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Rainbow Six Siege game director talks Castle and Thatcher balance reworks

Morgan's tips for playing Rainbow Six Siege’s newest operators are a sure fire way to master the squad shooter's freshest faces. Designing new combatants seems like a daunting task—but game director Leroy Athabassoff explains reworking them post-launch is equally important and can be trickier still, particularly once players have settled into certain playstyles.  

To this end, Frost, Castle and Thatcher are in the process of being reworked.   

"We are currently working on a Frost rework," Athabassoff tells me. "We have some issues with Castle. With team coordination he's okay, but at normal player level he's really average. People call him the sixth attacker because he can harm his whole team. How many times do you come back from roaming and there's a Castle barricade, and you're like: Oh shit! You feel trapped by your own defender. 

"With the rework, we're trying to maintain what he does well, but, ultimately, he shouldn't harm his own team. With that in mind, we have some design ideas that we're working on. The last one that we're introducing with Grim Sky is Thatcher. We're introducing the disable electronics state. [Thatcher will] no longer be able to destroy cameras with EMP, but instead will be able to disable them. What does that mean for players? It means there's now a layer of complexity that you need to learn."  

To this end, I ask Athabassoff what it's like when players take on new operators and use them in ways the development team hadn't expected. He tells me I'm wrong to assume he and his team have pre-set ideas as to how players will play, and they're simply creating tools for the player to use as they see fit. 

"When you say we have an idea, that's not actually true," says Athabassoff. "I think that's something that makes working on Siege completely differently from working on another game. If you think of single-player games, you are always thinking about these things, yes: I want the player to feel this, I'd like them to feel that; when they do this, I want them to experience that. But when you work on a multiplayer game like Siege, it's really different because the player's experience is carved by the nine other players. 

"Instead, what we are doing is crafting tools that help the player to build their own player experience. This is where we need to be super focused. This is why every time we make an operator, we keep in mind that it's a tool. A knife is cool because it can do a number of creative things - you're not obliged to kill someone with a knife. We could add certain tools that make one player's experience better, but if it makes the other nine players' experiences worse, then, no, it's removed at the prototype phase."

Rainbow Six Siege's latest campaign, Operation Grim Sky, went live earlier this week