Rainbow Six Siege: Jerome Lasserre Team leade Speak About The Game

Siege was announced with its multiplayer mode front and centre, but just to clear things up is it a multiplayer only game?

No. Not at all. It’s not a multiplayer only game. The thing is, we understood early on that we had to nail the multiplayer game. It has to be fun, it has to be coherent and it has to work, and for all of that to work we need to focus on it exclusively first.

The project began 18 months ago, and during that period we spent most of that time exclusively on multiplayer. We didn't consider the graphics aspect of it we did a lot of prototypes that were purely gameplay. All the beautiful destruction that you see right now started by actually being only blocked walls; you could have a wall that was either on or off, you could just put something on it that didn't look like a charge, then you’d press explode and the wall would just disappear. But it proved the gameplay.

And all the reasoning we have had in the team since the beginning is: ‘just make sure the gameplay is strong and coherent and everything works together’. If it does that for the multiplayer, then we’ll be able to bring all of that gameplay over in the single player aspects of the game, which there will be. So there’s going to be single player aspects [and] there’s going to be co-op aspects, of which we chose not to talk about today, but is definitely in the works.

Siege was once Rainbow Six: Patriots but was rebooted 18 months ago. Why did that happen? What ultimately led to the project being rebooted?

Well, making a game in itself is a pretty complex endeavor, and it's not the first time a project doesn't get to the actual ship date. Basically we had a good team of people working really hard on the project, but for many reasons it just didn't come to fruition and we didn't feel that we had a game that was up to par with what we wanted the players to feel when they played it. If we were going to do a game that we weren't super proud of, of course we didn't want our players to have that.

It was a hard decision. At the same time it, was a super good decision. The call was made and we started from scratch, we changed all the deadlines, or removed them. We changed the concept. We changed a whole lot of the team as well and a lot of new blood came into the team. Everything was put in shapes that we could make it work, basically.

Was that a scary process? A liberating process? What was the mood like on the team when the reset button was pressed?

Well, as with any big change I’m sure some people didn't like the idea of it and some people liked it better. In my case, this was an opportunity for me to join the team. I was on the Assassin’s Creed brand for a long time before and it was super interesting as well, but for me it was an occasion to jump on a new project that felt like the underdog, and try and see how we could make it work. That was super-interesting and I think most people generally agreed that something had to be done to make sure that the project went somewhere. So we were happy with the decision.

So every E3 Ubi famously has a secret project to unveil at the end of its press conference. When did you find out that Siege was going to be that game this year?

I think pretty early on we were very confident that we had strong gameplay and that we had something of great value in our hands. Xavier Marquis, our creative director, he has a very strong convincing power and he combines this with a very focused thought process. When he presented us the core ideas of his new concept for the game, pretty quickly everybody said, ‘oh yeah, this is awesome. This is really going to work’.

From that point on we made a bunch of prototypes and we gave ourselves some objectives, each month, to show some specific aspects that would really be core to the game and really help us answer questions about what it is that this game needs to be. And from month to month you could see very good progress. At E3 last year we were already pretty sure that this was something that was going to happen for us this year. So almost a year ago we already knew that we had something great in our hands.

We see shades of Counter-Strike in Siege. We see shades of SWAT 4. We see shades of Rogue Spear… Is there anything in particular you got inspiration from?

I think that the core inspiration is really, simply, Rainbow Six. And a lot of people have said that this since we showed the game. This is really completely different [to what we’ve done before], but it’s really a pure Rainbow Six game. It really feels Rainbow-ish. Rainbow-ee..?

What Xavier managed to do is really identify what it is that makes a Rainbow Six game; really defines its identity. It comes down to, essentially, that Siege and all of the other previous games of Rainbow have had that core of opposing forces. And it was just by boiling them down to the essentials that we came to Siege’s gameplay, which is, I think, very fun to play.

How complete is Siege as it stands?

Right now, we’re still pretty early in the process. We’re working on a lot of content; there’s still a lot of game design [to do] and we’re going to be pushing a lot of other stuff. We’re also working on all the single-player and co-op aspects of the game that we haven’t shown yet, so there’s still a very, very big amount of work to do.

