Rainbow Six Siege interview: how destruction works, moddability, hostage design

PCG: As a PC player I'm curious if I'll be able to mod Siege ; it seems like it would be a great fit for people to make their own maps and scenarios and things like that. Is this something you have talked about?

Witts: We haven't really gone too much into detail on custom or user-generated content. Again, we are pre-alpha, right, so we want to make sure that we are iterating on the gameplay first. We don't want to get too ambitious too early or go in all these different directions. We're here pretty much just showing off the base gameplay and if the community really opens up and they really want the series to go in any certain direction, we are going to listen to them. This is a very iterative game. We've gone through iterations of the game. That's why we're [at E3] with our pre-alpha build showing exactly how far we've come and what we have. We think it's really special. We are going to keep our ear to the ground and make sure we listen to the community and what they want, especially the fans. It's been a while. We've heard a lot of things and so being back, we're making sure we are going to listen to the community and what they want.

PCG: The destruction modeling is terrific, but I'm curious how it interacts with the bullet damage. Does shooting through a wall deal less damage? Does bullet caliber come into play versus wall material?

Witts: Yeah so the destruction system is a really cool thing because it's at the center of the gameplay. How the destruction system works is based on material, so whatever you're shooting, or exploding the material, it reacts the way material should react. If you are placing a breaching charge on a wooden floor, as you saw in the game you just played, the wood breaks and splinters and is cut based on how it would be with the explosion. The same thing with the shotgun blast on the gypsum wall [aka drywall], the wall is cut and explodes the way gypsum would. We also have layers inside our wall too, so right now if you notice, there's wooden planks in there, so gypsum, wood, gypsum is the layered wall. If you shoot actually though the wall the bullet will hit every material and the bullet will react based on how it hits certain materials. We do have a bullet penetration system that's part of the destruction system. That does come into play, gameplay-wise right now.

PCG: So, with the understanding that it could change, but is it safe to say that shooting through a wall with a pistol will deal less damage as opposed to something more powerful, like a sniper rifle.

Witts: Yeah, as of right now, we have a caliber is part of the penetration system so it's like the match of caliber in the material, too. We want to make it as realistic and fun as possible and we don't want any super bullets flying through the map.

PCG: You got to find that balance between expectation, balance, and realism, I'd imagine.

Andrew Witt: Also, it's part the fantasy too. Just because there are these huge Barrett .50-cals that the military has. When you have a hostage situation, are you going to want a bullet that goes through everything? It's all about matching up what makes sense in the gameplay and what Rainbow Six is all about and the bullet penetration system is an aspect of that. We want that hint of realism, but also we want it to be fun. We want our players to have that really kind of tactical aspect of decision making, even when it comes to shooting through walls and using the destruction system.

PCG: Andrew, thanks for your time.

Later, I talked to Olivier Couture, a Technical Artist on Siege who's worked at Ubisoft for eight years.

PCG: So at the beginning of each round, the attackers use tiny drones to scout the defenders' positions. This wasn't necessarily my experience, but some people might say like being able to see what your opponent is doing seems like imbalanced or something or kind of unfair. How do you design around that to still make it a tough thing to execute?

Olivier Couture, Technical Artist: Well the drones are used for attackers but the defenders also have the security cameras. So, on each side they have observation tools. As for balancing, I mean, we've been doing a lot of playtests but we're still pre-alpha and we have a lot of iteration to do in the future. We're working very hard doing a lot of playtests and for sure, and every time we make an addition to the game like these gadgets, we really have to test it out and see how it goes.

PCG: What other types of environments are interesting to you other than the suburban house you're showing at E3?

Couture: We are thinking about other maps but nothing is set in stone so far. We want to make sure that the maps we are going to deliver really embrace the siege aspect. So, you're never going to see like super large maps and stuff like that. We're really into close-quarters combat but it's not to say that it's always going to be a house or suburban stuff. It's pretty cool because we all, like, we can relate to a house setting when you see an explosion. In the kids room, you see the toys fly and stuff like that. It's pretty cool.

PCG: Have you talked all about bringing back any classic Rainbow Six environments in this game?

Couture: There's discussion about it. I cannot really go into further details. But we've seen some people showing interest into bringing back classic maps, yes.

PCG: A specific question: can the defending team's static cameras be destroyed in that level?

Couture: As of now, no, but it's not to say that we're not thinking about that kind of stuff.

PCG: Got it. I'm also curious about how sound will operate in the game? Will I be able to hear footsteps through walls? Or will I be able to hear someone on the ceiling above me; is that something you are thinking about as well?

Couture: We have a dynamic implementation so like you can... If you create a hole, you are going to receive more sound from that room. So, it's fully dynamic. Myself, as a gamer, I really like to hear... I base my strategy around what I hear. So, we have a strong aspect in this. Like, also the destruction reflects the material that wall is made of and stuff like that. But we're really proud of that propagation system but I cannot really talk more about it.

PCG: Thanks, Olivier.

Evan Lahti
Global Editor-in-Chief

Evan's a hardcore FPS enthusiast who joined PC Gamer in 2008. After an era spent publishing reviews, news, and cover features, he now oversees editorial operations for PC Gamer worldwide, including setting policy, training, and editing stories written by the wider team. His most-played FPSes are CS:GO, Team Fortress 2, Team Fortress Classic, Rainbow Six Siege, and Arma 2. His first multiplayer FPS was Quake 2, played on serial LAN in his uncle's basement, the ideal conditions for instilling a lifelong fondness for fragging. Evan also leads production of the PC Gaming Show, the annual E3 showcase event dedicated to PC gaming.