If there's one Rayman Legends related image that clearly captures the rage fans feel at the game's delay from February 26th (or March 1st if you're living in Europe) to September, it's this one.
It's been nearly a week since Ubisoft's announcement that Rayman Legends would go multiplatform (something no one has any problems with) and be delayed until September in order to have a simultaneous release on all platforms. It's this delay of the Wii U version that has fandom riled up and poking their online pitchforks at Ubisoft through any means necessary, be it their Facebook page, online message boards or the Uplay community on Miiverse.
While a delay in and of itself is nothing new to Nintendo fans, this delay is different because a - the game is already finished (confirmed by Ubisoft) and b - currently the Wii U has somewhat of a software drought until mid- to late March. Not only are Wii U gamers eager to get their hands on new software, but there isn't anything major coming out for weeks, a perfect window of opportunity for Ubisoft to release a brilliant game that people have been waiting for since launch. Wii U gamers are now not only denied this game when it's wanted and needed, by the time September rolls around, software drought isn't going to be an issue anymore.
And if this delay wasn't rage-inducing enough, Ubisoft tried to be smart about it and promise Wii U owners an exclusive new demo! If you have, at all, followed that announcement, you know how well that went. As well as jumping naked into a piranha-infested river.
During this week I've noticed a few things about the argument and that everyone seems to have a different story, explanation etc. There've also been a few "points" made by protesters that do more harm than good. Nothing I say can add more to it, but allow me to write them all down in one nice rant, so everyone knows the how and why.
Reason for delay #1:
Rayman Legends was delayed because Ubisoft didn't want to spend two marketing budgets. One at the end of February, one in September.
Ubisoft has had no problems releasing Rayman Origins on a thousand platforms in November 2011, whilst in the midst of other major Fall titles, with hardly any marketing at all. The game sold horribly, though enough to make a profit, even though the price of the game went down (very) rapidly.
Rayman Legends has been featured prominently in Nintendo Directs, the Wii U eShop (trailers and a demo) and has been the only playable demo at Wii U booths in stores worldwide. It's been pushed hard already and with the current software drought, there is no need for marketing at all.
Reason for delay #2:
Rayman Legends has been delayed because of Microsoft's policy that software has to be released on the Xbox 360 alongside other versions and can't be a late port. Microsoft retains the right to refuse late ports on their system.
While the policy itself is apparently very true, the BS part of this reason is that Rayman Legends has been developed for Wii U and takes advantage of the Wii U GamePad in ways a normal controller can't. For example, the Murphy sections are controlled with the GamePad's touchscreen only. This means the game has to be altered to fit the Xbox 360 (and PS3) controller.
Not just that, but Ubisoft can circumvent the policy by adding extra content, which is the only loophole allowing older games to be ported to the Xbox 360. I'm sure Ubisoft can have a few extra levels added to Rayman Legends and make it a "deluxe" version, so Microsoft is happy.
Reason for delay #3:
The game was delayed because if the Wii U version comes out in February and the ports come out in September, Xbox 360 and PS3 gamers will see the game as a port of "an old game" and not bother with it.
Ubisoft claims going multiplatform with the title is because of the many Xbox 360 and PS3 fans who were angered by the game being exclusive to Wii U and demanded that the game be released on their platforms as well. Ubisoft listened to these fans, because fans are important to them (*cough*unless you have a Wii U*/cough*).
Now if these fans are demanding to play the game so much, these are the gamers that have been so vocal about being able to play the game on their platform, why would they view the game as "an old game" if the Wii U version is released first? Shouldn't they be happy they're getting the game at all since their prayers have been answered? For all intents and purposes, the game would've been an exclusive, so....
Reason for delay #4:
Ubisoft delayed the Wii U version because of the current installed base of Wii U console not being high enough.
While some form and shape of this could be an underlying factor, Rayman Legends was originally intended to be a Wii U launch title, meaning Ubisoft was willing to release the finished game to an installed base of ZERO.
Reason for delay #5:
Ubisoft is going multiplatform and delaying the Wii u version because they'll make more money in September since it's being released to a bigger Wii U installed base and the combined installed base of 150 million Xbox 360's and PS3's.
Grand Theft Auto V.
