Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope recently had DLC announced that would revive Rayman, one of the many iconic platforming mascots of the ’90s. Ironically, the Rabbids – which were initially a spin-off of the Rayman series – are now bringing him back into the fold. The two crossed paths for the first time in 2006 in Rayman Raving Rabbids. The Rabbids would go on to become so popular that they were able to drop Rayman from the title altogether and have a line of Rabbids standalone titles before teaming up with Mario.
The Rabbids went from being a party game to being a platformer, to a collection of mini-games, to traveling through time and other hijinks. Their craziest adventure wouldn’t come until 2017 when the Raving Rabbids would have a crossover with Nintendo in Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle on Switch. The game would feature Mario and friends teaming up with the Rabbids donning hilarious cosplays of Princess Peach, Luigi, and others. The title placed both Mario and Rabbids fans alike in a top-down perspective with gameplay reminiscent of other turn-based tactics games like XCOM. Its sequel, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope expands upon the world merged between the two series into galactic proportions. In a recent announcement, it will allow another Ubisoft icon – Rayman – to finally join the fight.
Back before the creation of the Rabbids, there was a time when platforming mascots were all the rage. Nintendo had Mario, Sega had Sonic, PlayStation had Crash, and Ubisoft had its unique, limbless hero Rayman. Rayman made his first appearance in 1995, with the debut title being praised for its graphics, whimsical world, and music. Like the other platforming greats of the time, Rayman also made the jump to 3D in Rayman 2: The Great Escape, and Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc. The second game received critical acclaim across the board, with the third installment getting a generally positive reception as well. With Rayman’s transition to 3D being a success, development for a fourth title seemed obvious. Unfortunately for Rayman fans, the fourth installment would be canceled a few months after development started. Rayman Raving Rabbids, a spinoff title, was released instead, and after two more installments, the Rabbids would outgrow Rayman and remove his name from each sequential release.
The True “Sparks Of Hope” Are For The Revitalization Of The Rayman Series
After years of waiting, fans finally got an all-new Rayman game called Rayman Origins. It brought the series back to its 2D platforming roots in a colorful and charismatic art style. Since the 2013 release of its sequel Rayman Legends, the character has been dormant for nearly a decade. Legends is the best-selling game in the entire franchise selling more than four million copies and is in contention to be the most revered game in the franchise as well. Since its launch, Rayman Legends has been re-released on numerous platforms, with the Nintendo Switch being the most recent. Besides re-releases, there have been multiple mobile game spinoffs, but that’s it. After the resurgence of the series in the early 2010s, it appeared that Rayman and his games had been forgotten. Even for his 25th anniversary in 2020, there was no news of anything featuring the protagonist.
The third wave of DLC for Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope is confirmed to feature Rayman. Although it took a spinoff of a spinoff to have DLC to reintroduce Ubisoft’s platforming mascot, longtime fans are ecstatic. Without Rayman, the Rabbids never would’ve existed, and now players will get to see Rayman not only interact with the Rabbids again but with Mario and friends for the first time. If the DLC sells well and players show enough interest, it’s possible that the expansion could lead to future projects featuring Rayman, and better yet, to a standalone title, but for now, that remains to be seen.