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 it’s 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 game’s 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 game’s 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 wasn’t 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 Nintendo’s upcoming console at the time: the Wii U, and that it would
use the Wii U’s touch screen for gameplay elements. We saw that we can manipulate platforms with the touchpad and we could even scan figures
using the Wii U’s 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 didn’t 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 would’ve 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 U’s 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 game’s early build of its code. When it got to that set date however, the
game wasn’t 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 Ubisoft’s main Wii U launch title ZombiU, sold very poorly
as well.
Due to how some of the game’s 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 it’s 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, Rayman’s 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 as possible within the levels to unlock more levels 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. 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 that’s blocking the path in order for the ducks to progress. 20,000 lums under the sea, the game’s water-themed world
which means there’s 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 there’s 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.
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 we’ll 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
there’s 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).

• For labeling and showing
the game’s control
scheme, I’ve 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 don’t
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
game’s co-op mode balanced. However as
a negative, that means there’s 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 Murfy’s
commands with the
console’s 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 game’s
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 they’re 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 game’s
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
game’s 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 vectorbased 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
game’s assets and the colour of the lights depends on the level’s 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 game’s bosses.

Graphics
The game’s 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 Ubisoft’s
part that they just re-used the same sprites with a new paintjob, but I personally don’t 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 game’s 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 level’s environment thanks to the the game engine’s new lighting feature. So if you’re in a dark area, the
colours on the sprites will be a lot darker or if you’re in the underworld levels of Olympus Maximus, the colours will look more red. It’s 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 I’m 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 game’s scenery. It’s that good. I honestly can’t see anything wrong with this game’s 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 game’s new lighting system.

Graphics
The game’s 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 Legend’s 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 they’re still as expressive as the character sprites themselves so in terms of
character, they matche the game’s 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 they’re 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 game’s 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 weren’t allowed to eat chocolate
for two weeks. After those two weeks were up, both groups were given chocolate. The group who didn’t 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 you’ll 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.