Rayman 2: The Great Escape
Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc
|Portrayed by||Steve Perkinson (Rayman)|
Billy West (Rayman: The Animated Series)
David Gasman (Rayman 2, Rayman 3, Rayman Raving Rabbids, Rayman Raving Rabbids 2, Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party)
Douglas Rand (Rayman Origins, Rayman Legends)
|Relatives||Betilla the Fairy (creator)|
Bad Rayman (clone)
Ly the Fairy (girlfriend)
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.
Rayman was originally designed to simply be an athletic character and to have a full body, but because it could not be fully rendered even on games consoles in the mid-90s, 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 Rayman). 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 Rayman showed him with lighter blue eyes. While Rayman is unique in most of the games, other members of his unknown species are seen in Rayman, notably the Magician, Tarayzan, the Musician and his 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 absorbs the Silver Lums created by the fairies, and magically opens 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.
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 Rayman, 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 the kegs in Rayman Revolution if he purchases an optional upgrade at the Magic Well. Rayman is also right-handed.
Rayman begins as a very poor swimmer; in the original Rayman, 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.
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 humor. 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 Rayman, as he often pulls grimaces as a form of defiance. 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: "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's 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 remembers and worries 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, Ancel began to create his own simple logic games, featuring little 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: The Great Escape. In one interview, Rayman creator Michel Ancel revealed the inspirations behind the character. Ancel 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 Rayman 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 first 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 Rayman 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 of Rayman 2: The Great Escape contains 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 Rayman game. In this version of the story, he is discovered by fishermen, who for some reason do not seem to have encountered his species before.
A revised origin story for Rayman was revealed at the E3 expo of 2010, when Ubisoft showed a trailer for 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.
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.