Batten down the patches
Ubisoft Montreal gets defensive as Rainbow Six Siege starts its second year
There has been an increasing tendency of late for games to begin their life underwhelming and build to something spectacular (sometimes becoming completely unrecognisable) during the 12 months that follow their launch. It’s a frustrating transition to sit through, but one that’s usually worth the wait. Ubisoft’s team shooter Rainbow Six Siege is one of the most striking examples of a game’s ability to flourish post-launch, but if one year can be this transformative, what would a second year of evolution look like?
Well, much like Ubisoft’s recently revealed Rainbow Six Siege Year Two roadmap, we would imagine. The first year was split into four seasons, each delivering a new map and two new operators, and the same is true for the second. But the first two operators – dropping as part of the recent Velvet Shell update – bring some fascinating, game-changing new skills to the fight. Attacker Jackal is armed with a remarkably powerful, yet accurate, assault rifle and has a gadget that lets him see recent enemy footprints and even scan the prints to reveal their positions. It’s a direct response to the popular defence tactic of spreading throughout the building and aiming to catch objective-focused attackers by surprise. But while Jackal’s gadget is certainly powerful, it does leave you staring at the ground a lot, and Caveira’s Silent Step ability conceals her footprints entirely.
Defender Mira has a similarly subversive skill set. She’s able to place wide, bulletproof windows into reinforced walls. They’re only transparent from the inside, so attackers can’t use them to spot waiting defenders, and neither side can fire through them – a potentially deadly compromise when creating murder holes in masonry. An attached canister can be destroyed to break the window if you want to switch it to a terrifyingly large murder hole at a moment’s notice, but it’s worth noting that, brilliantly, Twitch can detonate it with her drone, too.
Ubisoft says that these new operators are more representative of its vision for Siege, and that the rest of the line-up will undergo “surgery” to ensure that the game remains balanced. This will be complemented with a new focus on matchmaking. Voice chat and other secondary services are being moved from peer-to-peer systems to the same dedicated servers which handle player matchmaking, improving stability. Hit registration will also receive attention, and the team plan to mitigate lag and
“The first two operators bring some gamechanging new skills to the fight”
make hits and kills as precise and accurate as possible. And in what sounds like a small change, you’re no longer locked out of menus while queuing for a match, so you should be able to browse the store or edit operators while you wait.
A new loot system will feed into this, giving players the chance to win skins, weapons and other drops at the end of each match. What’s even better is that they’re microtransaction free. The goal is to reward players simply for playing, and should make life much easier for those who don’t own a season pass. Altogether then, it looks like we’re in for a profound transformation over the next 12 months, and one that remains true to the spirit of bravery that has defined this esoteric shooter from the off.
right As well as Mira and Jackal’s Spain, Siege will also take us to Hong Kong, Poland and South Korea in 2017.