But if you want a more elaborate explanation, it's quite simple. The Wii U installed base will most likely be a lot larger come September, so it's not a total stretch to believe more money can be made a few months down the line. However, with the current Wii U software drought and Rayman Legends having the "place" all to itself for the next couple of weeks, it stands to sell quite well and even sell more Wii U consoles. In September, people's minds (and wallets) will be gearing towards the massive Fall schedule, featuring games such as Grand Theft Auto V (for X360/PS3 owners) and an HD Zelda, Mario or Yoshi.
Rayman is a huge title right now, but will get lost in the shuffle this September. So while Ubisoft is betting on those X360 and PS3 fans that demanded the game to rake in the cash, they're apparently forgetting about GTA V and the fact that Origins itself didn't sell THAT well to those audiences even without a major title such as that.
To be fair, the fiscal year is ending on March 31st, so any sales of Rayman Legends before that time will add to 2012's fiscal year. Sales after that will be added to the total of 2013's. Somewhat understandable, but doesn't mean the game would sell any better in September.
If I'm forgetting anything, I'd love to hear about it, but these are the "reasons" I hear people throw around most of the time.
In regards to people who are vocally against this decision by Ubisoft, please bear in mind the following:
Don't give Ubisoft too many options. I hear people say "release this game or that game (even the original Origins) for Wii U and we'll be happy". I hear people say "release Rayman Legends on the eShop and the retail one in September, everybody wins".
No we won't. First off, while releasing games like Watch Dogs, Splinter Cell Blacklist and other high-profile games on Wii U is welcomed, they should not become a bargaining chip. It won't magically make right the way Ubisoft has treated Wii U owners with this decision. Gaining two more Wii U titles is something that Ubisoft should already be working on, it does not mean we're suddenly okay with the delay of the only promising game within a software drought. It's like saying to your partner "beat me up all you want, but take me out for icecream later ok?". Just no.
Secondly, an eShop release means full price and no physical copy. MANY gamers like to buy their games with either trade-ins, discounts etc. AND have a physical copy. Most want Rayman Legends badly, but not badly enough to have it as a download title only. With storage space on Wii U being limited as it is, it would splinter the group of people who really want this game and result in less than stellar sales.
This means one thing and one thing only. Ubisoft can only do two things. Release the game in September and face other titles, boycotts and people just not caring anymore OR release the title in February and make everyone happy with the added bonus that "the people have spoken and won". No if's or buts. No giving Ubisoft the idea that we'll take some shape or form besides releasing the game as promised as a consolation prize. Because that's what you are doing. So don't.
A small and nagging little tidbit, while we have no idea what games will be available for Wii U in September (besides the ones released between March and then), it's a safe bet we'll be seeing either a Mario title (Kart for instance), Yarn Yoshi or Wind Waker HD. Nothing has been confirmed yet, so we can't know for sure, but Nintendo WILL have more Wii U titles lined up for that month.
But since we don't have anything confirmed we can't be sure what will be released, so do me a favor, in your arguments for Ubisoft to release Rayman in February, stop posting things like "HA, Rayman won't have ANYTHING on Pokémon this September", because you'll look like a fool. Not because you're wrong, but because you are right for the wrong reason. Pokémon is set for release in October, not September, so it's not a valid argument.
Also, it's a delay of SEVEN months. Not four, not five, not six or eight. SEVEN. If you're making a statement, please have your facts straight, it'll make Ubisoft take you more seriously as you'll not come across as someone on a bandwagon repeating things while not even having their facts straight, but as a fan who deeply cares. While enthousiasm and rage DO help, THINK before you type. Thank you.
Let me end this by adding my two cents:
If Ubisoft GENUINELY cares about its gamers and is looking for a way out of this PR nightmare, I have a small tip. Tomorrow it's Valentine's Day. If you want to show your Wii U audience that you care about them and LOVE them, announce the original releasedate for Rayman Legends tomorrow. It'll be perfect timing, you'll be riding the wave of love that sweeps across the world and give the people what they want.
In regards to the vocal masses eviscerating Ubisoft at the moment, if (and that's a big IF) Ubisoft DOES decide to release Rayman Legends at the end of the month, stick your money where your mouth is and BUY THE DAMN GAME. It will not only send a message to Ubisoft that they WERE wrong to delay it, but also tells other third party developers that developing for Wii U IS profitable.
Should you not buy the game regardless of a reinstated releasedate, then you'll have hurt the Wii U more than you know and it's not Ubisoft that failed legendary, it will be us.