It’s hard to believe that it was over a year and a half ago when Ubisoft unveiled Rainbow Six Patriots at the 2011 Spike VGAs with an intense concept gameplay video. It was pitched as concept footage but in reality, it was a fully working demo Ubisoft had.
So with Ghost Recon: Future Soldier having put one Tom Clancy series back in the spotlight, and new Clancy IP The Division earning a lot of buzz this E3, where is Rainbow Six and is there any truth to the rumors of it being canned?
Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat told Gamespot earlier this week that Rainbow 6 “has a place in the studio,” but wouldn’t say more. IGN however, spoke with Ubisoft senior vice president of sales and marketing Tony Key, who elaborated on the status of the game and confirmed it to be next-gen.
“We can’t — and we don’t want to — make ten giant blockbuster games at the same time. We’re absolutely making another Rainbow 6. We’ve already said so. We just, as we enter this new generation, have to make sure we make the right game at the right time with the right feature sets.
“And Rainbow 6 got caught in the transition of going to next-gen and essentially we’re figuring out ‘well, are we making the right game for the right hardware systems?’ And you know, on Watch Dogs, the guys have been working on that game and it’s always been a next-generation game in their minds and the way they were designing it. And at the end of the day when the specs showed up for next generation, they had guessed right. That’s not always the case.
Key continued, reiterating the importance of the franchise. It all sounds like a case of shifting priorities as Ubisoft focuses on more ambitious projects that aim to be more connected and more social. It begins with Watch Dogs which integreates single-player and multiplayer world seamlessly in its cyber hacker universe and we’re seeing that translate into an even more connected experience with the just-announced The Crew and The Division, both games which turn narrative-experiences into MMOs that can be played co-op, but where other players exist. From the limited info of Rainbow Six, it perhaps needs to be revamped with new ideas and more of these similar features.
They did promise that the game would change the first-person formula, but we also heard about key creative personnel being replaced, which was our first indication that there wasn’t a clear plan in place for the game’s design and development. Head honcho Yves Guillemot also hinted late last year that the game was being pushed towards being a next-gen title, hyping it up by saying it’ll “surprise” the industry.
A new Ghost Recon is in development and Rainbow 6 will eventually be on its way too. One of the two will likely show up at next year’s E3, but if it’s Rainbow, we don’t know if it’ll keep the “Patriots” subtitle.
What would you like Ubisoft to offer in a next-gen Rainbow 6? It’s a safe bet it’ll feature full co-op and competitive multiplayer elements with a companion app.
Let me know on Twitter @rob_keyes.