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 Rayman 's Ancel: 'I Don't Really Enjoy Playing  Mario  Games'
Rayman's Ancel: 'I Don't Really Enjoy Playing Mario Games'
December 5, 2011 | By Staff

December 5, 2011 | By Staff
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    15 comments
More: Console/PC, Design



The creator of the Rayman series tells Gamasutra in a new interview that while he has respect for Miyamoto and is a fan of Zelda, he can't get into Nintendo's flagship series.

When asked how he feels about being called "the French Miyamoto," Rayman Origins creative director Michel Ancel says "of course it's an honor."

However, he says, "I'm very different from Miyamoto."

"I really loved the idea of introducing artistic features in games -- that is to say the storytelling, the artwork, music -- and to get everything together in the best possible alchemy. We have two different approaches, two different tracks," he continues.

Later, he admits that he doesn't enjoy Miyamoto's flagship series -- though he does love The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. "I will tell you something terrible -- I don't really enjoy playing Mario games. I don't like gliding, I don't like its inertia, and I don't like not being able to give some slaps! It's a fabulous series, and I understand that people love it, but it's not my cup of tea."

"I used to prefer Ghosts n' Goblins, Heart of Darkness, Another World -- games with a focus on the narrative side. Beyond that, I find Mario's controls very interesting, but I don't buy it. I can't help but seeing the ropes of the game, even if it works."

Ancel and Miyamoto were able to meet in 2006 when they both received the Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres award from the French Government (pictured together, above -- photo courtesy of Bliss Press).

The full interview, in which he discusses which classic Super NES game he does love, and also drops the name of the man who is his game design mentor, is live now on Gamasutra.


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Comments


Federico Fasce
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Well, I guess that it's perfectly right not liking a game, for whatever reason.

Only, the thing that concerns me is that he doesn't like Mario because it is more a game than a movie. And I cannot agree with such a statement.

E McNeill
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... Most of the reasons he gives for not liking Mario have to do with the mechanics.

Saul Gonzalez
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I have a deep love for Mario games, but I don't know if I'd like them as much if my first exposure to the series had been with any of the entries in the last 10 years.

Games should be interactive systems first and foremost, but they're better as a whole if on top of that you also have a well-crafted, resonating narrative. It's not an either/or proposition.

Recent Mario games tend towards self-reference and self-parody, if not full-on abstraction ("let's run thru levels just for the sake of it"), which I find sadly disappointing.

Isaiah Taylor
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Always interested in seeing disagreements between the creative minds of the industry. By comparison to EA's disagreements with Activision's Call of Duty series, this is comes off as totally respectful and gentlemanly.

Michael O'Hair
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I don't remember Ghosts n' Goblins having as strong a narrative as Out of this World or Heart of Darkness. There's an introduction cutscene with the Princess being kidnapped by some demon, but beyond that there's just as much narrative in Ghost n' Goblins as Super Mario Bros.

A W
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I've never been big at enjoying Mario games all that much myself. I'm more of a Legend of Zelda player and I normally sight it as the reason I'm still playing games to this day. Mario for me has always been hard and tedious. The only Mario game I ever loved playing and actually beat (save the first Super Mario Bros.) was Super Mario World for the SNES. I have always come close to the end of each Mario before and after that one and either I get beat down by the complexity of the levels, or I loose interest. This has even happen to me with Mario Galaxy. However every Legend of Zelda I play I complete to the end.



Oh and Ghost and Goblin's I don't think that had a story any better than Mario, I think it had some cool set pieces though. And if you can beat that game then you are awesome.

Eric Kwan
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The one thing GnG does have, though, since it doesn't really have narrative, is that it has a gameplay mechanic where you can attack your enemies at all times. Remember the other thing Ancel said: "and I don't like not being able to give some slaps!" Yes, you can technically upgrade to Fire Mario or Raccoon Mario or whatever, but in GnG you can *always* at least throw lances—and this is mirrored in the Rayman games where, at the very least, Rayman can always punch his enemies (or throw glowing balls at them in the bad Rayman games).

Jonathan Jennings
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I kind of agree but as a huge mario fan I also have t respectably disagree all the different states mario can be in and sometimes the unpredictability of changing them make the game fun. I play a little more wrecklessly with " Big mario" then I do with " small mario" I tend to run everywhere with tanuki suit mario and try to avoid virtually everything outside the water with frog mario , all of this in mario bros. 3. It makes me subconsciously change how I use mario, when I use mario, and what I expect of mario in any given situation. I feel unstoppable as hammer-turtle mario and fireball mario and that is in stark contrasts to how carefully and slowly I travel with " small mario" .



Being able to attack any time is great for sure but as a HUGE platformer fan in general it's also easy to get bored if something isn't changing either with the player or world around the player in order to keep the player interested/ thinking quick.

Eric Kwan
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@ Jonathan: My tastes align with yours in that regard, too, but it seems Ancel disagrees.

Ian Williams
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I liked Mario right up until it went 3d, and then it seemed to lose it's core gameplay in favor of retarded minigames and puzzle solving. The same goes for when Donkey Kong went 3d.

Chris Melby
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Which 3D versions of Mario are you referring to?

Eric Geer
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Probably referring to 64 right?

Paul Sivertsen
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Why is this even considered newsworthy?

brandon sheffield
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well, this here's a web site about game development, game business, and game developers. When a noted game developer - Michel Ancel is well respected - speaks directly about another developer that he has been compared to, this is of interest to other developers. It is also a teaser to get into the story where he talks about mechanics in a deeper way.

Eric Geer
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I kind of feel bad because I have never played a single Rayman game, but have played every Mario game.....:-0


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