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Video Game Case Study

Arran Bull

Rayman Legends
Release Date(s):
(WII U, PS3, 360, PC:)
- 29th August 2013 (AUS)
- 30th August 2013 (EU)
- 3rd September 2013 (NA)
(PSVita:)
- 3rd September 2013 (NA)
- 12th September 2013 (AU)
- 13th September 2013 (EU)
(PS4, XONE:)
- 18th February 2014 (NA)
- 21st February 2014 (EU)
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer(s): Ubisoft Montpellier, Ubisoft
Casablanca
Platform(s): Wii U, Playstation 3,
Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Xbox 360,
Xbox One, Microsoft Windows (PC)
Game Engine: UbiArt Framework
Genre: 2D Platform
Franchise: Rayman

Development History
Rayman Legends was first revealed through a teaser video that was leaked onto Youtube in April 2012: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
RSlccZt5O2o
The video showed us gameplay that seemed identical to the 2D, side-scrolling platforming style as its predecessor: Rayman Origins, with some
noticeable changes thrown into the mix. For one, the art style was slightly changed to give the style from Origins more depth. The characters were
given a more hand-painted style rather than a cel-shaded look and the games rendering engine was upgraded to add lighting effects that match the ingame environments to the characters. The game was also going for a legends theme with the levels, hence the games title. The video showed off
this aspect with footage showing a castle themed world, as well as an Ancient Greek themed world and a Jack and the Beanstalk themed world.
The game also promised to have additional content that wasnt featured in Origins: new playable characters, online multiplayer with a new footballstyled mini-game (which became Kung Foot in the final game) and an online challenge mode that adds additional goals for players to achieve for ingame rewards. We were also shown that the game was going to be released on Nintendos upcoming console at the time: the Wii U, and that it would
use the Wii Us touch screen for gameplay elements. We saw that we can manipulate platforms with the touchpad and we could even scan figures
using the Wii Us NFC feature to add additional features into the game. They showed us a red heart toy from the game that gave the players
invincibility when scanned, we even saw one for the Raving Rabbids that would access a new level with them as enemies. They even teased a figure
of Ezio from the Assassin's Creed franchise, but the video didnt show what happens in the game when he is scanned. As cool as that idea sounds
however, it was scrapped in the final product as Ubisoft stated that the video does not fully represent the final game and that it was rather a test demo
for what it could be like.

Comparison of how Globox looked in


Rayman Origins (left) to how he looks
in Rayman Legends (right)

How the NFC feature wouldve worked if it was


implemented to the final product

Development History
As time went on, more and more information of the game was being showcased and discussed. We would soon find out that the game was going to be
a Wii U exclusive and will be a launch title for the system as well. However, nearer to the Wii Us release, which was November 2012, Ubisoft decided
to push the release date to the first quarter of 2013 for more quality assurance time. When games are delayed, the decision is made so that the
developers are given more time to fix any bugs or glitches that might be in the games early build of its code. When it got to that set date however, the
game wasnt released. Instead, Ubisoft delayed the game again, this time for a late summer 2013 release. Ubisoft made this decision because they
wanted to port the game to Playstation 3, Playstation Vita, Xbox 360 and PC. The game was still going to be released on the Wii U, but it was no
longer exclusive to that console due to the poor launch sales of the Wii U and the fact that Ubisofts main Wii U launch title ZombiU, sold very poorly
as well.
Due to how some of the games levels were designed for the Wii U gamepad, porting the game also meant they had to redesign the elements of those
levels to better suit a normal gaming game controller. The touch mechanic of the game was kept for the Vita version of the game due to its touch
screen feature. For the other versions however, all the touch screen actions were now context sensitive button inputs. So instead of touching a screen
to manipulate platforms with Murfy, one player presses a button to automatically perform those actions individually. However, because of the delay, the
game received more content originally intended. This included new time trial missions called Invasion Levels, 40 levels from Rayman Origins
remastered and more costumes. In April 2013, Ubisoft released the Rayman Legends Challenges App exclusively to Wii U. It was a free demo of the
game that included 3 levels from the game, as well as challenges uploaded daily for the player to achieve in-game rewards for the upcoming final
release. The challenges also had an online rankings system for players to post their scores.
After slight development hell and a lot of hype built up by fans, Rayman Legends was finally released for Wii U, Playstation 3, Playstation Vita, Xbox
360 and PC on August/September 2013. This was followed by Playstation 4 and Xbox One releases of the game 5 months later, which feature no load
times due to the more advanced specifications of those consoles.

