Ubisoft, unlike Microsoft and Electronic Arts, saved its big reveal for the end of its press conference. Yves Guiellemot walked out, made a joke about his height, and told us to watch an awesome demo for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege. And so we did. After six years of hibernation, Ubisoft has pulled the Rainbow Six franchise out from cold storage to reintroduce the game as a tactical, squad-based shooter with an emphasis on destructive environments.
Ubisoft Creative Director Xavier Marguis explains why now is the best time to revive Rainbow Six in this prepared statement:
"As fans of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six and tactical shooters in general, we set out to create the game we always wanted to play within the counter-terrorism universe. We asked ourselves ‘how could we capture the incredible tension and unique tactics of these confrontations?’ We found the answer in the Siege gameplay and procedural destruction. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is the game that Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six fans have been waiting for, and first-person shooter players will be drawn to its unique gameplay."
While the demo does go out of its way to show off strategic thinking and teamwork, almost painfully, how an actual game of Siege would work out might be different in the real world. There didn't seem to be any actual boons for players who used cover and thought tactically about their surroundings. As shown at the end, even a reckless sharpshooter can tear through a well-organized team. Shooters these days don't reward tactical play, and Siege doesn't look different in that regard.
Still, it's great to see Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six be revitalized. Hopefully the developers at Ubisoft Montreal can recreate those high-tension, precision-based experiences that the franchise is known for.
It's worth noting that the below demo should be taken with a grain of salt. Note that this is pre-alpha footage, yet for some reason looks like finished-game quality. That's because this is a prepared demo just for E3, meaning they built this along-side the game. That means it may not be anywhere near representative of the final product. Given that most gamers know Ubisoft has a tendency to exaggerate their games these days, the best we can hope from the trailer is a promising end-product. Retain that skepticism, however.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege will launch in 2015 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC platforms. It's unclear if the game is multiplayer only, though early details imply that it will be a full game with its own campaign.