IN-DEPTH: The future of Rainbow Six Siege
Rainbow Six Siege Game Director Jean-Baptiste Halle spoke to Red Bull about the future of the popular FPS game as well as a few South African updates we could see in the future.
Rainbow Six Siege isn’t going anywhere any time soon, according to the Game Director who speaks passionately about the new developments coming to the title in Year 6. The first season sees a rework of the Border map as well as the introduction of attacker Flores, hailing from Argentina. Season 2 is expected to see Favela reworked (and Siege fans around the world celebrating) as well as a new operator from the Nakoda Nations. Season 3 will have 3 maps reworked and Operators from Croatia introduced. Finally, the last operator to be introduced this year will be from Ireland and Outback will see a new update.
Halle says some of the goals and direction of Siege have changed since the game launched on 1 December 2015. He says small changes have been implemented as the game development team has taken a closer look at how players enjoy the game. Operators and maps are constantly tweaked and revamped (we all know the Tachanka rework was much needed) but the bigger aspects of the game have stayed the same and will do so. The end goal, for the developers, has always been to provide a game that lasts and is fun to keep coming back.
Siege has focused on building a dynamic esports arm of the game and Halle says there is a balancing act when considering the feedback of both the casual gamer and competitive gaming experience. The game director doesn’t hold any punches: “It is not easy keeping both of them happy. We want to keep the pros happy but we need the casual community as well.” One or the other and their subsequent feedback isn’t bigger than the other. Halle points out that the data received from the different groups is collected in different ways and also somewhat divergent, but the team takes it all into consideration and attempts to tweak the game accordingly.
Core Gameplay Changes
Year 6 is going to see some big gameplay changes based off of the feedback from players. Players will now be able to control cameras and gadgets after their death and will make the support side of the game play a far bigger role in the outcome of a game. “Run and gun” won’t be enough to guarantee your team victory. This change will be released later in the year. The Gonne-6 has been introduced as a new secondary weapon that can destroy bulletproof gadgets. The one bullet weapon will roll out on the test servers for Crimson Heist. Attackers will also be able to swop out Operators and loadouts during the preparation phase which will be an interesting dynamic to add to play.
A South African operator was added to Rainbow in Year 5 of the game. Melusi had an incredible backstory around anti-poaching and her Banshee gadgets added an interesting element to competitive play.
While we know another African operator won’t be coming to Siege in Year 6, Halle refused to comment if we can expect more African additions further in the game’s life - his no comment was made with a smile in his voice. Siege has an extremely diverse range of operators hailing from around the world with interesting back stories. He says the team’s diversity awareness and the need to ensure they do justice to the cultures and stories of the operators has grown since the game launched. Halle says it takes around 9 months to develop a new operator. The development process includes workshopping around operator cultures the team might not be familiar with and then cementing the identity. The workshops focus on game play but also ensure the team is sensitive to new cultures and aware of typical mistakes that can be made when depicting these cultures in game.
Rainbow Six Siege has a high skill ceiling for new players entering the game. It can be daunting for new players and Halle admits he is well aware that new players can find it tough. While he can’t say much about features being introduced, he says onboarding cells are working at improving and supplying a dedicated onboarding for new players. The goal is to supply a host of content in the game to showcase the different operators, their unique abilities and the features of both attackers and defenders.
Rainbow Six Siege, like many other online multiplayer games, has had to deal with its own share of toxicity in game. Prominent streamers and Siege personalities have shared their own stories of how bad the toxicity in game can be:
Halle says they are aware of the toxicity in the game and are attempting to find ways to combat it. The Reputation System has been shadow tested and will roll out this year. Players’ actions have consequences. There are rewards for good player behaviour and sanctions for toxicity. This isn’t a new move, similar systems are used in other games and don’t always work. Halle says the team is well aware of the issues of toxicity and knows that this system might not be a complete fix but he believes it is a step in the right direction. There is a team that focuses on how to combat toxicity. A South African problem is that many of our racist slurs aren’t necessarily picked up. Halle was unable to give me a definitive answer on how the development team plans to localise things like slurs but says it is definitely something in the works (he also offered to reach out to the Player Cell to address this). A streamer mode has also been designed for streamers to help with their playing experience. They’ll be able to hide their name, region and ping, hide everyone else in the match, include a hidden matchmaking delay, hide their current clearance level and profile image. Halle says the team hopes this will assist Streamers in avoiding stream snipes and other behaviour that comes from live streaming gameplay.