Gameplay
Rayman Legends is a 2D side-scrolling platform game that features 4-player co-op (5 for the Wii U version). You can take control of either: Rayman, the limbless hero and the
main star of the game, Globox, Raymans dimwitted but charming best friend, the Teensies, a group off long nosed specimen who use magic to beat-up enemies or
newcomers Barbara and her 9 sisters, a group of girls who each wield their own unique sword/melee weapon to attack enemies.
Like in Rayman Origins, your main objective is to run, jump, punch and slap through many platform levels filled with many obstacles and challenges our heroes must go
through. Your main goal in the game is to rescue as many teensies (which replace the electoons from Rayman Origins) as possible within the levels to unlock more levels as a
reward where you rescue even more teensies. There are a total of 11 worlds to venture through. 5 worlds with new levels, 5 worlds with remastered levels from Rayman
Origins and a bonus unlockable world that you obtain from rescuing 400 teensies. Compared to Rayman Origins however, the levels are a lot more gimmicky and slowerpaced, making this game worse than Origins for speed runs. In Rayman Origins, the levels were a lot more simple in design and were mostly built around the basic gameplay
mechanics with a few minor gimmicks in-between, like water levels and mosquito riding. But in Rayman Legends, each world has a new gimmick and as well as the Murfy
levels which are also a reason to why the game is slower paced than Origins in terms of level design. The 5 new worlds were created for the main game:
Teensies in Trouble: a castle/forest themed world that has the more simple, linear and easy level design in the game, making it the best world in the game for introducing new
players to the game. Toad Story: a Jack and the Beanstalk/Swamp themed area filled with plenty of toads, tall plants and air currents that players can use to fly with the glide
ability. Fiesta De Los Muertos: a Day of the Dead/food themed world filled with colourful skeletons wearing top hats, lucha libre wrestlers and there are even some levels
where the playable characters are transformed into ducks and you must use Murfy to eat cake thats blocking the path in order for the ducks to progress. 20,000 lums under
the sea, the games water-themed world which means theres a lot of swimming to be done in this world. However, this world also has a spy-themed setting as you enter an
underwater base, so theres a bit of stealth-based gameplay thrown into the mix. Olympus Maximus: an ancient Greek world that starts off with you on the surface, flying on a
shield to progress and using it to protect yourself from God himself and his electrical strikes, but then after that, you are literally in the fiery depths of hell. There, you must
encounter minotaurs, little horned demons, and avoid unstoppable masses of dark creatures and fiery hazards. Each main level in the game has an Invasion level, which are
unlocked by completing the other worlds in the game. Featured in these levels are enemies from other worlds in the game from the one the level is set at, and you have to
rescue three teensies by running through an obstacle course under a set time limit. These are the most difficult levels in the game as they can be really intense and they
almost require perfect timing with your jumps and attacks.
Like Rayman Origins, each world ends with a boss fight that takes three hits to defeat with a three-phase structure. However in this game, all the bosses except for the one in
Toad Story are completely animated in 3D instead of 2D, which creates new boss battles that dont feel like rehashes of Origins boss fights. The boss battle at the end of the
Fiesta de los Muertos world for example attacks from the background except of on the platform the playable character is standing on, which leads to some interesting boss
tactics. Every new boss fight in the game is then followed by the new music levels. In these levels, you control the playable character like you would in any other level in the
game, only its an auto-scrolling level and the level design has been built so that when you jump on a platform, attack an enemy or collect a lum at a set point of the level, it will
match the rhythm and beat of the levels music. Youll platform to arrangements of iconic songs like Black Betty from Ram Jam, Eye of the Tiger from Survivor, and even Woo
Hoo from the 5.6.7.8s. This is my favourite feature of the game as it has the most unique concept for a platforming game and as a fan of music, it was really fun to hear the
beat of the song match my button presses on the controller. If you rescue 400 teensies, youll unlock the bonus world Livid Dead Party which features 8-bit remixes of all the
music levels in the game, with some distorted video effects thrown into the mix. I feel that they should make an entire platforming game based on this concept, as many critics
highly praised these levels.

