The valley is a significant geographical location in Rayman's world. It is located on a small island known only as Rayman's island, and the two names are sometimes used interchangeably. It is the home of Rayman's species of limbless creatures. It has been speculated that Rayman's island is part of the Archipelago which exists off the coast of the Glade of Dreams.
Several Rayman games are set within the valley. The original Rayman game, its handheld adaptation, an early 2D version of Rayman 2, the Game Boy Advance platformer version of Rayman Raving Rabbids, Rayman Bowling and Rayman 3's 2D Madness and 2D Nightmare minigames all ostensibly take place in or around the valley. In late 2009, concept art for the cancelled Rayman 4 surfaced which revealed that the developers were considering the idea of having some, if not all, of the series's fourth installment take place in the valley.
The first trailer for Rayman Origins reveals that Rayman was born in ‘the Primordial Forest’. This was the original French name for Pink Plant Woods, the first level of the original Rayman game – the name ‘Pink Plant Woods’ was invented by the translators responsible for the game's English-language localisation. Rayman Origins itself features several environments, such as the Jibberish Jungle and the Desert of Dijiridoos, which bear a strong resemblance to locations in the valley; however, the game's world map shows that they are located on a series of islands referred to as the Glade of Dreams (although it does not match the map of the same name that accompanied Rayman 2). It is not clear if these locations are intended to be part of the valley.
In the games, the valley is clearly located beside a sea or ocean, but its exact geography is not clear. However, a magazine article from approximately 1996 containing official information on the now-cancelled 2D sequel confirmed that the valley where the original game took place was indeed located on an island, saying that Mr Dark had vanished from it prior to the Robo-Pirate army's invasion. Rayman's island is not marked on the official map of the Glade of Dreams that was included with copies of Rayman 2; however, a small group of islands marked ‘Archipelago’ is shown off the mainland of the Glade, in the bottom-left corner of the map. It has been speculated that one of these islands is Rayman's island, and that the valley is located upon it. Indeed, the perch of earth from which Mr Dark observes Rayman in the original game is across a body of water from him, supporting the notion that Rayman's island is part of an archipelago.
The shape of the valley is defined by the winding course of the single river which flows through its centre. The valley contains a mixture of two distinct types of environments – the natural, and the fantastical. Its known ‘natural’ locations include the Dream Forest, the Blue Mountains, the Caves of Skops, and possibly the Dark world which forms the base of the Rabbids in their Game Boy Advance outing. Known ‘fantastical’ locations include Band Land, Picture City, the Candy Château, the Organic Cave, possibly the Temporal Palace, and the World of Toys, which overlaps with Picture City to form the Child world.
The valley is notable for being the only place in Rayman's world where other characters of Rayman's own species can be found; almost all of its inhabitants carry at least some of Rayman's distinctive visual features, such as his limblessness, his large nose, his round body, his white gloves and his frond-like hair. Natives such as the Magician and Tarayzan, as well as the Musician and his family, are all ostensibly members of Rayman's species; other characters, such as Space Mama, Betilla the Fairy, Mr Dark and Joe the Extra-Terrestrial, share some of his characteristics, but are different enough that they may or may not be considered members of the same species.
Most of those who live outside the valley do not seem to be aware of its existence; the fishermen who first found Rayman on the shore of the Sea of Lums were puzzled by his lack of limbs. However, the outsiders to the valley only came to trust Rayman once he had defeated Mr Dark, indicating that the valley and its inhabitants had become more widely-known by the time of the events of Rayman.
Rayman Origins makes some attempt to reconcile the valley's unique features with the world established in Rayman 2 and Rayman 3. Most of the returning Rayman characters were changed to fit the style of the later games; most (like Betilla) were given limbs, some (like the Magician) had their species changed, and others (like the stone men) remain almost identical to their appearance in the original game.
In other games
The Game Boy Color adaptation of the original game is quite different to the original game. While it still appears to take place in some version of the valley, it does not fit the events of the main series and presents a largely alternate take on the valley and its environments. All of the original game's levels are altered, rearranged and renamed, save for the Candy Château, which is omitted.
Rayman 3's first minigame, 2D Madness, is a flashback in which Rayman revisits the Dream Forest, complete with 3D graphics (though still on a 2D plane). Strangely, Rayman also fights Hoodlums in this level, though this is likely to be simply because the minigame is taking place in his imagination. The Nintendo GameCube version of the game adds an additional minigame, entitled 2D Nightmare. This minigame, which takes place in Picture City, has been proven to exist; however, the method by which it is meant to be unlocked is still unclear.