Nintendo lose Rayman Legends exclusivity, game delayed until September

Oof. So goes our initial response when Ubisoft announced a further delay for Rayman Legends, alongside PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions.

This leaves Wii U with just two big launch window exclusives: Lego City Undercover and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, the latter essentially an enhanced 3DS port.

We found strange that Iwata never mentioned Rayman Legends as an upcoming Wii U release following his software drought apology on the most recent Nintendo Direct.

Undoubtedly the news and its timing – just weeks before the game’s planned release – has dealt quite the blow to Wii U’s short term prospects. Rayman Legends previously posed as quite the draw for gamers to be interested in purchasing a Wii U, both as a successor to the fantastic Rayman Origins and in the strength and imagination that lies within its levels.

What it does confirm, however, is that Rayman Legends was unlikely to have been a paid exclusive – something Nintendo does not believe in – but one must ask the question? Why did Nintendo not make this so?

While it’s definitely great news that Rayman Legends can be enjoyed by a wider audience, from the perspective of Wii U’s short term future (where weaker than expected sales need revival) Nintendo really should be doing something with this huge pile of cash they are currently sitting on.

The delay until September also boggles the mind, as it means Rayman Legends will be competing with big titles such as FIFA 14, Madden and GTA V. A similar release date for Rayman Origins, which launched on every major console, also led it to be lost in the winter games rush.

We do reckon Ubisoft should have at least released Rayman Legends in March (their announcement hinting the delay was solely down to porting the game to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) on Wii U, similar to how Resident Evil 4′s exclusivity worked on ‘Cube.

The combination of the game being a great fit for Wii U’s audience, its exclusivity, March release date (little competition against big name games and Wii U owners itching for a big game to play) and Nintendo’s heavy promotion (in-store demo pods only featured Rayman Legends as playable code and we’re sure Nintendo would continue to push it through Nintendo Direct) seemed like a recipe for sales success.

It’ll be interesting to see how Ubisoft tool Legends for PS3 and Xbox 360, considering Wii U and its GamePad are the lead platform.