Gameplay
Each world has around 2-3 levels where you control Murfy, a flying frog who made his first appearance in Rayman 2: The Great Escape whom in that game, only
served as a means to give the character definitions to how to play the game. But this game marks his playable debut, but he doesnt have the same control
scheme nor play style as Rayman, Globox, Teensies, Barbara etc. Instead, Murfys main function is context sensitive actions. In those levels of the game, you use
Murfy to help the main playable character progress through the level by moving platforms, tickling enemies with shields to leave them open for an attack, cutting
ropes etc. On the Wii U and PSVita versions of the game, you use the touch screen to control Murfy however for all the other version of the game, you simply press
a context sensitive button to have Murfy automatically perform the actions in a scripted fashion. During single-player, the player control Murfy while the playable
character is controlled by artificial intelligence who responds to your actions. In co-op, one player can control Murfy while the other players control the main
playable characters. In every other version of the game however, one player performs Murfys actions through a context sensitive button on the controller, while
simultaneously playing as the main character. Because Murfys gameplay is context sensitive reliant, this makes his level much more gimmicky and slower-paced
than the normal levels which addresses my point about the level design from earlier. In the Wii U and PSVita versions of the game, the responsiveness of Murfys
actions on the touchscreen is fine, but the artificial intelligence character they give you during single-player moves very slowly and behaves stupidly sometimes,
making these levels boring to play when youre playing alone. You do get to control your normal playable character during these levels in the other versions of the
game so you can go at your own pace, but you have to simultaneously perform Murfys actions as well, making the task of progressing through the levels hassling.
These levels are definitely my least favourite parts of the game for those reasons.
Scattered around each level are objects for the player to interact with for some kind of progression. There are lums that come in trails that always start with a pink
lum which are worth two yellow lums. Lums can unlock costumes and lucky tickets which well get into later. There are also skull coins that grant you 25 lums when
obtanied, hearts that grant you an extra hit before dying, enemies to beat up for extra lums, bounce-pads to help you traverse through the levels and in some levels
(mainly boss fights), you can get the blue punch power-up. A Gandalf inspired teensy will grant you this power-up and by obtaining you can literally (and I literally
mean literally) throw punches at enemies from a far distance. The most important things to find are teensies that you rescue by smashing the cages they are
trapped in. They unlock all the main worlds in the game and theres a total of 700 to free. Rescue all of them and you get a glowing yellow teensy costume, 150,000
lums and your online stats level up (but more on that later). Like Origins, the game has a one hit = death mechanic which may seem frustrating to casual players,
but its never really an issue because you have infinite lives in this game, making the game challenging but not frustrating, making the adventure a comfortable
experience. There are glass bottles containing hearts scattered around the levels that the player can attack to have the heart follow them around to grant them an
extra hit before dying, making things a little easier for beginning players.
Like in Rayman Origins, the controls are still very smooth, responsive to button movements and have actual weight to them so when you move the characters, you
feel like the characters, which makes controlling the game feel natural. However, compared to its predecessor, the characters move a lot faster and are even more
responsive to button inputs making the game control even smoother than Rayman Origins, which was already a smooth game to control. For example, when you
wind up your attack by holding the attack button in Rayman Origins, it will take around two seconds to charge up to full power, but in this game, it will only take less
than a second to charge it up. These sort of changes help make the game flow better than its predecessor when it comes to control. While the games level design
may be more gimmicky and slower-paced than Origins, its certainly faster when it comes to physics and control.

For labeling and showing the


games control scheme, Ive
used the Xbox 360 version. The
control layout is similar, if not
identical to the other versions of
the game so this will be easily
translatable if you dont have an
Xbox 360:

Controls
Left Analog Stick tilt
left/right to move, tilt down to
crouch and tilt up to have
your character look up

Every character except for Murfy has the


same control scheme, move-set and
abilities which as a positive, keeps the
games co-op mode balanced. However as
a negative, that means theres not a great
variety of characters in terms of abilities,
which some players may find boring.