What’s your favourite aspect of what we’ve been playing in our multiplayer demo? What’s jumping out at you any tactics that people are using, or any surprising way in which they're tackling the game?

I didn't anticipate the amount of impact that the real time destruction engine provides in terms of gameplay. I knew it was interesting but now that everything is so well polished and the details of this destruction affect the world, you can see people trying to do things that are really awesome.

Some of the demos, they’re not staged but they’re planned in advance. We have a certain number of [things] we’d like to showcase, so we have guidelines and they try to essentially go and do a few things; but the gun fights are real. They shoot at each other and they try to kill each other for real. You see sometimes a guy who’s said: ‘oh he’s on the other side of the wall, shoot through the wall either to shoot him or to get a view on him’. This is all-new. This is completely new and to me that’s a complete surprise that we can get that level of quality and fun, just with a single mechanic.

We’ve actually had a lot of people play the game up until now. Internally we try to put the game in as many hands as we can. The goal is to make sure that the gameplay we think is fun is actually fun for people to play. A good aspect in the game we have so far, and we’re going to keep pushing, is the fact that it is pretty easy to start playing it and have fun pretty quickly, yet you can really see the people who have been playing a lot [who] have so many moves that we didn't think of. It’s fun to see the depth of the game.

The variety of situations that can occur are also very interesting, because we’ve been playing a lot on that one map and there’s so many things that happen that we didn't think of. This is super-exciting.

It seems that Siege is, in the best way possible, built around very basic ideas. Fundamentally, just a few basics, and when they come together it seems mad that it’s not been done before by anyone else, yet it’s not until you play it that you see that…

Yeah. You’re totally right, I think there’s something very basic about all these design decisions that were made, and that’s why it really feels new.

It’s sometimes hard to say it’s completely different to any other games: you can define it with the same words that you would use defining the original Rainbow Six. Yet the gameplay is completely different. There are a few aspects the one life for instance, the fact that you have only one life when you’re playing that add a lot of tension to the game. You really fear for your life when you’re in that situation [and] you want to keep your player alive.

At the same time, when you’re dead you can still participate in the game. You’re still an active member of your team and that makes it very less hardcore than it could be, because you’re still part of the game and you’re having as much fun by coaching the others and telling them where they should be careful and what moves they should do.

So you don't mute dead players then?

No, no, no! The dead player is still an active part of the gameplay. We call his role the handler: he’s essentially tasked with looking at the security cameras and coaching the other players. He should be saying, ‘you should go that road’, or, ‘watch out, there’s a player behind you!’ He’s an active member of the team.

The last few Rainbow Six games snapped you into third-person for cover situations that doesn’t seem to be present in Siege. Is there any reason for that?

We're aiming for a lot more realism. And the cover system… a lot of people liked it, and it was fun in Vegas as well, but the global thought is it brings us out of the fantasy of what Rainbow Six is.

It’s really about counter terrorist units in a realistic setting. Having very close quarters combat interactions. And the cover system brings you out of that world again: it gives you a global view which you wouldn't have as that character in that setting. So having everything back in your own head you can see only your first-person view, that gives you the real perspective you would encounter in that situation.

Can you give us a teaser perhaps about the scenarios or environments that we might be fighting in next year?

Are we always going to have the, how was it phrased… the ‘harmless girl’ to rescue? No, we’re not going to have only that. There are going to be different hostage situations, different scenarios, different situations with hostages and there’s certainly going to be other objectives than hostages.

We’re going for the fantasy of the counter-terrorist units, and they can encounter a bunch of different situations in a bunch of different settings. What’s going to be the overarching semantics, if you will, is the violence: it’s going to be generally close-quarters, very high tension, very high lethality. The gameplay is always going to be teamwork first. It’s going to be very, very different if you don’t play as a team and, generally speaking, it’s going to be almost impossible if you don't do it properly as a team.

Everything is going to be going in that direction. I can’t say a lot more about the actual settings, but it’s going to be interesting and varied.

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