For the four years Rainbow Six Siege has existed, colorblind fans have been begging Ubisoft for a visual mode that evens their playing field. In 2019, Ubisoft said it had no plans for such a feature. But speaking to art director Alex Karpazis at the Six Invitational 2020, he told me that the studio is currently “making efforts” on a solution for colorblind players.
“We’re working on something right now,” Karpazis said. “We want it to be as accessible as possible to all of our players, so we’re making efforts on that.” Karpazis didn’t offer any other details, including when we can expect to see the feature in-game. While this news is encouraging, this isn’t the first time Ubi has made a similar promise.
All the way back in March 2018, community developer Craig Robinson said the studio was “working towards correcting” the state of accessibility in Siege. That work never materialized in-game, so some skepticism at this new commitment is fair. Just in the past year, posts from colorblind players have averaged two per month on Siege’s official subreddit. The request isn’t unreasonable—Siege is one of the only multiplayer games around without colorblind accommodations.
For players with colorblindness, Siege can feel like a different game. Depending on your type of colorblindness, certain operator skins and reticles can disappear into wall textures. Many players report difficulty seeing the thin red tripwires of claymores, a catastrophic disadvantage that can easily get you killed in Siege. Most multiplayer games mitigate this problem with simple color filters for the most common types of colorblindness. Others go above and beyond, like Overwatch’s extensive color options (seen below).
Every competitive game requires different tuning. After all, color filters could be misused by non-colorblind players to get an unfair advantage. Ubisoft’s official recommitment to accessibility is reassuring, but the lack of details from Karpazis gave me the impression that the colorblind feature is still in early stages. Hopefully, this one will stick.