Michel Ancel (born March 29, 1972) is a French video game designer who works at Ubisoft. He's probably best known as the creator of Rayman, but he's also the guy behind the Cult Classic Beyond Good & Evil, a remarkably well-done game that received high ratings and a dedicated following despite being a commercial failure. His games are notable for including lots of Scenery Porn and other artistic elements.
Whatever it is he does to make his games so great, he does it really well, as all of the games he's credited with designing have been greatly received by critics and fans alike. Heck, he was even requested specifically by Peter Jackson to work on a video game adaptation of King Kong because he was a fan of Beyond Good & Evil. As such, it's not much of a surprise that Michel Ancel gets a lot of Creator Worship from fans.
When looking at the Rayman series as a whole, it's interesting to note that the adaptations in the series seem to have a fluctuation in overall reception from game to gamethe more positive ones generally being the titles that Ancel himself worked on. Rayman has generally been very well-received as a solid, challenging platformer, and many fans consider Rayman 2: The Great Escape to be the best game in the entire series. He had only an advisory role in Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, which although not a bad game lacked some of the charm present in the titles he personally directed.
Most important, though, is perhaps the development of Rayman: Raving Rabbids. The game at first was supposed to be a free-roaming platformer titled Rayman 4, as seen in this early trailer. After the trailer was released to the public, Michel Ancel was notably absent from the project, and by the time the game was actually released as the bundle of Mini Games known as Rayman Raving Rabbids, the only thing he was credited for was character design.
Ancel is currently working on an open world project called Wild, and on Beyond Good & Evil 2. In 2017, he also has expressed his intent to bring Rayman back to 3D, once he will be done with the two aforementioned projects.
Titles designed by Michel Ancel
- The Rayman franchise:
- Beyond Good & Evil (2003)
- Peter Jacksons King Kong (2005)
- Beyond Good & Evil 2 (TBA)
- Wild (TBA)