Craig Robinson got a chance to explore the arena at the Rainbow Six Siege Paris Major and interview Siege’s game director Leroy Athanassoff about the game.
During the Paris Major, the venue was alive with different ways to engage with Siege inside and outside of the game. All interactions made Siege come to life, and that is what this arena tour and interview is about. Plus, unrelated to Rainbow 6 Siege, there were other promotional interactions to engage with.
The best part of the venue was how it captured the atmosphere of the game.
Walking around the arena, we found ourselves surrounded by props and decorations from the game’s various maps. Oil drums were dotted around, making it appear like a military training camp. Some features were taken straight from the game, like pop-up archways used in Bartlett University.
The kiosks were named after various bars within Club House and Coastline, making it fit with the stalls’ functions. Even their doors were decorated with the barricades that you place in game. These decals could be seen all over the venue, recreating that classic Siege environment.
Kafe Dostoievski is a map that features artwork in most of its rooms. In the venue, a wall called Dostoyevski gallery featured community artwork.
On the other side of the venue, there was a bank entrance. Inside, visitors used terminals to playtest the new Siege ops on local LAN games.
In the middle of the venue were rusted train carts seen in Theme Park. Inside, the staff were working, making personalised T-shirts with the option to add operator badges. Across the venue, there were multiple ways guests could win coupons to redeem their own stylised T-shirt.
And the star of the show: a sectioned off area where people got the chance to do tricks with drones. For those unaware, the main way attackers get information in the game is by scouting with drones. This course really brings to life one of the most-used mechanics in the game. Here is a video of it in action:
There were also VR kits around the venue, where visitors could fight each other in quick virtual deathmatches.
Legion had their own booth as a sponsor. To the side, their own PCs were set up, promoting their product with demos. They also offered fans the opportunity to get their face painted with various mythical monsters, like orcs and valkyr. They also had options for Siege-related facepaint, like Caveira.
Ubisoft also had their own merch store, selling team jerseys, their own Siege shirts and chibis.
Following on from the venue, ENUK interviewed Leroy Athabassof over the story behind characters, design processes and real-life events that inspire the Rainbow Universe.
The interview: RB6 Siege game director Leroy Athanassoff on the design process behind the game
Craig Robinson, Esports News UK: How often do design processes get influenced by events that have happened in the past or by real-life operations or military units?
Leroy Athanassoff, Ubisoft: I would say we have two processes for developing. These are the strategy, to develop a signature move or gadget, stuff like that. Then is it signature enough for us to iterate that into an operator? Like the mask of Vigil. We have this unique mask that makes a character faceless, and then it’s like, what does it mean?
Then we do a rationale game design, meaning we take an operator and make some iteration of them. So, for example we have Thermite and Hibana, and she is a variation of Thermite. Thermite blows up big walls and Hibana makes small holes, but they target the same thing. Because at the time we knew we needed to make a second one.
It’s all about driving for creating a strategy. So, let’s say Vigil again. We make his mask electronic, and ask: what sort of strategy can we make from that? And now we have Vigil in game driven from that strategy because that comes first.
When it comes to designing operators and maps for specific countries, what is it that makes you think to use Italy for last season and now America and Britain for this season of RB6? Is there a design focus for that or is it just themed?
Okay it’s different, because sometimes we know we want operators that have been designed to enter the game. This time we knew that we were going to the UK because we were reworking Hereford. So, we looked at pictures of regular forces maintaining peace. And hey, it’s been a while since we a shield. Okay, maybe we should try a defender with a shield and fit it into the country. So, we started to build Clash’s character like that.
There are characters within the game that fit well with the country they are from. Echo is Japanese, and they are big on technology, and Dokkaebi is South Korean, who are huge on phones. It feels like you’ve used this to build a connection between the two operators to have an in-game interaction. What other ideas come to mind when you build these relations in game?
That’s kinda interesting because when we work with the narrative team, the narrative team came in after the game was getting success. So, when we shipped the game at the time, you know, it was about building the game up and maintaining it with the current team. And then Siege is what it has become today.
We had to remarket the game to do something new and the narrative team helps us do that. So, they look at the game and think ‘okay, what are the meaningful interactions in the gameplay?’ And then build a story upon that.
So, for example the interaction between Dokkaebi and Echo are not physical, so we can maybe do something specific. Maybe you can build something around that. The same happened with the example for Twitch and Mira. You know Twitch is the worst nightmare of Mira when you play. So, in terms of the narrative, it could be interesting if we create a special relationship between Mire and Twitch.
Sometimes it doesn’t work and there isn’t enough interaction between the characters, so we just create an iteration based specifically on the gameplay. But when we can, we want to support and build what is existing in the game. And also, what we are feeling when we play.
Playing as Thatcher, you know you’re the worst nightmare of a Mute. See what I mean? So, what we have is an IQ trying to spot a Vigil. So that’s kinda natural interaction between them.