In the midst of Ubisoft's press conference reveal of Rayman Origins, the company's Ubiart blog (the "collective of artists" developing the game) posted a brief Q&A providing more detail about the game's release. Specifically, the Q&A revealed that Rayman Origins will be a downloadable episodic release, rather than the full retail product like previous Rayman platofrmers.
The developers aren't saying how many episodes will be released, how long an individual episode will take to complete, or the amount of time separating each episode. However, the Q&A does reveal that the development team wants each part of Rayman Origins to abide by a "golden rule."
...the size of each episode and its replayability must be important enough to make the players feel … fulfilled.
== TEASER ==The Q&A extols the virtues of episodic development, claiming that this format allows the team to "imagine a longer and more developed saga than with a more 'classical' format." The Q&A also explains that this format allows them to charge less money for their games (as anyone whose paid $35 for a five-episode Sam and Max season can attest to). However, the Ubiart team wants the first episode of Rayman Origins to be "biiiiiig." Look how many times the letter "I" appears in the word big! And that's a direct quote from the Q&A! The size of that first episode must be ridiculous.
The other interesting tidbit revealed in the Q&A is that the team hopes to have that first "biiiiiig" episode of Rayman Origins launched this year on "HD consoles." No specific console is actually mentioned, which seems like a very peculiar way to announce your game's platforms. As Ubisoft says in the Q&A:
Why in full HD?
Simply because the game already runs in this incredible image format and this really highlights the artist’s work. This doesn’t prevent us from thinking about other consoles but we are a small team so we need to set priorities.
While the phrasing seems designed to not commit to any decision one way or the other, the Q&A sure makes it sound like that Rayman Origins is, for the foreseeable future, coming to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 but not the Wii. We'll know for sure when (and if!) the downloadable game is released later this year.
With its gorgeous art and upbeat silliness, Rayman Origins was one of my favorite surprises of this E3, a standout in a year that was (surprisingly!) chock-a-block with 2D platformers. However, I'm not convinced that a 2D platformer is the right genre for an episodic release, that people will want to come back and play new levels for a game that isn't mechanically changing from episode to episode. I guess we'll see how well Sonic 4 does.
How do you folks feel about episodic platformers? Can the genre that brought us Mario and Sonic work and be entertaining in more smaller, more manageable, cheaper installments? What does a platformer have to do to keep consumers coming back to the game month after month, throughout the entirety of a game's season?