Interview

Making Of: How Ubisoft shrunk down Rayman for Apple Arcade

Making Of: How Ubisoft shrunk down Rayman for Apple Arcade

The process in creating a game is a difficult, long and often stressful process, but it's one that can reap many awards alongside actually seeing your ideas come to life.

No matter the size of the game or how long it ultimately took to make, each new title involves a lot of hard work, hard decisions, and a little bit of luck before it even gets out the door and onto devices. And in the current mobile market, that's only the first step in having a successful game.

To highlight all of the hard work that often goes on unseen in the background, PocketGamer.biz is reaching out to developers to learn more about the general rigmarole of releasing a video game, with our 'Making Of' series.

This week we spoke with Ubisoft Montpellier senior producer Abdelhak Elguess regarding the development of Rayman Mini for Apple Arcade and why the company felt it was right to be there on launch day.

PocketGamer.biz: Can you start off by telling us about Rayman Mini?

Abdelhak Elguess: Rayman was shrunk by a supervillain, and has to manoeuvre through his environment to reach his goal. Insects, mushrooms, leaves, and other plants will be his allies. Rayman Mini is a runner platforming game for the whole family.

Ubisoft is always present on new platforms right from launch, and the Apple Arcade launch was no exception.
Abdelhak Elguess

With its graphical variety, it allows players to dive into a natural and wonderful macro-photographic universe for the first time in this new game, everything is about rhythm. You will have to manage your timing, jump at the right moment, find each hidden place on the map and memorise each level. Fun, concentration, memory, and perseverance will be key.

Where did the initial idea for the game come from?

Michel Ancel (creator of the character) wanted to offer a new universe where Rayman would be tiny for a long period. This felt the right opportunity for everyone to immerse the player in a macro-photographic universe.

How long did development take, and how many people worked on the game?

The game was developed by Ancel's creative studio, Ubisoft Montpellier, in partnership with Pastagames, our partner in crime for Rayman's mobile birth.

With these two experienced teams working on the Rayman brand for a year, we wanted to offer players a unique graphical experience and an addictive gameplay feeling.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome during development?

Efficient level design. Contrary to what one might think, pure gameplay is not the easiest thing to set up. In a running game such as Rayman where everything is about rhythm, we needed level design that was simple, easy, readable, and quick for the player to pick up.

Also, the 'mini; side of the game was a big challenge. We wanted to give the player the feeling of playing a tiny character in a big, wide world.

At what stage in development did you feel you had a game that you were happy with?

So many moments are enjoyable when you are developing a game. But, the first time you manage to create a level with good flow, it feels really good.

We still want to innovate and push our brands on new platforms in line with players’ expectations.
Abdelhak Elguess

Why did you feel Apple Arcade was the right time to back the Rayman IP on mobile?

Ubisoft is always present on new platforms right from launch, and the Apple Arcade launch was no exception. We think that Rayman is a strong Ubisoft brand and its family potential is ideal for the platform.

How happy are you with the game's launch so far?

We are very proud of Rayman Mini. With this game, we were able to get back to the roots of Rayman, offer a new graphical experience and allow players to take control of their playtime (whether they prefer to launch the game for a short, intense experience, or try to get the perfect score on each level).

Rayman fans are always there to support the brand and we are really happy to see the community embrace the new entry in the series.

How are you approaching live ops? What can you tell us about your plans in terms of updates?

This is just the beginning of the Rayman Mini journey. We released the game planning to share regular updates with the players. New content will be available soon as we want to offer new gameplay and challenges to our Rayman Mini players.

What can you tell us about your future mobile projects?

We still want to innovate and push our brands on new platforms in line with players' expectations. So, our team is constantly working on new ideas and new projects. Only time will tell when and which one would be the next.

Ubisoft recently soft-launched five-on-five battler Tom Clancy's Elite Squad on Android after originally unveiling the title at Ubisoft's E3 conference in July 2019.


Staff Writer

Matthew Forde is the staff writer for PocketGamer.biz and also a member of the Pocket Gamer Podcast. You can find him on Twitter @Forde999 talking about Smash Bros. and everything pop culture related - particularly superheroes.

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