Rayman 4 (cancelled prototype)
|Developed by||Phoenix Studio|
|Programmed by||Gregory Corgie|
|Art by||Jean-Marie Godeau (artistic director) |
Yann Le Pon
Emeline Bellemin (character design and backgrounds)
|Release date||Planned for 2006 (cancelled)|
|Platforms||Sony PlayStation 2, Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation Portable, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Wii|
Rayman 4 is an unreleased 3D platform game developed for Ubisoft by Phoenix Studio. Had it not been cancelled, Rayman 4 would have been the first game in the main Rayman series not to be developed by the Ubisoft Montpellier studio.
The project had its beginnings in 2005, when concept art was created for various environments and characters. The story is largely unknown, but an early draft may have existed at this point. An unknown amount of programming, modelling, texturing and special effects creation was carried out during the pre-production of the game. The project was discontinued after four months of development.
Most of what is known about Phoenix's Rayman 4 comes from early artwork, which has been leaked gradually in the years since the game's cancellation. It depicts much more surreal and colourful environments than those which were seen in early Rayman Raving Rabbids images and trailers; many of these Rayman 4 environments were 3D recreations of areas from the original Rayman game.
In May 2006, Ubisoft unveiled Rayman Raving Rabbids, a new 3D platformer being developed by Ubisoft Montpellier under the direction of series creator Michel Ancel. There has been much confusion regarding the relationship of these games, since Rayman 4 was also the working title of Rayman Raving Rabbids. This confusion was furthered by the Game Boy Advance version of Rayman Raving Rabbids, which incorporated aspects of both cancelled games. Since the cancellation of Phoenix's Rayman 4 was followed quickly by the development of Ubisoft Montpellier's Rayman 4, there may have been some connection between the two, but this remains unconfirmed.
The plot of Rayman 4 is mostly unknown, though some story elements have been leaked to the public. The game is said to have been based around the idea of Rayman partaking in a training camp for video game heroes where he could interact with other Ubisoft characters including The Prince of Persia's titular character and Jade of Beyond Good and Evil. Dark Rayman was set to make an appearance, not in person but rather to be portrayed as a glitch in the program; a corrupt part of the game bent on taking revenge on the characters. It appears that the game was to be a reboot/retelling of the original Rayman game, and would have involved Rayman revisiting numerous locations from the original game recreated in 3D and to a high level of accuracy. This contrasts with Rayman Origins, where the heroes explore locations based on the same themes as those of the original game, but with distinct differences; for example, the Desert of Dijiridoos is evidently based on Band Land, but is clearly not the same place.
One piece of Rayman 4 artwork shows Rayman standing in a vast, cathedral-like area, decorated with stained-glass windows and statues which depict 'Dark Rayman'. It could be speculated that this was to be the location for an encounter or battle with Dark Rayman.
Little is know about the gameplay of Rayman 4, but the concept artwork makes it clear that it was intended to be a 3D platformer and screenshots from the development build seem to point toward gameplay being similar to that of Rayman 3. Phoenix had planned to make the game slightly easier than earlier installments to increase the mass appeal of the series, having said in their design documents that "100% of players should be able to finish it".
It seems that one of the game's key features was Rayman's transformation into various guises, each one granting a unique power. Concept art shows Rayman in various forms: regular Rayman, mime Rayman, chewing-gum Rayman, bubble Rayman, invisible Rayman, hedgehog Rayman, super helicopter Rayman, ghost Rayman, torch Rayman, Bigfoot Rayman, and boxing Rayman. These forms contrast with the costumes seen in Rayman 3, as it seems that Rayman would have gained powers by undergoing physical transformations rather than donning new gear. It is unknown which of these power ideas would have survived to the final stage of the game's development.
- The Village
- Unnamed forest
- Band Land
- Picture City
- The World of Toys
- Candy Ltd
- Fortress of Sand
- The Temporal Palace
- The Zoorigami
- The Organic Cavern
- The Space Pinball
- Unnamed lair of Dark Rayman
- Rayman Land
- The World-Tree
Guillaume Bonamy concept art
In 2009, several pieces of artwork from 2005 were published on videogame concept artist Guillaume Bonamy's portfolio. They feature three-dimensional versions of Band Land and Picture City, as well as new environments called le Palais Temporel (the Temporal Palace), le Monde Organique (the Organic World) and an unnamed world of toys. While the latter two new environments were eventually adapted for the Game Boy Advance version of Rayman Raving Rabbids, the Temporal Palace was seemingly abandoned.
Yann Le Pon–Emeline Bellemin–Jean-Marie Godeau concept art
In 2012, several pieces of Rayman 4 artwork were posted on the portfolio of concept artist Emeline Bellemin. These images, which were drawn by artist Yann Le Pon and coloured by Bellemin, showed further illustrations of the three-dimensional Picture City, as well as images of the Organic Cavern and several new environments. Other images have been posted on the site of Jean-Marie Godeau, the game's artistic director.
Unnamed lair of Dark Rayman.
In the book L'Histoire de Rayman, it was revealed that the Robo-Pirates and Livingstones were planned to return in Rayman 4. There is also concept art of a young human girl named Cielle who was intended to appear in the game. It is unknown what her role was to be in the game or if she was intended to be playable.
In April 2021, a former employee of the now defunct game studio Phoenix Interactive/Phoenix Studio (not to be confused with Phoenix Interactive Entertainment), the studio that worked on the original Rayman 4 prototype, released some animations tests that they worked on for the project. The animations can be seen here.
- Jean-Marie Godeau's website
- Guillaume Bonamy Portfolio
- Emeline Bellemin at blogspot.com
- Yan Le Pon at blogspot.com
- LinkedIn, Gregory Corgie - France, http://fr.linkedin.com/pub/gregory-corgie/6/3a1/b34
- LinkedIn, Yan Le Pon - France, http://fr.linkedin.com/pub/yan-le-pon/42/a5/362
- Blogspot.com, Yan Le Pon - France, http://yan-board.blogspot.com/2008/10/oldies-but-goodies-part-10.html
- Rayman 4, Unseen64, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CvVT8cWWUY