Ubisoft's dismembered hero Rayman has been making quite a name for himself ever since he skipped onto the Wii with an entertaining minigame collection starring last year's most hilarious new villains, the raving rabbids. Now Rayman is on his way back to the Wii in Rayman Raving Rabbids 2, and he'll also be giving the Nintendo DS its due with a handheld version of the game that will purportedly contain 60 minigames, as well as more multiplayer action than we saw last time around.
To get the final word on the DS version of Raving Rabbids 2, we went straight to the source: game manager Loic Gounon.
GameSpot: How much collaboration has gone on with the Wii team?
Loic Gounon: There was a strong collaboration with the Wii team in terms of game ideas, as well as making sure that the rabbids remain as insane as ever.
GS: How did you come up with the DS minigames, since they were inspired by the Wii game and not necessarily an exact fit for the DS?
LG: For us it was really about the humor and fun that the rabbids create with their ridiculous antics that was the source of inspiration. Rules and controls are completely different. We started from scratch in order to use the DS controls fully and make them as fun as possible.
GS: Was it a concerted effort to make use of the mic? Or did that develop naturally?
LG: You might know that one of the most noticeable [of the] bunnies' behavior is the screaming! So we developed the use of the microphone (essentially to make noise) to let the player enjoy the screaming. We also use the mic as a gameplay feature in some minigames where you have to talk ("movie theater") or blow ("bunny bubble").
GS: How have you improved on the tech from the last game, or is it the same graphics engine?
LG: We use a new engine (developed mainly for the DS by Ubisoft Technology Group) with a more powerful 3D/2D graphic engine, so the game looks really good.
GS: Can you run us through the game's story?
LG: The rabbids invade the human world, and they try to mimic human behavior in a rabbid way! Rayman follows them around the world as he tries to collect useful information (pictures) about their ridiculous and crazy behavior.
GS: Can you explain the music system in the game?
LG: We decided to create musical minigames based on classic hits ("Smoke on the Water," "Funkytown") performed by the rabbids! You play with the stylus and try to follow the rhythm as accurately as possible, tapping to the beat. We implemented a groove box that you tap on the screen. This allows you access to prerecorded sounds that you can unlock throughout the game.
GS: Can you run us through the customization possible in the game?
LG: When you beat top scores, you unlock fancy items for your rabbid: hat, clothes, and accessories. There are loads of different styles...Brazilian stuff, Japanese costumes, and so on. You can dress your rabbid and use it to play in most of the minigames. You can also draw on your rabbid using the stylus as a pencil and unleash your creativity! At last, you can draw on a blank background, or unlock predrawn backgrounds and fill the shapes.
GS: How are you going to interact with your virtual rabbid?
LG: Virtual rabbids can be punched or tickled with the stylus. You can also record your voice and the rabbid will say what you've been recording. This way you can compete with your friends on who has the best Bwwaaaaaaa!
GS: Can you run us through the game's Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection features? Will it just be playing games, or will you be able to trade rabbids as well?
LG: We didn't implement an Internet gaming feature. However, you can play in local Wi-Fi, in classic multiplayer (one cartridge per DS), or in game-sharing mode (only one cartridge for up to four players). You'll play with your customized rabbid, but you won't be able to trade it. He'll stay your own personal creation.