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Michel Ancel: Working on Wii U Provided the "Main Excitement" for Rayman Legends

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

"Perhaps people are not as fast" to grasp Nintendo's innovation

Michel Ancel is a vital creative leader at Ubisoft, and enjoys a level of popularity with some fans not always reserved for his employers. He's also the project leader for Rayman Legends, the former Wii U exclusive that's endured delays in order to accommodate a multi-platform release; that extra time was used to produce additional content.

Ancel recently sat down with for a chat, during which he addressed some important topics related to Legends and its route to the market. For one thing, he was honest and said his perceived support for #FreeRayman earlier in the year wasn't a clear attempt at dissent against his employers, admitting that it seemed like a fun idea that snowballed into a wider issue.

In terms of the Wii U, Ancel made it clear that when development extended for the wider release, the instruction came from above that all additional progress was to be included on the Wii U. Nintendo's system was the creative inspiration behind the project's initial steps, of course, and Ancel believes that the Wii U's challenges are related to making the message clear, and also allowing for consumers to essentially catch-up with the innovation of the system's setup, something that he relates to the DS.

When the Wii U version was finished] could have said 'stop the Wii U version and only develop content for Xbox 360 and PS3. But the message was 'we will continue to Wii U, adding content to Wii U', and the main excitement that we had for that particular game was working on the Wii U, working with Nintendo. Work with development kits, discovering the Wii U... so we went with that positive energy to the end.

The thing with the Wii U is that is not easy for the mass market to understand what's cool inside of it.

I see it at home, when people say 'look, we have that console, it has a touch screen (which looks like a big smartphone or a tablet)' ... and people don't directly connect all these things as a system and see the fun... it takes time... That is the risk when you innovate: perhaps people are not as fast as you.

We recommend checking out the full video interview over on, and let us know what you think of these comments below.

Thanks to David Caballero for getting in touch.


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User Comments (17)



smashbrolink said:

That's how it was with the 3DS, too.
I'm sure the Wii U is going to start picking up in sales very quickly very soon.
Heck, Japan is already seeing a boost thanks to Pikmin 3.



GreatPlayer said:

I don't think even Nintendo knows how creative the idea is, and thus it need Ubisoft to implement the ideas in Rayman Legends and explain it to the public (which is ridiculous). Even Nintendo games themselves do not creatively used the gamepad.



Warbeard said:

He lost a bit of his popularity with me when he didn't want to make Beyond Good and Evil 2 for Wii U



Warbeard said:

@GreatPlayer no, so far the uses of the GamePad have been disappointingly simple. I hope that asymmetric multiplayer is where it will shine in some near future!



Shworange said:

I agree with him in that it's not easy for the masses to click with why a game pad is great. When we have people over, they always ask about it. Two hours later, they get it and love it. I love when functional, creative uses for the game pad are employed by developers. With that said, when showing the system to new users, they love simply having inventories on the gamepad, or streaming full games to it as well! All of this needs to be highlighted in advertising, but for whatever reason Nintendo just doesn't bother featuring the benefits on ads. A big miss for sure.



Marshi said:

When I say to my friends I have a wiiu with a touchscreen on the pad,almost all of them laughed or dismissed nintendo's gamepad as "gimicky" or at worsed garbage. However when they came to see the wiiu and I brought the gamepad out of the living room and into the kitchen,and showed them assassins creed 3 and batman running solely on the gamepad their mouths dropped.Now alot of my friends own a wiiu...
So the answer to boosting popularity is simple,get reps into stores and get them to show potential buyers just what the wiiu is capable of.Seeing is believing guys



dumedum said:

"That is the risk when you innovate: perhaps people are not as fast as you" is a wonderful quote. Nice Wii U praise by Ubisoft.



Shambo said:

At new year's evening, all it took was a game of Puddle. Really. We just talked and drank, had a blast, and passed the gamepad to beat each others high scores. And that's not even the gamepad at its best! Tilting it was enough to see the fun.



jrob23 said:

Hopefully for Wii U owners, when the reviews come up for this game, the Wii U version will get a higher score and maybe help with sales. But knowing IGN and will get the same score despite being the definitive version with its unique gamepad capabilities and better graphics. But mark my words. It won't. Sites like IGN hate Nintendo.



TruenoGT said:

I think Nintendoland demonstrates the magic of the gamepad very well, the system is just not nearly as accessible as the Wii. My sister commented upon seeing the Wii U for the first time, "all those control options make it look really complicated" and it immediately made her withdraw. This is coming from someone who owns a Wii and has gamed casually since the NES and is an iPhone/iPad power user.

The gamepad intimidates all but dedicated gamers in my experience, and dedicated gamers care more about games that use the innovation rather than the novelty of it. Since there are still only a few compelling games that demonstrate Wii U effectively, it makes sense where we are support wise.

I still think it's the console with the most potential by far, but potential doesn't cut it when there's so much competition. Hope this fall turns more devs into believers!



hYdeks said:

It will still probably be a great game, but I still stand by it should have been sold in February for Wii U only, it would have been a system seller AND would have sold alot of units. Now that it's coming in September, it's coming out too close to so many must have games, people are now pushing this game aside for later in favour of the other games. Going multi-platform, I don't think, is helping it get more sales.



Nintenjoe64 said:

What annoys me most of all is that 2 player, asymmetrical or not, is amazing on the Wii U and nobody is even trying to give us the games that would do it justice. Every action adventure with online coop would be more fun sitting in a room with a friend.



Haywired said:

Yeah, whenever I've played the Wii U with others the most common thing you'll hear is "what screen am I supposed to be looking at?" It just isn't as accessible or intuitive for casual gamers (and at the other end, doesn't seem to be very interesting to hardcore gamers).



mercurio2054 said:

Imagine Eternal Darkness with the game pad, changing the channel, the volume and turning of and on the TV!!!
will not be an emulation like the Game Cube!



AVahne said:

It's funny, my sister doesn't even game that much but the concept of Wii U clicked almost instantly with her. It was probably all the Harvest Moon games that she played on DS.
I guess people these days are just mentally slow when it comes to gaming.



GreatPlayer said:

@Warbeard Asymmetric gameplay is only for multiplayer game, not complicated first-player game. That is the dilemma - if Nintendo emphasizes assymmetric gameplay it will alienate main-stream gamers and repeat the same trend as Wii does.

Perhaps that is why I do not like Nintendoland - it is just a collection of games rather than a provision of an unified gaming experience. The level design of Mario U is also simpler than old mario games, probably because Nintendo want a simpler screen to satisfy multiplayer in sacrifice to complicated gaming.

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