What should Ubisoft do with Tachanka, Rainbow Six Siege's worst character?

Tachanka is Rainbow Six Siege's least popular operator and its most popular operator. As a defender, he's mostly useless. You'll only see him selected if you're playing with someone inexperienced, or someone who's intentionally trolling the other team. Data released by Ubisoft confirms this—Tachanka has the lowest pick rate throughout the lifespan of Siege, and often the lowest win rate among defenders. By far.

But as a meme, he's beloved: members of the Siege community refer to him as "Our Lord," among other godly designations. Tachanka is the heavy, loud, unsubtle, steel-helmeted Russian in a game that's often about speed, stealth, and trickery. He's natural comedic relief in an otherwise tense, serious FPS, and Tachanka appears plenty in Siege's memes and comics, like those drawn by prolific community artist SAU-Siege.

If you're Ubisoft, what do you do with a character like Tachanka in a competitive shooter? Game director Leroy Athanassoff addressed that question in the Q&A portion of a panel at the Game Developers Conference yesterday in San Francisco.

"The design issue is, this game was made in a context where, when we were working on it, we didn't know how Siege was going to be played. The core ability of Tachanka is deploying a turret, trading his whole movement ability to firepower. It's not something that works in Rainbow Six Siege. Because of the destruction, because of the entire game, not being able to move is not something that works."

From Ubisoft's panel, a graph showing pick and win rates for each operator for Year 2 Season 3 of Siege (mid 2017). Tachanka and Ela are massive outliers.

The core issue, Athanassoff believes, is that the logic of reworking Tachanka is at odds with the affection the community has for him, and that his identity as a meme has value. "The thing is that, if it was not 'Lord Tachanka,' we would have revamped the operator and maybe totally changed it, like maybe removed the turret and create something else. But at some point it kind of… he become, I would say, kind of a god for a lot of people," Athanassoff joked. "So we have this situation of if we really want to address it, we need to change it in a way that it won't be Tachanka anymore. It's kind of a difficult decision to make ... As the Lord is above us, I would say he's in a nice place right now."

While Ubisoft may not have plans to further buff or alter Tachanka, perhaps as an acknowledgement of that community love, we saw the Spetsnaz soldier as one of the handful of voiced characters in the recent cinematics for Siege's PvE Outbreak event, the closest thing to a story Siege has had in its more than two years since release. You can also find him in vinyl in the Ubisoft Store.