Rayman creator Michel Ancel is flattered by labels like “The French Miyamoto,” but says that as far as he's concerned, the Mario games haven't been an influence on his signature series at all. In fact, the designer says he's not a fan of Nintendo's mascot: “I understand that people love it, but it's not my cup of tea.” Yeah, well, Shigeru Miyamoto wasn't too hot on Beyond Good & Evil either.
“I will tell you something terrible,” Ancel confesses to GamaSutra: “I don't really enjoy playing Mario games... I used to prefer Ghosts n' Goblins, Heart of Darkness, Another World, games with a focus on the narrative side. Beyond that, I find Mario's controls very interesting, but I don't buy it.”
Ancel says he and Miyamoto are “very different,” contrasting the Nintendo master's gameplay focus against his own enthusiasm for artwork and storytelling. The French designer admits he has “a lot to learn” before he reaches the level of the Japanese maestro: “Miyamoto has always been one of my models, because when I started as a game designer, there were no video games schools, no well-defined jobs, and anyhow, everyone had to find someone to get inspired from. Miyamoto is the top guy.”
Above: French author Frederick Raynal and Cultural Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres struggled to separate the two rivals when they met to receive honorary knighthoods in 2006
Ancel says he'd love to work with Miyamoto, and while the chance hasn't presented itself, the two have had opportunity to talk shop: “He even told me he wasn't fond of Beyond Good and Evil,” laughs Ancel. “He really liked the cooperation... but wasn't satisfied with the cameras. He suggested we had a look at what Nintendo did with Super Mario Sunshine.”