Former Ubisoft Montpellier dev slams Rayman delay

Angry developer claims Ubisoft's "men in ties" made the wrong choice

A former Ubisoft Monpellier developer has criticised the decision to push back the Wii U release of Rayman Legends from April to September.

According to a report on Eurogamer, the developer published a post on the Spanish forum EOL - a translation was posted on Neogaf - under the name "Zeta69." The post asked people not to "pick on the game," as the decision to delay the Wii U release was taken "really high up" in Ubisoft.

"If you're pissed, imagine how we feel," the post read. "We've been making overtime with this game practically since May preparing E3, and then almost a demo per month (Gamescom, Wii U presentation, shops, eShop, etc...), and at the same time trying to actually finish the game.

"The team that's making it doesn't deserve to have your back turned on them just because some men in ties one day took a wrong choice"

"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. 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."

Zeta69 pointed out that the Wii U development team has been neglecting social and family commitments for almost 6 months, and is now preparing to spend a similar amount of time adding more content while it waits for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions to be finished.

"The team that's making it doesn't deserve to have your back turned on them just because some men in ties one day took a wrong choice," he added. "This industry is really that shitty."

The alias "Zeta69" has a long history on the EOL boards, comprising hundreds of posts that indicate he was a former employee of both Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Montpellier - including a celebratory post on the day that Rayman Legends finished development.

Zeta69 left Ubisoft Montpellier on January 31, when development of Rayman Legends wrapped.

The news that Ubisoft is waiting for Rayman Legends' Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions to be finished before releasing it for the Wii U was reported yesterday. In explaining its decision, Ubisoft did not mention the lacklustre sales of the Wii U.

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Latest comments (14)

Wesley Williams Quality Assurance 7 years ago
It's a disgraceful decision after the work the team has put in on this. Ubisoft would do well to give these guys a hefty bonus (regardless of metacritic rating) and additional time off to spend with their families as recompense.
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Patrick Williams Medicine and Research 7 years ago
Its unfortunate how the team was exploited and it signifies the need for better working conditions across the industry. That said, it makes sense that Ubisoft release the game on platforms where they can expect to sell the game, as the Wii U has predictably underperformed.

Edit: Releasing Rayman Legends at this time of the year probably is not the best idea either as the end of February and March are packed with huge titles.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Patrick Williams on 8th February 2013 6:36pm

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John Jennings Senior Producer, Machinegames7 years ago
A poor Christmas for WiiU, along with the desire to avoid a split-launch and diluted marketing campaign means this is probably a smart business move. A real shame about the human cost though.
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Show all comments (14)
Caleb Hale Journalist 7 years ago
Question: Is the Xbox 360 Content Submission and Release Policy driving the Wii U delay?

According to the policy: "Titles for Xbox 360 must ship at least simultaneously with other video game platforms, and must have at least feature and content parity on-disc with the other video game platform versions in all regions where the title is available. If these conditions are not met, Microsoft reserves the right to not allow the content to be released on Xbox 360."

I can't think of another reason why Ubisoft would hold back a finished version of the game.
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Sean Lane Artist/Animator, Sneaky Games7 years ago
As much as I love Rayman and Michel Ancel, I guess I'll be buying this game used only for sure. I can't support companies who think it's okay to force everyone to work so much overtime just because they say so, not because there is some particularly hard deadline. Even if the deadline is hard, they should be managed properly enough so that they don't kill their employees spirits, health, and social lifeout of greed, but I guess that's game design huh?
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Brandon Hofer Editor in Chief, Totally Gaming Network7 years ago
Releasing Rayman Legends right now is a much better idea then releasing it in September when Grand Theft Auto V will be coming out.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd7 years ago
In September they compete with Grand Theft Auto on PS360 and a much stronger Wii U library, including all the Summer releases plus Wind Waker HD.
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises7 years ago
They could always do a Bethesda and just release it before it's done, and make all of the controls worse than they were in the previous versions. Sorry, I'm playing Skyrim right now and they've really made a mess of the game.
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@Caleb: I agree.

