James fell in love with Rainbow Six Siege at launch and, despite one outlying instance, fared well with its matchmaking and balancing. Other players were less fortunate, though, thus leveling the playing field and getting players into fights asap fast became Ubisoft's priority.
Siege is approaching its second year anniversary, and is now one of the biggest online shooters around. Chatting to us at Gamescom, Ubi's Alexandre Remy acknowledges Siege's initial failings and that patience was always something, sales permitting, the developer wanted to embrace and in turn relay to its players.
"I totally get what those mixed feelings, receptions and reviews about the game came from—they were within reason," says Remy. "[Speaking of] matchmaking, it was maybe not on par with what it is today. In short: the reception of the game we launched in 2015 was deserved. Then again, a year and a half on and we are in a very different place. The game has grown two to three times, we hit 20 million unique players a couple of weeks ago, we have to every day 2.5 million players that are playing—so it's in a very different place now.
"When we conceived the game, we knew we were building a game that was growing in terms of its number of operators, maps, meta, balancing. We knew, or hoped, that as it matured it was going to get better, but, then again, we had to remind players to be patient. The game is like a good bottle of Bordeaux, which is to say if you let it age a little longer it should get better."
Siege is the best Rainbow Six game in years, and I for one am pleased to have watched it grow into the mainstay it's become. But the first-person shooter spectrum is rife with good games that've failed to capture and maintain their audiences—Titanfall 2 being one of the best modern examples.
I therefore ask Remy if he and his team were every worried Siege wouldn't realise its potential, particular against its divisive beginnings.
"You can never be sure about anything, I suppose. We had wishes, we had dreams about how the game would develop into the future. We knew in terms of design and content what we wanted to do. We wondered if the game was going to be played by enough people, and in turn whether or not it'd be worth continued investment.
"Today, I feel pleased and appeased because we have much more players now than we had in the past but also now we can play ahead into the future with much more serenity. It's easier now to say: what do we want in the next two, three years. I think it gives us a degree of long-term serenity to deploy the vision."
As Remy suggests in our full interview, Siege plans to eventually include 100 Operators and, if the demand is there, will continue to add from there.