- "Rayman" redirects here. For other uses, see Rayman (disambiguation).
Rayman is the main protagonist of the video game series of the same name. Rayman was originally created in the early 1990s by French video game developer Michel Ancel. The character made his debut in the original Rayman game, published by Ubisoft in 1995. With his trademark lack of limbs and helicopter hair, Rayman has become a popular and recognisable video game character, and the series has continued to grow and develop across numerous platforms up to the present day.
Long ago, the Primordial Forest, deep and mysterious, witnessed the birth of a man... a vegetable... no, no, no: a thingamajig. Conjured from the magnificent moonbeams of the second summer solstice, woven together by us, the nymphs, destined to preserve the equilibrium of the sacred universe, the one we call: Rayman!
Rayman was originally designed to simply be an athletic character with a full body, but because of complications rendering on game consoles, he was left without arms, legs and a neck – his hands, feet and head float around his body. The manual of Rayman Origins gives out a new explanation for Rayman's limblessness: the lack of Lums had the consequence of preventing the creation of his limbs. He has a huge round nose, and strawberry-blonde hair which he divides into two fronds (three in the original game). He has the ability to use his hair as a helicopter, which lets him glide across large spaces and make soft landings. His eyes are dark blue in colour, though in most official artwork they are coloured black; two pictures in the original game showed him with lighter blue eyes. While Rayman is unique in most of the games, other members of his unknown species are seen in the original game, notably the Magician, Tarayzan, the Musician and the Musician's wife and child.
Rayman is almost always seen in white gloves and a purple torso with a mysterious white ring on the chest, through which he gains new powers from Betilla the Fairy. The symbol can also absorb the Silver Lums created by the fairies, and magically open the pillars containing the Four Masks of Polokus in Rayman 2. Up until Rayman 3, he wore a red neckerchief, which was then replaced with a red hood. He also wears shoes that are typically yellow and white, though the actual designs have changed throughout the series. Rayman Raving Rabbids is where he is seen wearing different clothing that has raised a few questions about his ‘limblessness’, as he sometimes looks as if he has knees, such as the disco costume with its trousers/pants. In Rayman Origins, his Rayman 3 attire was used, but his hood and shoes are a little different. In Rayman Adventures, he wears a new attire. He wears a red bandanna around his hair, a sleeveless brown coat unbuttoned around the bottom alongside his red hood, revealing a white shirt, and has a brown belt around his waist with a gold buckle. His gloves are now brown and fingerless, and his shoes are the same kind Assassin Ray wears.
Rayman, as he appears in the original Rayman game.
Rayman, as he appears in Rayman 2.
Rayman, as he appears in Rayman 3.
Rayman, as he appears in Rayman Origins.
Rayman, as he appears in Rayman Legends.
Rayman is a very laid-back character, as he is often seen snoozing either on a hammock or up against a tree, but he is also very athletic and shows great gymnastic skills (able to scale wall sides, and in the Game Boy Advance version of Rayman 3 he is able to do a "body shot", kick enemies and can do monkey bars), especially since being given the power to run in the original game, and then get noticeably better from Rayman 2. He is also strong enough to carry things such as baby Globoxes, Magic Spheres, plums and kegs. He can run while carrying an object in Rayman Revolution if he purchases an optional upgrade at the Magic Well. Rayman is also right-handed. Some of Rayman's gymnastic skills include handstands, somersaults and back flips.
Rayman begins as a very poor swimmer; in the original game, he loses a life the instant he falls into any body of liquid. By the time of Rayman 2, he has developed this new skill – although all he can do in this game is a simple dog-paddle. In Rayman Revolution, he is taught to swim by Murfy and a baby Globox at the beginning of the game. In Rayman 3, he is a far more capable swimmer; he can now use his helicopter hair to propel himself through the water, he can perform athletic underwater backflips, and he no longer seems to require any Blue Lums or air bubbles to breathe beneath the surface. In both Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends, he can swim without needing any air like in Rayman 2, and without use of his helicopter hair like in Rayman 3.
Rayman also appears to like several sports, such as basketball. In Rayman 2 he will sometimes take his body off and play with it like a basketball whenever he is left idle. Also, in the Game Boy Advance version of Rayman 3 if the player decided to continue at the "Game Over" screen, Rayman would throw his body through a basketball net and catch it. In Rayman 3 he seems to also show interest in football, as when he is left idle, he kicks his body around and can also kick turtles and plums. Other sports that Rayman appears to like are golf, bowling and karting, as Rayman Golf, Rayman Bowling and Rayman Kart suggest. One of Rayman's hobbies is painting, which was revealed at a later point in the original game and in Rayman Junior.
