A rare prototype of the SNES version of Rayman has been dumped to the internet.
The prototype was first uncovered last year by Rayman developer Fredric Houde, and shared to the world by Rayman creator Michel Ancel. For years, a SNES version of Rayman has rumored to have existed, but the prototype, along with several screenshots along the internet, are the only known bits of the original game in existence.
The prototype of Rayman was dated to be a prototype build of the game from 1992, where the original plot involved in the game would feature Rayman as an employee to a computer company tasked to fight a computer virus, who was slated to be the main villain.
The SNES version of Rayman was planned to be simultaneously released along with the Sony PlayStation, Atari Jaguar and the Sega Saturn in 1995, but was canceled mid-development by publisher Ubisoft so that Ancel and his small team can focus on the CD-Rom versions of the game. The SNES version would have featured different gameplay mechanics compared to the CD-Rom counterparts – most notably a 2 player co-op mode involving a female Rayman character – that would have been exclusive to the 16-bit version.
The ROM of the prototype was put on the internet by a gaming archivist named Omar Cornut, the runner of the website SMS Power. Cornut was given Ancel’s blessing to archive the prototype online, which is playable but very bare bones in comparison to completed or abandoned titles.
This is always a good thing to me. The preservation of gaming history is very important as it helps inform us of the development process and the origins of titles and franchises like Rayman, and the fact that it is now available online and archived is just another piece of gaming history that is fully unlocked.
More importantly, stories like this are becoming more common. There is a high degree of awareness of the preservation of games today, with several institutes such as the Strong Museum leading the charge in that field. There needs to be more collaborative efforts like this; with archivists, historians, developers and other aficionados working together to help preserve our favorite hobbies past.
What are your thoughts on all of this though? Leave your comments below.