The Spike VGX took place last weekend, hosting a series of world premiere trailers and a few announcements. Using that as a point of reference, it’s hard to believe it’s been two full years since Ubisoft unveiled Rainbow 6: Patriots at the 2011 Spike Video Game Awards after a series of leaks earlier that year.
In the time since, despite the release of conceptual (but working) gameplay footage, artwork and story information, development on the next Rainbow 6 game hit a few hurdles. There were rumors that it was canceled but in truth, as we learned this summer after E3, it was being re-worked to better fit the next-gen consoles and plans for the studio. After all, they already had a pile of Triple-A games in development with one of them being the launch of another new Tom Clancy IP in The Division – arguably the most impressive game revealed this summer.
IGN spoke with Ubisoft’s North American president Laurent Detoc who hinted that it was internal debate as to the quality and direction of the project that caused the production halt and reboot.
“We had a core team. They had a good vision. They got started, and then the game wasn’t working. So [they had] to start again. There’s an editorial group in Ubisoft, a big group, very influential. If the game is not good enough, they say it’s not good enough. Most of the time, the team will say, ‘yeah, I know.’ But sometimes they want to continue in a direction where you say, ‘no, it’s not going to work.’”
“Rainbow had to be remade. Now they’re going to have the benefit of the new consoles, if and when it comes out. It’s one of those examples where you try, it doesn’t work, you try again. If it doesn’t work, we’re not going to bring it to you.”
There were layoffs of several of the project leads which indicates that that was some conflict surrounding the direction of the franchise and now it’s safe to say it was rebooted. It may not even keep the Patriots subtitle. Detoc continues, explaining that it’s possible that the name could change depending on the setting and antagonists but wouldn’t give details.
It could be a long while before Rainbow 6 returns, especially after the lower-than-expectations sales numbers of other staple Tom Clancy franchise Splinter Cell this year. There’s no word on a new Ghost Recon title either so perhaps Ubisoft is simply looking to new brands for the next-gen systems, led by The Division, The Crew and the recently delayed Watch Dogs. And it’s a safe bet Far Cry 4 is in the works as well alongside the few Assassin’s Creed games.
Do you want a new Rainbow Six game? What style of gameplay should Ubisoft aim to deliver? Shoot the reboot the franchise from scratch and bring back the tactical gameplay and planning of the original?
For more, check out our previous report on what happened with Rainbow 6: Patriots.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.