X button - attack
B button Murfy
commands (context
sensitive button)

Right Trigger - sprint

Advance Techniques:
Hold the A button in mid-air to glide
While holding the sprint button and
moving, you can run up slopes
You can wall jump by pressing the A
button and jumping off one wall to
another
Hold down the X button to charge
up your attack
You can also jump on enemies to kill
them
Press the X button while tilting
downwards in mid-air to do a slam
attack
Press the X button while tilting
downwards on the ground to do a
ground pound

A button jump/glide in mid-air

On the Wii U and PS Vita


versions of the game,
you perform Murfys
commands with the
consoles corresponding
touchscreens. In co-op
one player can play as
Murfy on the touchpad
while the other players
play the game
traditionally.

Player Icon in co-op, the other


players icons will appear on the
top-left of the screen as well

HUD
Murfy the character who
performs context sensitive
actions

Lums objects for the player to collect. Each


trail always starts with a pink lum, which
amounts to 2 lums. If you collect a pink lum, the
next lum in the trail will turn pink. But if you
collect a yellow lum, the whole trail will turn
yellow

Lum count
the amount
of lums the
player has
collected

Heart
grants the
player an
extra hit
before dying

Playable Character the


character that the player
controls

Terrain The areas the


playable character can walk on
Architecture the games
non-interactive background

Context Sensitive asset by


pressing the context sensitive
button when near it, it will
perform a scripted action. This
platform for example, will be
dragged down when that
button is pressed

HUD
Teensy bar displays the teensies the player has rescued in the level. Where they appear on the bar depends on
where theyre placed in the level. So the first teensy that appears in the stage will have its icon placed on the left
end on the bar, while the teensy nearest to the end of the level will appear on the right end. This makes finding
the teensies in the levels easy and efficient

Enemy non-playable characters in the game that you kill to


score lums, rescue a teensy or progress through the stage. There
are various types of enemies in the game, but they all go down in
one hit. You attack them by either hitting them with the attack
button, or by simply jumping on them

Teensy characters that you rescue in each level. Most


of them are in captive cages while some are being
attacked by enemies like in this screenshot here, tied to
a stick etc

The console the game is on

Title

The art style and set-up of the


box art perfectly replicates the
in-game art style. So viewers
of the box-art will get a clear
idea on what the games
graphics look like
The main playable protagonist
of the game; he is in front of the
rest of the characters on the
box art and is seen attacking a
monstrous-looking enemy
character. Also, because the
game is called Rayman
Legends, the way this
character is seen on the box
arts hints that this is Rayman
Age
classification

Box Art
Other playable characters
in the game; they seem
to be assisting the main
protagonist
Castle/medieval architecture
in the background. This
shows that the game setting
is a Legends theme (as
the title suggests). The
greenish colour of the
background also gives it an
inviting aura to a
fantasy/legends theme. The
dragon monster below gives
that away as well
Enemy/boss character as he
is being attacked by the rest
of the characters on the box
art. He also has a very
monstrous appearance which
also hints that he is a bad
guy. The monster is the
largest character in the box
art, which could hint that it is
a boss character
Publisher

Graphics
Rayman Legends has an exaggerated 2D visual art style. The aesthetics looks cartoony but they also has a lot of
depth put into them, thanks to the hand-painted 2D sprites, background graphics and the games rendering engine:
The game uses the UbiArt Framework engine: a game engine that was developed by Rayman Legends' development
team: Ubisoft Montpellier. It was designed to arrange 2D animated vector-based graphics into a video game without
any extensive coding. It can run video games at a full 60 frames per second (fps) in resolutions exceeding 1080p. For
this game, the UbiArt Framework engine was upgraded to add more realistic lighting and shadowing to all assets. The
way the light hits the games assets and the colour of the lights depends on the levels environment; making every
visual asset blend in together naturally. Another upgrade the engine received for this game was the ability to have 3D
graphics on-screen as well as 2D graphics, which was used for most of the games bosses.

