The cancelled Rayman 4 prototype that you've never heard of
The original platformer version of Rayman Raving Rabbids wasn't the only canceled Rayman 3D platformer. Another, highly creative one was in development, but was unfortunately canceled. Now all that remains is some concept art of the Rayman game that will never be.
My first video game console was the Nintendo 64, and to this day it is still one of my favorites. Classics like Banjo-Kazooie, Kirby 64, Donkey Kong 64, Rocket: Robot on Wheels, and even the Gex series are games from a bygone era I will always enjoy. One such gem from that time period was Rayman 2: The Great Escape, a multi-platform title that released in 1999 that, years later, is still one of the best platformers ever made.
Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, released in 2003, was also a very well made game, although its story wasn't quite on par with its predecessor. Rayman: Raving Rabbids, released in 2006, was originally conceived as the fourth Rayman game, but was unfortunately turned into a collection of mini-games that, while creative, couldn't hold a candle to its predecessors. What most people don't know, however, is that there were other plans for a fourth Rayman game. These plans, though highly creative, were never realized into an actual game.
The game, simply titled Rayman 4, it would have been developed by Phoenix Interactive Entertainment, and already had some work started on it before its cancelation. The game would have been a 3D platformer like the previous 2 Rayman games, and would have featured environments from the very first Rayman, rendered in 3D, such as Band Land. Original levels were highly creative, as to be expected in a Rayman game. One such world was the Zoorigami level, which took place in a zoo full of living origami animals.
Other level ideas included, among others, a giant candy factory with candy eating robots, a space pinball level, a fortress of sand comprised of a giant sand castle, and a cathedral like level that belonged to Dark Rayman, indicating he was to be a villain in the game.
Aside from the inclusion of Dark Rayman as a possible protagonist, virtually nothing is known of what the story would have been about. One gameplay feature that was planned was the ability for Rayman to change costumes, gaining new powers with each, a similar idea that was also planned for the original platformer version of Raving Rabbids. The costume ideas were: regular, mime, chewing-gum, bubble, invisible, hedgehog, super helicoptor, ghost, torch, bigfoot, and boxing. Whether all or only a few of these ideas would have been included in the final project is unknown.
It is unfortunate that the game was scrapped, as the ideas considered for the game were highly original and there was plenty of potential for an amazing game. Sadly, both this and the original plans for Raving Rabbids would have been better than the mini-game collection that was released, but for whatever the reason, Ubisoft decided otherwise.
I would like to take this moment to give credit where credit is due, and mention that the concept art provided in this article was created by Guillaume Bonamy. I'd also like to give credit to the Rayman wiki, as it is there that I first learned of this game. I'll include a link to the official page for the game on the Rayman wiki at the bottom of this article, so that you can see the rest of Guillaume's concept art and other ideas I wasn't able to touch upon in the article.
As much as I enjoyed Rayman Origins, and as great as Rayman Legends is shaping up to be, I do hope that at some point in the future, Ubisoft decides to make another 3D Rayman game.