Third party exclusives are a bit of a rarity these days. I’m not talking about games like Mass Effect or Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge. Those were published by Microsoft and Nintendo themselves. Rayman Legends, however, is published by Ubisoft. It was supposed to be a Wii U exclusive. Was.
The game is now coming to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Okay, no big deal there. Since the Wii U version is completed I’ll still be able to–oh, it’s not coming out until September for no legitimate reason whatsoever? The release of the Wii U exclusive challenge mode is supposed to make us feel better? I’m sorry, but it doesn’t make me feel any better.
I’m going to admit, it’s really, really hard biting my tongue here. I love Ubisoft. When other publishers have been verbally attacked by the internet gaming community for shady DLC practices, rehashing game over game for yearly releases, snubbing gamers with always-on DLC, Ubisoft has stood above the rest. They’ve delivered amazing games and have stayed clear of any negative press.
Until now, that is.
Okay, so maybe it is nice that the challenge mode is being released early at the low low price of $0.00 sometime in April. But here’s the problem: this won’t sell systems. Rayman Legends was going to be a system seller. At the end of this month, people were going to head to their gaming store of choice, pick a Wii U, which has a nice new ZombiU bundle, and Rayman Legends.
Is Nintendo equally at fault here? Probably. For all the good they’ve done bringing third party titles to their system, they haven’t made the moves necessary for their games to sell their system. Nintendoland isn’t Wii Sports, though it’s honestly just as enjoyable. New Super Mario Bros. U isn’t Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess; that’s actually a bigger concern here, as I’ve had many friends say they’re waiting for a Zelda title before they buy a Wii U. But Mario Bros. U isn’t a follow-up to Super Mario Galaxy, either. It’s the second entry in the series to have been released in 2012. It’s more of the same. We don’t want more of the same, we want something entirely new.
Look, the Wii U is going to be perfectly fine. These are delays, and delays sting. Eventually, Pikmin 3 and Rayman Legends will release. But currently, we’re caught in the catch-22 of post-launch blues. The system isn’t selling because of the game selection, and third party developers are wary because the system isn’t selling. And like it or not, this industry is a business. Publishers are the suits and they like making money. Putting Rayman Legends on the Xbox 360 and PS3 was entirely the right business move. Releasing all three versions, however, was not. No matter what you’re accustomed to with multi-platform releases, exceptions can always be made. In the face of controversy and negativity surrounding other publishers, this was Ubisoft’s chance to be the good guy. While they avoided succumbing to “evil,” they’ve undoubtedly faultered.
For what it’s worth, I’m not cancelling my reserve. I’m still buying the game for Wii U. I’ll just have to find a way to be a little more patient.
Note: This article solely represents the thoughts of the author and is no way, shape, or form indicative of the thoughts of The Game Fanatics and the rest of its staff.