowers.
Michel : What do you think of Rayman's « new look » ?
love it. I like his new cartoon feeling, and how it gets back to the show-off
"I don't take myself seriously" feel he had in Rayman 1. I think we forgot that
a little with Rayman 2 while we focused ourselves more on developing the universe.
Ahmed: What kind of new audience are you trying to attract with this latest Rayman
We think the game will offer plenty of new things to current Rayman fans,
but will also appeal to anyone who likes to play at a frantic pace, in dynamic,
action-packed scenarios filled with off-the-wall comedy.
Ahmed: What was the biggest challenge for the Rayman 3 team?
of the challenges was working with an existing character. To keep the essence
of the original while giving it a freshness that doesn't betray the long-time
fans of the Rayman series. Some people have been waiting for this game for a long
time, and are looking to play something completely new and incredible. Fortunately,
Rayman's universe is already so rich with craziness that new and fun ideas emerged
naturally. I guess the real challenge was deciding which ones to choose!
Ahmed : Where is the game developed and on which platform?
game is currently being developed on PC, PS2 & Xbox in Montreuil by a team of
over 50 people. The GameCube version will be developed in Shanghai by He Jun Xian's
team (19 people). There is also a GBA version developed in Montreal by Bertrand
Helias's team (10 people). The game will be launched in November 2002.
Ahmed: What are you most excited about in Rayman 3 at this stage of development?
probably most excited about all the surprises we've created in the game. Everyone
on the team can't wait to see how players will react when they discover them.