Ubisoft brought Rainbow Six back in a big way yesterday. But as the saying goes, if you want to make an omelette, sometimes you have to break a few faces. And so it went for Rainbow Six: Patriots, announced all the way back in 2011, which fell victim to what Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said was an industry-driven shift away from single-player game development.
As good as yesterday's Rainbow Six Siege gameplay trailer was, it left one rather big question unanswered: What happened to Patriots? Speaking to CVG just ahead of Ubisoft's E3 press event, Guillemot said the company realized that it "needed to go first with multiplayer," and that with a new Rainbow Six game it was necessary to "lead with multiplayer first and then make single-player from that."
"The only chance we had to come with something that would be impressive in the online FPS arena was to have 60 frames-per-second and no limits imposed by having single-player. That's what made us change direction," he said. The decision was difficult because it meant writing off an awful lot of work, but Guillemot said that the days when a studio could survive by releasing games to middling success are over.
"Before we could say, 'OK, we'll still sell a couple of million units and monetize our investment'," he said. "Today if you are not at the right quality level, nobody will buy. Nobody will like it."
Rainbow Six Siege will in fact have a single-player campaign , but will it matter? If multiplayer is the focus and single-player is seen as a "limitation," then why not just let it be? In the same way that not every story-based shooter needs a multiplayer component (even though most of them get one), strapping a half-baked single-player campaign onto a game designed from the start as an online experience isn't going to impress anyone. Maybe it will be solid, but I'm inclined to think the greater likelihood is that it'll be an afterthought.