The Rainbow Six franchise is making its triumphant return with Rainbow Six Siege, a bold step into the new generation. Powered by Anvil-Next and the innovative Realblast Destruction technology, Siege delivers the counter-terrorist fantasy with a level of tension and realism never-before-seen in the series. But what, exactly, is Rainbow Six Siege? You saw an enticing glimpse of the gameplay during the Ubisoft E3 2014 press conference, and now (thanks to Game Designer Andrew Witts) we’ve got even more details to share with you. Details like what does Siege even mean, why destruction is so darn important, and why the team shifted gears to deliver this new take on Rainbow Six.
Siege isn’t just the title of the latest Rainbow Six; it’s the heart of the gameplay. The 5v5 asymmetrical close-quarters combat in indoor environments will require teamwork and loads of strategy – both of which have always been instrumental to the franchise.
“We wanted to stay true to the pillars of Rainbow, which are: tactics, team play and tension,” Witts explains. “Rainbow Six has always offered players the experience of playing in a team of counter-terrorist units (CTU) in both single and multiplayer. We’re staying true to the Rainbow Six DNA of letting players control their very own CTU in a real-life situation, but in the roles of both attack and defense. This is the backbone of the new asymmetrical gameplay in Rainbow Six Siege.”
Hostage Rescue is the fast-paced multiplayer mode we showed off onstage at the E3 press conference. Think of it like a super epic round of tug-of-war, except instead of a rope, each team is vying for control of a living, thinking hostage. Each round will take 3-4 minutes and each player has only one life, so you’re really forced to make every decision count. Of course, if you do die, you’ll never have to wait for more than a couple of minutes before you can play again, and the cameras in the game will allow you to assist your team from beyond the grave.
In Hostage Rescue, one team is defending a hostage from the other team’s attack. The match begins with a preparatory phase, during which each side has a chance to devise a plan for the round. For the defenders, this means laying down fortifications and traps. For the attacking team, this means scouting out enemy locations, tracking down the hostage, and voting on a plan of attack.
In the gameplay video shown during the press conference, the attacking team chose to drop in from above, employing the game’s rappelling tactics to travel down the side of the building and breach the fortified window. The voting system in that prep phase serves to better emphasize the game’s focus on tactics and teamwork. The attackers all agreed to enter from above. Lone wolves won’t get far in Siege. Witts tells us the advanced hostage AI means it also functions much like a character on its own, which both sides will need to keep in mind when planning.
“The hostage reacts to what is going on in a multiplayer match by shielding himself/herself during gunfights and calling out to the attacking team to let them know where he or she is when a defender is not on guard. Because this is a living character, the hostage can in fact die, so players on both sides must be careful not to kill him because when he dies – the team that is responsible for his death will ultimately lose that round.”
But the team has made sure the hostage won’t be too vulnerable; you will be able to revive them if they enter a downed state, similar to your teammates. Because the hostages and situations are unique, you’ll never be able to approach a map the same way twice.
Destruction Is Key
Nestled at the core of the siege concept is the realistic destruction granted by Ubisoft Montreal’s new Realblast technology. The attackers vs defenders idea can be boiled down to destruction vs fortification. While the defenders are reinforcing walls and floors and laying down traps, the attackers will be scouting ahead and using teamwork to blast these best-laid plans to hell.
“Destruction is at the center of our experience and it certainly brings brand new tactical advantages to the franchise,” Witts explains. “No longer are players confined to breaching doors and windows to get the drop on enemies. Observe weak points in enemy defenses and breach through walls and floors to exploit them. The Realblast destruction engine is at the center of the Siege gameplay experience and enhances the tactical play that Rainbow fans know and love.”
If we’re standing on one side of a wall and our drone tells us there’s someone directly on the other side, we can open up a new line of sight right next to them and catch them by surprise. As we saw in the demo, this also allows for a sniper outside of the building to have a clear line of sight into the interior.
Of course, different weapons will have different effects on surroundings. Clearly pistols and shotguns can’t have the same impact, and a shot fired from a distance needs to produce a smaller hole than one fired at close-range. The tech takes all of this into account. When you shoot at the floor, you’ll be shooting at each individual floorboard, creating a more realistic line of sight. Need to open up a bigger hole or break through a reinforced wall or window? You’ll want to use breaching explosives for that. With this technology at your fingertips, Rainbow Six Siege allows you to dictate the layout of the maps and change the world on the fly.
Rainbow Six Patriots
And now the question we know a lot of you are asking: What happened to Rainbow Six Patriots, the game we showed off a few years ago at E3? The short answer: It just didn’t cut it for the new generation. When the new hardware was announced, the decision was made to reboot Rainbow Six with a new team at the helm and a new goal of taking full advantage of what the next generation had to offer. The focus on siege and destruction technology this group envisioned was incompatible with the direction Patriots had taken and the project was ultimately canceled, making way for something even bigger and better.