Rayman's true personality is not explored deeply in the series, though most of the time he is a cheerful character with a good sense of humour. He is also very helpful, and is willing to take on whatever challenges face him for the sake of the safety and harmony of his world. Sometimes he can be a little childish, especially in the original game, as he often pulls grimaces as a form of defence. According to the now defunct Rayman's World website, he is brave, funny and also highly close to nature. In one interview, developer Natalie Paccard discusses the development of Rayman's personality between the two games: 'the original Rayman was a platform game, Rayman 2 is an action game. The universe has also evolved a lot, and so has the character. Rayman 2 is a bit older, able to do more things, and loves a good fight. He is less childish. The game itself includes more action and more tricks.’ In later games, Rayman becomes somewhat self-absorbed, especially in Rayman Raving Rabbids, as the Rabbids start to treat him like a celebrity during his captivity, though he is seen remembering and worrying about the baby Globoxes that he left behind. That however seems to be put behind him as the Rabbids continue to harass him in Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party. It is revealed through interviews with Michel Ancel that Rayman was meant to be a bit of a show-off who does not take himself too seriously. This aspect of the character was supposedly overlooked during Rayman 2 because of Ubisoft's focus on the environments of the game. It was in Rayman 3 that Ubisoft tried to show Rayman's true personality, giving him an updated look to match his newfound attitude and charisma. A Rayman 3 press release stated that ‘Like his core gaming audience, Rayman as a character has matured and now has a wilder edge, only hinted at in the earlier games.’
However, in Rayman Origins, Rayman seems to have recovered part of his childish personality; he bears a more joyful, careless and impulsive attitude, though he keeps the heroic spirit that characterized him in previous games. While the trailers and other commercial media described him as a "New Crazy", Michel Ancel explains Rayman and Globox's personality: 'They're the kind of characters who look... stupid, really, but they're not stupid, just simple. And all they really want to do is just focus on doing their job, no matter what.' When Rayman Origins was still developed as a prequel, the newborn Rayman was intended to bear a more immature, confused and unintelligent personality, blowing Betilla's skirt with his propeller hair and annoying the magic people; the game was initially focused on Rayman and Globox's personalities and how they evolved over time to become the heroes of the Glade of Dreams; the concept was changed when the game became a sequel.
Rayman is the creation of French video game developer Michel Ancel, who was born in 1972. Around 1980, the eight-year-old Ancel began playing video games. Five years later, he began to create his own simple logic games, featuring characters that he invented himself. He often sketched character concepts on table corners, and around 1992, he came up with his favourite character so far: Rayman. Ancel left Rayman without any arms, legs or neck, making the character very easy to animate, as well as opening up unique gameplay possibilities, such as the telescopic fist. Ancel worked as a graphic artist and programmer on a string of Lankhor and Ubi Soft games in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 1992, he and a small team of developers began production on a Super Nintendo game starring his Rayman character. Eventually it was decided to scrap this project, and rework it into an Atari Jaguar game, which was eventually released in 1995. By the end of the game's development cycle, the team had grown to contain dozens of members.
A number of interviews with Ubisoft developers were posted on official websites in the period leading up to the release of Rayman 2. In one interview, Rayman creator Michel Ancel revealed the inspirations behind the character. He states Rayman 2 was inspired by Russian, Chinese and Celtic stories that he read as a child. These elements form the ‘fantastic background’ which comprises the Glade of Dreams, but ‘a more contemporary and cartoonish touch’ has been added. Ancel goes on to say that the concept of the game's world is similar to that of The Dark Crystal, which shares ‘its magic and its Celtic universe’. The cartoonish aspects were inspired by the works of Tex Avery. Ancel states that ‘Rayman is a true high-performance hero who keeps a good sense of humour like Indiana Jones. Rayman is a rebel, fighting against mighty bad guys like in Star Wars or Robin Hood’. This suggests that the villains of Ancel's Rayman games – Mr Dark and Admiral Razorbeard – may have been inspired by the likes of Darth Vader and the Sheriff of Nottingham. The character of Indiana Jones is also referenced by Rayman's co-creator Frédéric Houde and the original game co-designer Serge Hascoët. According to a 2011 interview with the director of the Pix'n Love magazine (which has published numerous Rayman-related articles), Ancel took the name ‘Rayman’ from the ray-tracing software which Ubisoft happened to be using during the development of the original game.
