The concept for Rayman Raving Rabbids is simple - you play a bunch of nonsensical mini-games that hope to have you in hysterics as you perform all manner of wacky actions.
One minute you'll be milking a cow, the next minute that cow will be tied to the end of a chain and you'll be swinging it in circles to throw it through the air. You'll be shooting bunnies with plungers, smashing them around the head with a cooking spatula and launching them into the sky like rockets. Adrian Lacey explains the madness to CVG.
Rayman Raving Rabbids was originally being developed as a traditional adventure game. Why did the plan changed so drastically?
Lacey: This game was handed to the team that developed the first Rayman. When we were looking at design for the new Rayman we received the first Wii dev-kits, so we began prototyping different moves within the game.
We realised very early on that there were so many things we could explore in terms of movements. We knew the game was going to be a launch title, and we felt that we really wanted to explore the controller.
Rayman is all about fun and the interaction with the Wii Remote, and the control that it introduced, gave us a whole new creative outlook too explore. That's why we decided to do the mini-games and first-person plunger games.
Does that mean we'll see a traditional-style Rayman adventure soon?
Lacey: I don't know about soon - we've just come off working on Raving Rabbids. But Rayman has been around for many years, he's not going anywhere just yet.
Did the success of the mini-game-based Wario Ware franchise influence your decision go with a mini-games concept for Rayman?
Lacey: We definitely aimed to distinguish ourselves from games like Wario Ware, which contains lots of short games. We wanted to get that short-game element just to introduce you to the game, but then we wanted to include more depth in terms of how long you play the games, and we tried to maximise the depth of each game. We thought we could expand on what games like Wario Ware offers, giving it humour and story.
Right... and so the story is that Rayman's world is invaded by the Rabbits who capture him and force him to... play mini-games?
Lacey: Yeah, he has to perform a series of 'trials' - four trials for every in-game day. The fourth trial of the day pits him against one of the Boss Rabbids, which can be anything from a race to a shooting stage.
Lacey: Basically, this provides entertainment for the Rabbids and they give him prizes for entertaining them - like a costume or music for his prison cell - and, most importantly, a plunger. As he wins more and more plungers he's able to build a ladder and escape. That's the main aim of the game.
Was Rayman developed primarily as a multiplayer game?
Lacey: There are 70 games in total and over half of those are compatible with simultaneous multiplayer gameplay for 2-4 players. The FPS levels are two-player simultaneous, or you'll have turn-based games, so you'll set up a series of games and pass the pad around to take turns, with the highest-scoring player taking the win.
Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz will also have a mix of 50 mini-games, including short, simple games and longer, more in-depth ones. What will make Rayman stand out above Sega's offering?
Lacey: For one, we think the story really distinguishes Raving Rabbids. Then there's the humour. Raving Rabbids doesn't take itself seriously at all - we just wanted to make people laugh.