The lights are on
Game Informer got a chance to chat with Jacques Exertier, creative producer of the latest entry in the Rabbids series, Rabbids Go Home. After playing the game by Ubisoft Montpellier (read our review) we got to ask questions about the strangely cute creatures, the signature "Bwaaaah!" sound and the actor behind it, the disappearance of Rayman and more.
What was the idea behind Rabbids Go Home? Often when you make a decision in life, there are little voices guiding you, the voices of reason and emotion. The raving Rabbids are a perfect example of our emotional side; they're spontaneous, no holds barred, full of energy and only ever listen to the emotion they are feeling at that particular second, however stupid it may seem. On the other hand, we have the humans in Rabbids Go Home who represent our rational, intellectual, thoughtful side. They are the voice of society, the voice of reason. As for its meaning, Rabbids Go Home is a fable, an allegory that depicts two forces present in our heads. Two different approaches to life.
What inspired the creation of Rabbids?Initially, before they had their own adventure, the Rabbids were devised as new enemies for Rayman. They invade his world. We quickly realized that their stupidity could serve as their biggest weapon, making them very tricky opponents. It's very difficult to anticipate what they are going to do next. We tried to develop a Rabbid logic for them, something absurd that obliged us to be in a certain state of mind during production and brainstorming sessions.What happened to Rayman?Rayman is still alive and well. I'm sure he'll be pleased to hear you asked about him. He and the raving Rabbids are best enemies. Sometimes we manage to get them together for a few 'Bwaaaahs!' and flying fists, and the rest of the time they each carry on with their everyday lives, just as the raving Rabbids do in Rabbids Go Home.
Who does the voice acting for Rabbids?In Rabbids Go Home there are
several types of voices. Since the very beginning the Rabbids have been
voiced by Yoann Perrier, Doctor of Rabbid Sciences (or 'Popo' as we
like to call him). Yoann (who is not a professional voice actor at all)
is the one to thank for the famous 'Bwaaaah!' cry, as well as all the
other Rabbid onomatopoeias. There's also a whole bunch of uptight,
stuck up, conformist, hung-up humans in Rabbids Go Home, and their dialogue was
written by Alain Remy (nickname: Gaston). We recorded all their voices
with actors in Paris.This game took more of a platforming approach and dropped the minigame blueprint. What was the decision behind this?At the end of the first episode, which was developed in Montpellier, we realized that everyone adored the Rabbids and that there was an opportunity to offer players the experience of a game with a big adventure. Minigames were more for the early period of the Wii, and allowed us to explore the gameplay possibilities that the new controller could offer. The adventure format lets us profit from the knowledge we now have of the console's new possibilities and make the most of them in a game with more scope.Item-collecting seems to be the theme in Rabbids Go Home, why choose this style of gameplay?We tested different types of gameplay in order to find which one would best fit with the Rabbids. We wanted the shopping cart controls to be as smooth and quick to react as possible. Having a shopping cart allowed us to find a really cool compromise between vehicle control (fluidity, inertia) and character control (reactivity, manageability). Rabbids Go Home is essentially a piloting game; there are various types of quests and challenges (platform, collection, fights, puzzles) but the main activity is piloting.There are some odd characters in the game, most notably Santa Claus and the old man in the bubble bed. What was the idea behind these characters? Did any real people inspire them?Our characters aren't based on any real people. Santa Claus was suggested by our artistic director. It's a slightly special Santa Claus because all his presents are hamburgers, but this fits it perfectly with the anti-consumerist message that underpins the game. Certain players may notice it.The old man in the bubble bed was just in the wrong place at the wrong time: a bubble bed that the Rabbids have set their hearts on. To the Rabbids, anything's good for the pile so they can reach the moon: a trash can, a Stradivarius, human clothes or a hospital bed with a sick person in it. They take everything regardless.There were great cartoon animations before each level, ever consider creating a Rabbids game in this style?The cartoons at the beginning of the missions are brilliant bits of 2D animation. I'll never stop loving this style of animation and the possibilities it opens up. Actually, I'm writing your idea down in my notebook right now. Were there any collectable items that you wanted to include but didn't or couldn't?There were several ideas for items that didn't make the cut. Sometimes it was for cultural reasons (some early items were too French and weren't understood during the US playtests). Some other items made us laugh a lot, but we had to remove them to keep the E10+ rating. I'm sure you know what I mean.The soundtrack in the game was a lot of fun and featured a lot of older hits including "Louie Louie" and "Kingston Town." Why this choice of music for the game?We wanted the human/Rabbid contrast to be present in the music, too. For the Rabbid music, we chose a Moldavian brass band whose energy and immediacy were perfect. In fact, you could use the same adjective to describe the Rabbids and the music that goes with them. For the humans we chose oldies, but goldies from the 60s and 70s for their formatted, clean-cut, perky, bubblegum aspect, and also because they date from a time when the consumer society was being pushed as the only possible route to happiness.Finally, what do you hope players get out of Rabbids Go Home?I have two hopes: Firstly, that RGH will give every player a really crazy, stupid-fun experience, but also in the long run I hope that Rabbids Go Home's modest contribution will help the raving Rabbid inside each of us to express itself.