Rayman (cancelled prototype)
- This article is about the cancelled SNES build of the game. For the early production of the final game, see Rayman (early production).
Over the years, a considerable amount of information regarding the earliest development stage of the original Rayman game has been unveiled, through the featured Pix 'N Love article about a Super Nintendo Entertainment System version of the game, from Michel Ancel himself, and an early dumped ROM of the version.
At the beginning of its development, the original Rayman game had a very different plot. This prototype version followed Jimmy, a boy who created a world on his computer called Hereitscool. When Hereitscool becomes infected with a virus, Jimmy enters his virtual world and takes on the persona of Rayman in order to defeat the virus.
Pix 'N Love article
On the 4th of July 2010, French retro-gaming magazine Pix’N Love revealed that, at the very beginning of its development, the original Rayman game was intended to be released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The magazine also contained an interview with Rayman creator Michel Ancel on the subject. This version of the game featured a two-player co-operative mode, in which one player controlled Rayman and the other player controlled what appears to be a female version of Rayman, not dissimilar from the girlfriend character once planned to appear in Rayman 4. Rayman's body is red rather than the purple used in the final game, and the girl's body is blue. Both characters look considerably bulkier than Rayman's final appearance. Three screenshots of the prototype (visible to the right) are currently available, and they show early versions of the Dream Forest and the Caves of Skops. One image shows the heroes battling against an early version of Mr Skops. There are glimpses of what appear to be early versions of Antitoons, plums, flying rings, Tings, mushrooms, Big Powers and the telescopic fist.
One of the screenshots shows a heads-up display which is completely different from the one used in the final game or either of the Atari Jaguar prototypes. This display shows both characters' heads, each with their own ‘Shield’ and ‘Power’ status indicated by bars. Rayman's section of the display shows a picture of a pink crystal with the name ‘Skops’ above it, and the girl's section of the display shows a question mark where the crystal can be displayed. The ‘Shield’ bar appears to indicate the characters' health, but the function of the ‘Power’ bar and the crystals remains unknown.
With the advent of more powerful, optical disc-based games systems, the SNES version of Rayman, though nearing completion, was cancelled. The game was reworked for the newer platforms, and became the Rayman which is known today.
Answers from Michel Ancel
During a live stream of Rayman Legends, Michel Ancel replied to a question concerning the SNES version of the original Rayman. He stated that he was only in a team of two at the time the Super Nintendo version was being made, and that he was 'super excited', it being the first platform he'd ever worked on directly. It was painful and extensive procedure to build the game onto the cartridge though, and since he eventually got the full team together, the Super Nintendo couldn't do it justice.
On the 18th of October 2016, Michel Ancel posted two partial screenshots from the SNES version of the original Rayman, confirming that the game was never completed and adding that it was lost forever. However, on the 23rd he announced that a cartridge containing an early version of the game from this stage of development was found by Frédéric Houde, this cartridge was stated to have been from 1992, and managed to make it work. He then posted a photograph of a previously unseen world contained in the game. Ancel later revealed that at this stage, the game initially took place in a computer, with Rayman being one of its employees, the main villain at this point was intended to be a computer virus.
The first partial screenshot posted by Michel Ancel, not seen anywhere before.
The second partial screenshot posted by Michel Ancel, part of one of those published in Pix’N Love.
On the 3rd of July 2017, an early ROM was dumped with a short gameplay segment as previously shown by Michel Ancel. In the ROM, the player can jump and trigger animations, which will also automatically start if the player does not move. The player can also move faster and start an animation with a charging fist.
- Instagram, @michelancel, https://www.instagram.com/p/BLt6dsUgODo/, « Pixel lovers ... Did this 25 years ago , the game was playable on the Super nintendo console but was never finished + We've lost the build . All these pixels are lost , like tears in the rain ... »
- Instagram, @michelancel, https://www.instagram.com/p/BL5fSliA2bD/, « Incroyable !!!! We have found the old unique Rayman SNES ROM !!!! It was sleeping for 24 years ..... Time to wake it up !!!! »
- Instagram, @michelancel, https://www.instagram.com/p/BL_wNhGALF8/ « Rayman SNES in motion . The little ugly guy is alive after a 24 years night . This ROM might be the first one we burnt and contains very few stuff . We might find more ROM with other early prototypes . I just need to convice Fred, the coder who revealed their existence to continue the search in his vast and dangerous attic. Man, this is electronic archeology ! »
- Instagram, @michelancel, https://www.instagram.com/p/BL5f5XIAfa5/, « It's working !!!! 4 people in the world have seen this . We thought it was lost , but somewhere in the cold electronic circuit , something was still alive . and running at full 60fps !!! should do a Switch version of this 😂 »
- Instagram, @michelancel, https://www.instagram.com/p/BL_wNhGALF8, « You're right ! Original game was taking place in a computer and the big villain was a computer virus . Rayman was just an employee in this big computer »
- Twitter, @ocornut, https://twitter.com/ocornut/status/881876378056085505, « I've dumped a prototype demo of unreleased Rayman for SNES, here it is! (NB: very early dev build, not a full game) »