Several conflicting accounts have been given for Rayman's origins. During the development of the original game, the developers considered a story in which a ten-year-old boy named Jimmy created a world called Hereitscool inside his computer, and became Rayman once he was sucked into it. This idea was quickly abandoned. When the original game was released in 1995, Rayman's backstory was left ambiguous, although he already appears to be an established hero within his world by the beginning of the game. The manual states that he is "the guardian of this world". The manual of Rayman 2 does however contain a different account of Rayman's origins. It tells of Rayman's first appearance in the Glade of Dreams, sometime before the events of the original game. In this version of the story, he is discovered by fishermen, who for some reason does not seem to have encountered his species before.
Rayman is a unique character of unknown origin.
No wise man or magician can say by what twist of fate or whim of the gods Rayman came to appear at the Glade of Dreams.
All we know of him comes from the fishermen on the Sea of Lums. After a particularly stormy night they found him sleeping peacefully in the shade of a palm tree. Frightened by this strange creature from the sea, they called on the people of the forest, the skies and the waters for help. And the sun had not yet reached the zenith when a host of beings, each one more bizarre than the next, came tumbling over the violet sand dunes. They watched him for a long time. “What kind of a man can he be who has neither legs nor arms?”, they asked one another. “Can he possibly be alive?” wondered one of them when Rayman stretched and yawned loudly.
It didn't take Rayman long to convince the people of the Glade of Dreams of his good intentions. His energy and good humour, his fantastical powers and love of life and nature won over even the most distrustful of creatures. And when he triumphed over the evil Mister Dark, the truth was undeniable: Rayman was the bravest of them all, the ideal hero, the man for whom friendship and laughter are more important than anything else, for whom the greatest victory is measured by the extent of the celebrations that follow it.—Manual, Rayman 2
A revised origin story for Rayman was revealed at the E3 expo of 2010, when Ubisoft showed a trailer for the upcoming game Rayman Origins. The trailer showed the creation of Rayman by Betilla the Fairy. At this point in its development, Rayman Origins was intended as a two-player episodic downloadable prequel to the series, but it was eventually retooled into a four-player sequel with a retail release. A final, slightly modified version of Rayman's origin story was eventually offered on the official Rayman Origins website in November 2011, and can also be found in the game's manual.
When the Creator had his very first bad dream, the nymphs gathered to invoke a being of light capable of saving our world: a creature both agile and carefree, as tenacious as he is hilarious, destined to crack up the Creator with his heroic antics and stop the nightmare!
Unfortunately, although not surprisingly, our bedazzling and bodacious nymphs were distracted by some zombie chickens on their way to the sacred snoring grounds of the Bubble Dreamer, and they lost a sack of lums chasing the crazy creatures over a cliff. Thus, they arrived late and with a lot less illumination.
In the end, Rayman was born with a few missing limbs, which as it turned out, made him a whole lot more limber!—Official site, Rayman Origins
It is not specified whether this story is intended to replace or complement the one from the Rayman 2 manual.
The PlayStation Vita version of the game contains two mosaics which can be viewed when the player collects enough relics. One of these mosaics tells a story about Rayman's past. Long ago, Rayman was completely bald, and had a wife or girlfriend of his own species. One night, as they slept together in a forest, a colony of tiny blonde hair creatures crept up on Rayman and fused themselves into his head. Rayman's female companion, frightened by this strange turn of events, attempted to cut Rayman's hair with a pair of scissors. The terrified hairs pulled at Rayman's head, forcing him to flee, and he fell over the edge of a cliff, apparently to his doom; however, he was saved by his new hair, which gave him the ability to fly like a helicopter.
In Rayman and its spin-offs
Rayman makes his first appearance in the original game where he at the start can be seen sleeping in a hammock. He answers the Magician, who asks him to rescue the Electoons, with a simple "No problem". He can then directly afterwards be seen in the Dream Forest on the map, through the eyes of Mr Dark who is watching him as he makes his way closer to his hideout in Candy Château. In the manual he is referred to as "the guardian of this world". Throughout the game he will come across several other characters of his species, such as Tarayzan and the Musician. Each time after having defeated a boss he will perform a victory dance. The only exception is after having defeated Bzzit, where he comes up and befriends him instead once he sees him crying.
In the final level, Mr Dark's Dare, Mr Dark can be seen summoning Bad Rayman, an evil clone who follows Rayman's every step. It is unknown if this is simply a creation by Mr Dark, or an actual living creature of Rayman's species.
Rayman as seen in the intro of the original Rayman game.
Rayman receives new powers from Betilla.