Graphics
The games art style is similar to its predecessor, Rayman Origins, which also had an exaggerated, cartoony 2D art style and it also used
the same graphics engine. However, with the upgrades implemented to the engine for Rayman Legends, there are noticeable changes.
The 2D sprites for the recurring characters are almost ripped right right out of Rayman Origins. However, the artists did give them one
noticeable change and that was the shading style. Basically, they got the 2D sprites from Origins, and traced them over with a handpainted style of shading, replacing the cel-shaded, comic book character style from Origins. It may have come off as lazy in Ubisofts
part that they just re-used the same sprites with a new paintjob, but I personally dont mind it as I already loved the character designs
from Origins. The designs for the new characters like Barbara, her sisters and the new enemies and bosses look really cool as well. The
new hand-painted sprite style do look really nice though and they definitely blend in with the environments a lot better than Origins, as
The background graphics are still hand-painted like they were in that game.
Speaking of backgrounds, they look absolutely beautiful in this game. The architecture and terrain have been designed and painted
really well, the layering has been arranged really well and they really suit the games variety of different settings and themes. The game
is also really colourful as well which helps make the visuals look appealing. I also love how the colours on the sprites will be slightly
altered depending on the levels environment thanks to the the game engines new lighting feature. So if youre in a dark area, the
colours on the sprites will be a lot darker or if youre in the underworld levels of Olympus Maximus, the colours will look more red. Its a
2D game with realistic lighting and shadow effects, but it also looks cartoony which is a style that I find charming, appealing and just
gorgeous to look at. A lot of times when Im playing the game, I like to just let go of my controller when I enter a more quiet area, and just
immerse myself into the games scenery. Its that good. I honestly cant see anything wrong with this games visuals at all.

Graphical comparison between Origins (left) and Legends (right). Both screenshots have a similar background setting and colour palette.
Notice the difference between the way the light hits Rayman in the screenshot on the left and how different the light hits the characters in
the screenshot on the right? That is because of games new lighting system.

Graphics
The games animation was produced amazingly as well. The game runs at a full 60 fps
with no slowdown or graphical hiccups, which leads to really smooth movements. The
sprite animations are very exaggerated, cartoony and bouncy and because of that and
the smooth framerate, it helps the game flow well with Rayman Legends smooth and
responsive controls. The animation on the 3D bosses also look really nice, if not a little
bit out-of-place as despite the hand-painted textures on them, they do look obviously 3D.
But theyre still as expressive as the character sprites themselves so in terms of
character, they match the games tone. The background animations are definitely a lot
more calm than the characters in terms of movements. This helps the player focus on
the character theyre playing as while also distinguishing that character from the level
design so they can see where they need to go.

The sprites were constructed and animated by compiling around hundreds of different assets per character.
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-chi097uV4

Game Addiction
In 2013, video game addiction was recognized as a mental control disorder. Since then, special treatment centers for
video game addicts have started opening to those people overcome their addictions and counter the addiction rates.
Getting too attached with the hobby of playing video games can cause you to be isolated from the real world. This
involves a decrease in exercise which results in an increase in obesity, a decrease in breathing fresh air, isolation from
friends, losing track of time etc.
From a case study I watched on Youtube, I discovered that potentially the reason why games are addictive for some
people has something to do with the reward and level progression system that most games have. The person in the
Youtube video used the phone game Candy Crush Saga as an example: in order to progress in the game, you have to
beat the levels. Each time you beat a level, you move on to the next, and if the game is fun, you are determined to
keep on playing to take on new challenges the game has to offer. This system of gameplay can easily cause players to
get addicted, but thanks to the games life system and how you have to wait at least half an hour to replenish them
once you lose them all, it encourages players to take breaks from the game regularly. Breaks also increase the
enjoyment from the next session of the game you have.
The person in the video brought up a famous experiment to explain this more clearly: a group of people were split into
two groups: one group told to eat as plenty of chocolate as they can, while the other werent allowed to eat chocolate
for two weeks. After those two weeks were up, both groups were given chocolate. The group who didnt eat any
chocolate in the two weeks absolutely loved the chocolate they were given, while the other group who ate chocolate in
the past two weeks were sick of eating it. This is standard human psychology: the more frequent you do something,
the less enjoyment youll get out of doing it. However, because games like Candy Crush Saga often force you to take
breaks in-between, it makes the player feel the desire to come back and play while getting the same level of
satisfaction from playing it as last time.