I'd love to see Nintendo get nasty on this, and implement their own content submission guidelines. Give publishers discounts on true exclusive titles, or even block titles that aren't deemed superior on the WiiU to 360/PS3 titles.

There is an astonishing amount of anger now out there over this. Going to be interesting to see what happens when the game finally launches.

Played through the demo (on the WiiU) a couple of times, and as "pretty" as the game is - the gameplay just isn't anything to scream about. This needs to be timed well, and be sort of an impulse purchase. Wait too long, and have competition... and its going to get slaughtered sales-wise.
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Patrick Williams Medicine and Research 7 years ago
Is there really a lot of anger out there about this? Considering that Rayman players are segment of a small pool of Wii U owners, how many people are affected with the Wii U vs would stand to gain on other platforms?
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 7 years ago
As a Wii U owner, I'm furious at this news. Not only is the Wii U version ready to go when then console needs some games but it was designed with the whole system in mind. I'm tired of reading about 3rd parties that are expecting the Wii U to somehow succeed without them investing in it at all.
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Christophe Danguien games developer 7 years ago
Ubisoft are quite well known for exploiting people like they are slaves. Exploiting young devs most of the time, promising permanent contracts if they work hard enough...then end up just not renewing the contract with them.

It's not really a surprise to me what this guy said.

As a Wii U owner, I was going to buy this game, but now, they can go to hell, I won't spend a penny on this game. Event though he's right gamers shouldn't blame the devs, the only way for gamers to show Ubisoft they're not the masters is to not buy the game...
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Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University7 years ago
Such a shame the developers have been treated this way. While I think it's the right decision to take this title multi-format, Ubisoft have gone about this the completely wrong way.

If the Wii U version is finished, release it. There are between 2 million and 2.5 million Wii U owners out there right now with no major releases until the end of March; Rayman Legends was ideally placed to fill a vacuum before Nintendo published titles begin to reappear at the end of March. Ubisoft had done a great job of promoting the game with a demo before Christmas, and plenty of previews, trailers and interviews from E3 onwards. They were in such a good position to take advantage of the lack of widespread third party support and the lack of software on the Wii U. Nobody needed to know just yet that Legends was going multi-platform, did they? Ship the finished game and announce a desire to get the product to an even wider audience. Who would blame Ubisoft for reaching the biggest audience possible? What's more, with the engine and assets for the game already having been created for the multi-format Origins, were development costs really so expensive that releasing on Wii U now wouldn't have resulted in breaking-even or profit? Would the loss have been particularly huge if the title under-performed? What where the chances of the only quality exclusive on Wii U since launch (and perhaps the best title in the system's fledgling library) selling poorly with no competition on its host system?

As it is, they've alienated the Wii U's core base by effectively depriving them of a finished exclusive when it was needed most. Instead of building on the goodwill of launch titles like Zombie U and Assassin's Creed 3, Ubisoft have sent the signal to Wii U owners that they aren't that important. If you treat consumers like that, then consumers will vote with their wallets. Sadly, this could harm Legends when it does hit Wii U in September. As Nicholas and Brandon pointed out, Legends will then have to compete with GTA V on 360 and PS3, and whatever Nintendo titles have made it out through summer and are heading out through the autumn, including the Wind Waker remake. Does Legends really stand a better chance in September than it did now, launching in a vacuum on Wii U?

There's a reason only Nintendo titles will sell on Wii U; it's because Nintendo are the only publisher who will consistently support the system.
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Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games7 years ago
I see many calling this a good business decision, it definitely may appear so. However i beg to differ. Many from the Nintendo crowd were ready to see Ubi as a rock solid supporter of their favourite company and pass time. Not anymore! So instead of building up a relationship with the particular user base, which is one of the most devoted out there, they chose to bring them down. At the same time, if that report is valid, they eroded further the morale of their team. NOT a good thing. Furthermore, they disrupt relations with Nintendo itself! Especially during a phase when Nintendo is ready to hand out precious franchises to 3rd parties! And i can continue with a few more points but i think this is about enough, to show that no. This is not such a great business decision.
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