Rayman and his friends from the original game.
Rayman appears again in Rayman Designer with the same role as in the original game. Here he also appears as an event in the event editor. The placement of the Rayman event decides where the player starts when entering the level. The Rayman event has to be places in order to play the level. This is the only event which can only be placed once. Selecting it again will result in the cursor showing Rayman's head only.
The Rayman event being selected a second time.
Rayman appears as the main character in the educational spin-off English with Rayman where he is called up by the Magician to learn the English language, so that he can help him read his letter he received from his cousin Andrew. Throughout the course of the game, Rayman will be set with several questions to help improve his English skills.
In the Game Boy Color version of Rayman, Rayman can be seen sleeping again, this time next to a tree. He is this time woken up by a group of Tings, who are said to be fairies in this game. Once again Bad Rayman makes an appearance near the end of the game.
In Rayman 2
In Rayman 2, Rayman is seen imprisoned on the Buccaneer during the opening sequence. He is however quickly rescued by Globox, who has hidden a Silver Lum in his mouth. Upon collecting it, Rayman regains his power to shoot with his fist, and escapes together with Globox. They however get separated in the escape, and Rayman ends up in the Woods of Light where he rescues the Teensies. They tell him that Ly is held prisoner in the Fairy Glade, and take him to the Hall of Doors, from which he can travel to other locations through Spiral Doors. He frees Ly, who reveals that he will need to reunite the four masks to reawaken Polokus to have a chance to defeat the pirates. He then sets out on a quest to do so, while also freeing some of his friends, like Clark and Carmen, along the way.
In the end he makes it to the Prison Ship where he defeats the pirate leader Admiral Razorbeard in a battle. However, before escaping, Razorbeard sets his robot the Grolgoth on auto-destruct, causing the entire ship to blow up. Rayman's friends presume that he didn't make it out in time as they only found one of his shoes, but shortly after he can be seen coming on a crutch, showing that he survived the blast.
When Rayman 2 was released in Japan, Rayman's purple clothes and the stripes on Ly's suit were changed to blue, because it was believed that purple was the color of death in Japan. Purple, however, traditionally represents the aristocratic class in Japanese culture. This belief may have stemmed from the practice of Thai widows to wear purple when in mourning. Rayman 2 is also the only Rayman game where this sort of change was made in the Japanese localization.
This is also the only game where he speaks Raymanian.
In Rayman M, as well as Rayman Arena and Rayman Rush, Rayman is a default character who is unlocked from the start. In the GameCube and Xbox versions of Rayman Arena, there is one skin available for Rayman.
The manual for the GameCube and Xbox versions of Rayman Arena offers the following description of Rayman:
Profession: Legendary Hero.
Likes: His friends, jogging in the morning, and fighting evil.
Dislikes: The bad guys, people stepping on his feet, and being bored.
Address: Wherever he's needed.
In Rayman 3 and its spin-offs
Rayman no longer needs an introduction. He’s already been top of the bill in the 2 previous episodes. Nowadays, he’s a big star, even if he doesn’t exactly behave like one. He’s always taking naps and larking around with his pals – a fine example for the youth of today!—Manual, Rayman 3
In Rayman 3, Rayman can once again be seen sleeping at the beginning of the game. Unlike the previous games, he is not so easily woken up this time, and when Murfy comes to warn him and Globox about the Hoodlums, Murfy is forced to pick Rayman up and fly away with him before he wakes up. But right before Murfy flew away with Rayman, Globox accidentally took off his gloves (hands) before making his own escape. Rayman and Murfy soon enough meet up with Globox again where Rayman can get his gloves back. During several later occasions in the game, one of Rayman's shoes will start moving away, with Rayman shrinking into his other shoe to pursue it. Rayman is also able to use Laser-Washing Powders to gain new temporary abilities, such as the Vortex.
The limbless hero of our story was just in the mood for a little R&R. But the malicious Hoodlum masses never stay down for long, so it's up to our good friend Rayman to once again save the day, rescue the Teensies, and remind his best buddy Globox that "Boulders aren't for eating!".—Manual, Rayman: Hoodlums' Revenge
Rayman, as he appears in Rayman: Hoodlums' Revenge.
Rayman using the Throttle Copter.
Rayman using the Heavy Metal Fist.
In Rayman Raving Rabbids and its spin-offs
Rayman was taken by surprise by this invasion from within. What do the Rabbids intend to do? It's hard to say. But now they're everywhere and their atypical psyches make them formidable and unpredictable oppenents.—Manual, Rayman Raving Rabbids
In Rayman Raving Rabbids, Rayman and a few baby Globoxes get captured by the Rabbids, who force Rayman to participate in several activities to entertain them. In the game, Rayman has a wide range of costumes to choose between.
