Rainbow Six Siege, as we know, is a "one life" shooter: Once you're out, you're out for the balance of the round. It's something of an unusual approach in this day and age, but Ubisoft says the return to an old-school style of play has actually made the game a lot better.
The decision came about as a result of the constant domination of early test matches by the same developers, two in particular—Level Artist Chris Hendry and Gameplay Programmer Adam Crawley—who are both "fantastic solo players." Its impact was immediately felt, as they began to struggle while others improved their rankings.
"When you’re not allowed to respawn during a match, twitch reflexes aren’t the only skills that keep you alive. Teamwork, map awareness, planning, adaptability, communication, and leadership become just as important to win," Ubisoft wrote in the latest Rainbow Six Siege blog post. "To be completely straightforward, the game became a lot more stressful… It went from everyone leaning back in their chairs trash-talking, to being on the edge of their seats carefully coordinating tactics."
Designer Chris Lee said the studio initially thought that only hardcore shooter fans would like the change, but it proved to have a wider appeal because "it opened up the game to many different types of players." Pure run-and-gunners were left at a disadvantage because they weren't accustomed to playing as part of a team, while slower, more cautious players were able to have a greater impact. "[Tom Clancy shooters] utilize a complete skill set and the rest of the development team really liked that, since going back to its roots is what we wanted to do and the rule stuck," he explained. "It wasn’t something we predicted, and we were really happy with how it turned out."
Players who do get knocked out of the action will still be able to take part through the game's Support Mode, which enables the operation of "limited visibility tools" like drones and security cameras to keep their team apprised of the situation. And because matches are generally quite short, players won't stay dead for long anyway.
It's not a new concept by any stretch—Action Quake 2 was doing it back in the late 90s, and I'm sure there are other games predating that—but, Counter-Strike notwithstanding, it's a relatively rare style of play now. I wouldn't mind seeing Ubisoft bring it back in vogue, though, for precisely the reasons behind its expectations of success.
"It takes teamwork to win, and those with twitch reflexes are going to need other players to work well with, and vice versa," it wrote. "If you’re a hard-core-shooter kind of player, you’re going to have some new skills to learn, and ultimately become a better gamer."
Rainbow Six Siege is expected to be ready for launch next year.