By Joseph Leray
When Ubisoft announced last week that they were delaying the Wii U version of Marcel Ancel and Ubisoft Montpelier’s “Rayman Legends” until September to coincide with a Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 port, I doubt they realize the size of the wasp’s nest they were kicking.
When news of the delay started breaking, an indignant ex-Ubisoft staffer took to Spanish games site El Otro Lado, claiming that the Wii U version of “Legends” was finished and railing against Ubisoft’s treatment of its developers: “We had a first delay because it was obvious we couldn't finish on time, but we gave it all to be there on February,” writes user Zeta69 “What face do you think we had when, the week we had to close the game, we're being told it's not going to be released? I couldn't believe it.”
“This is not a decision taken by the development team. This comes from really, really high up, so please don't pick on the game. If you're pissed, imagine how we feel.”
He continues, describing the crunch time needed to get the Wii U version done on time, only to have it pushed back six months. “For us, this means we've spent 6 months barely seeing our wives, kids, and friends for nothing because, after all, such a haste wasn't needed. Believe it, it was hell to swallow these news.”
While it’s not clear who the Zeta69 account belongs to, Eurogamer reports that he or she has several years' worth of posts in the EOL forums, some describing trips to E3 and others describing working on other Ubisoft projects, including “Rainbow Six: Vegas” and “Far Cry 2.” He or she left the company in January, when “Rayman Legends” development was winding down.
Later, a Ubisoft rep confirmed Zeta’s allegations: the Wii U version of “Rayman Legends” is totally finished but is being held back by Ubisoft. “There are no issues with the game development. ... The only reason for the delay is to release on multiple platforms,” the rep explained to Digital Spy. “In this case, Ubisoft recently decided they wanted to release the game on multiple platforms so the decision was made to launch them all at the same time rather than separately.”
Seeing platform-exclusive games receive ports isn’t uncommon in the games industry, but early adopters of the Wii U are now left waiting for six months on a game that could reasonably be released right now.
The latest salvo comes from “Rayman” creator -- and current Ubisoft Montpelier designer -- Michel Ancel, who has appeared in photos with protesting fans visiting the French studio. Pictured above, the banner shows Rayman crying alongside the message, “Release ‘Rayman,’ Support Ubi Montpelier.” Ancel stands to left, frowning at the sign.
While it’s unreasonable to expect the “Rayman” team in Montpelier to publicly buck the higher-ups in Paris, Ancel’s presence in these photos corroborates, to a certain extent, Zeta’s claim that the developers of “Rayman Legends” are not happy with the decision to delay it.
“Rayman Legends” will appear on Wii U, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 in September.