Rayman with no costumes on.
The Dee-Jay costume.
The Disco costume.
The Gangsta costume.
The Granny costume.
In the Game Boy Advance version of Rayman Raving Rabbids, Rayman is put in a prison cell by the Rabbids who have also stolen his fists. Murfy then appears and rescues him along with giving him back his fists. Throughout the game, Rayman is given new costumes from Ly which each hold a new special power.
In the Nintendo DS version of Rayman Raving Rabbids, Rayman is once again captured by the Rabbids and forced to participate in certain activities. He can also use costumes to his advantage in certain stages.
Rayman in the intro of the Nintendo DS version of Rayman Raving Rabbids.
Rayman in his Granny costume.
In Rayman Kart
Rayman is a playable character in Rayman Kart.
In Rayman Origins and its spin-offs
Hey Rayman! Welcome back! Was I having a bad dream again? Well, you're here now, so no worries...RIGHT. Still no limbs, eh?! Well, the nymphs will get their act together eventually...! Less bones to break I say! At least they remembered the funny bone! Laugh till it hurts!
In Rayman Origins, Rayman can be seen together with his friends, eating on top of the Snoring Tree. The noise he and his friends make disturbs the inhabitants of the Land of the Livid Dead so badly that they lock them up in cages. Rayman is however quick to escape.
Rayman is the default playable character in Rayman Jungle Run. He can be seen playing a ukulele on the title screen.
In Rayman Legends and its spin-offs
This limbless hero from the Glade of Dreams is always raring for a fresh adventure to save the world!
Rayman is the default playable character in Rayman Fiesta Run.
This outdoor adventurer is one with nature and likes to spend his time exploring the Glade of Dreams in search of eggs, unless, of course, it starts raining.—In-game description, Rayman Adventures
Classic Rayman's Twitter sharing photo in Rayman Adventures.
Rayman's Twitter sharing photo in Rayman Adventures.
A character dressed as Rayman makes a cameo appearance in both the credits of Tonic Trouble and the Ski Slope level. Rayman also makes a cameo in the Ubisoft title Academy of Champions, in which he is part of the Ubisoft team which features characters from other Ubisoft franchises such as Beyond Good and Evil, Splinter Cell, Prince of Persia and Assassin's Creed. In this team, Rayman is the goalkeeper. A hat based on Rayman's head is also available from the game's item shop. In the Ubisoft game UNO, there's also a Rayman themed DLC. Rayman also appears in Brawlhalla as a fighter, and in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a Neutral-Type Primary Spirit.
- Due to a reaction during an activity in Rayman Premier Clics and due to the cover picture in a Joystick's magazine about Rayman 3, it is presumed that Rayman loves chocolate.
- Rayman can play the harmonica and the ukulele, as shown in Rayman Activity Centre and Rayman Jungle Run respectively.
- With the exception of the third volume, Rayman makes a cameo appearance in all volumes of Thitaume and Pujol's Rabbids comic books.
- Rayman was parodied in a comic strip in the second volume of Joueur du Grenier, with the main character being dressed like him. The joke poked fun at the limbless attributes of Rayman.
- Despite not having a neck, Rayman is still able to eat and swallow. This is seen in the opening cutscene of Rayman Origins.
- Rayman was about to have legs again during the development of Rayman 3, but the idea was quickly put aside.
- In Rayman Legends, it seems that Rayman did not age at all after the 100 years nap; the same goes for every other character returning from Rayman Origins.
- However, his voice clips have changed from Rayman Origins.
- Rayman, Globox and Barbara appear as collectible trophies in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, with models supplied by Ubisoft.
- A recurring gag is that Rayman ( sometimes with his friends) is always seen sleeping in the beginning of every main game, with the exception of Rayman 2.
Names in other languages
- YouTube, Rayman Origins - Rayman's Story - Vita Relics Cutscene, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHxD0dCB3aQ
- Rayman2.com (via archive.org), Romantic Wall Paper, http://web.archive.org/web/20000106193852/http://www.rayman2.com/en/goodies/goodies_wallpapers1.html
- Behind Rayman 2, IGN
- http://academyofchampions.uk.ubi.com/the-game/players/ Rayman in Academy of Champions
- L'Histoire de Rayman, Chapter 4 - Rayman 3 : Hoodlum Havoc, Rayman without Michel Ancel