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September 22, 2013

Did the Raving Rabbids Ruin Rayman?

Ah, Rayman. What a wonderful video game series that is. It's downright crazy. It follows the limbless hero Rayman in his crazy adventures, collecting Lums and fighting enemies that were, somewhat, wackier than him, yet retaining all their dangerosity. The Rayman series is nowhere as famous as, say, Mario, The Legend of Zelda or Sonic the Hedgehog, yet it still holds a place dear in many gamers' hearts.

Then came in the Rabbids. Cute albeit psychotic creatures who could go from cuddly-adorable blue-eyed critters to deadly screaming red-eyed creatures. And they RUINED Rayman. They spread their long ears through the franchise, destroying all that Rayman used to be, and halting the franchise for a time far too long.

I'm making it sound way worse than it actually is. But it was the opinion a lot of fans had when the Rabbids started taking more and more space in Rayman's world. This leads to the fanbase-tearing question: Did the Raving Rabbids ruin Rayman?


And my controversial answer to this is: No! First of all, let me be VERY clear. I am not THAT much of a casual Rayman player. I played two, maybe three games. I stll haven't touched any of the newer Rayman games, nor the newer Raving Rabbids games.

First, let's look at the facts. The Raving Rabbids appeared around 2006 and were a bizarre addition to Rayman's world. When they showed up in the first trailers, they were large masses of badly-rendered white MONSTERS that sprouted from the ground, along with their rabbit-themed machinery and kinda alien secondary theme. They were WEIRD. This was an absolutely hilarious concept for a new group of villains, who were going to fit in with the others. The trailers advertised a beat'em up-styled game with Rayman wielding lots and lots of weapons, hitting the Rabbids with just about anything he could get his hands on. It also advertised that Rayman could... DANCE with the Rabbids, and use a large number of costumes as well. Also, the Rabbids weren't all alike back then. Some were horribly disfigured, with creepy anatomy and weird body shapes. Their machines were epic, too.


...Then it was revealed that it switched to a minigame collection. Oh, great. I can't tell when exactly the fandom started dividing. Was it at the reveal that it was a minigame collection? Was it at the reveal that all sense of serious in the series was thrown out the window? Or... was it because Rayman would slowly leave his OWN series, letting the Rabbids invade it?

Because yeah, after the first Rayman Raving Rabbids came... Rayman Raving Rabbids 2. With more emphasis on the Rabbids' invasion of Earth and their crazy ways to do it. Rayman was still in there, but in the end there was nothing to do to stop them.

Then came the third installment, TV Party. More Rabbids, except this time Rayman was even barely in there! He was only in the cutscenes, the very few of them there was! It's very unclear where the fanbase divided, but it had to be somewhere around the third game. It was STILL called "Rayman Raving Rabbids", and Rayman was almost gone! The outrage was understandable.

However, let's look at this another way. As time went on, Rayman literally disappeared from the Raving Rabbids games, and the series came to be called Raving Rabbids instead. On the other side of the fence, Rayman got back on his feet, appearing in a new adventure in Rayman Origins, and even more recently with Rayman Legends. You heard right. The franchise that began as one divided in two. Sort of. However, that happened before.

Franchise division has occurred in the past. Not THAT often, and most of all not only in video games, but still. People, here's the evidence: The Mario series. It had only Mario and his regular adventures at first. Donkey Kong, who started in Mario's very first game (back when he was still Jumpman), also began starring in his own games, until Mario was not in his games anymore. Same goes for Yoshi, Mario's main ally in Super Mario World and its sequel, who went on to star in his own franchise. Same can be said for Wario, who began in Super Mario Land 2 and had not only his own adventures for a while, but ALSO got the Warioware fanchise!

They are the stuff of heroes. As crazy as it sounds.

Franchise division happens. It was bound to happen for Rayman and the Raving Rabbids, except it took (according to many fans) too much time to happen, and that's the problem. The Rabbids took Rayman's spot as the heroes for a little too long. But Rayman is back now.

Did the Rabbids ruin Rayman? Maybe for a few years, and even then the damage could be repaired. If there was even damage in the first place. "Ruined" would have meant that it was impossible to repair, yet they did. Case in point, the new Rayman installments. Agreed, that separation could have been done as soon as the third Raving rabbids game entered development. But did the Rabbids RUIN Rayman? Hell, no! First of all, if you think Rayman was ruined, go play the preceding games. So long as they exist, Rayman will not be ruined. You will keep playing Rayman's early titles, but it will fit your vision of pre-Rabbids Rayman. And, once again, Rayman's back and the Rabbids are their own series now.

Rabid (Notice only one B) fans, stop complaining. You have no reason to anymore. The Rayman fanchise wasn't ruined for long, if it was even ruined in the first place. Opinion changes depending on the person. Rabbid fans, enjoy the minigame collections. And hopefully you kept that soft spot for Rayman despite this short moment where two franchises met up and didn't know yet they were destined to part ways.