Xavier Marquis on the future of Rainbow Six: Siege


Here to stay.

Rainbow Six Siege first launched in 2015 and is now going into its third year of content having sold over 25 million copies – making it one of Ubisoft’s most successful titles in recent years. Stevivor had the chance to talk to the Creative Director on Rainbow Six: Siege, Xavier Marquis. We asked Marquis about the success of the game and Ubisoft’s continued support of Siege as opposed to churning out a sequel.

“We aimed for this result, but I’m surprised by the pace of how it grew so fast,” Marquis said. “To be honest I was very surprised by that. We designed everything so that we could stay around for a very long time, but it is growing fast than what we expected.”

“I’ve been working at Ubisoft for 10 years now but I come from a strong PC culture extremely influenced by games from over 15 years ago. I played StarCraft, Warcraft and DOTA – I’m a huge multiplayer fan by nature. When Ubisoft offered me the opportunity to be the creative director on this project I said, ‘Okay, but I’m going to do what I know’. Which is a game you have installed for a very long time without a sequel but is still supported. That is my DNA.”

With Marquis aiming to have 100 playable operators in the game there is a lot of work going into making sure it’s balanced. While some games like to balance from the casual side up, Rainbow Six: Siege is looking at the professional players first, and then letting things trickle down; except for Tachanka – he just can’t seem to find love anywhere.

“Our game is balanced for the top players first,” Marquis said. “Mainly the meta is designed for those top players, and afterwards we can work on specific game mechanics which can be used for the casual players. But first we are always working with the competitive setting in mind.”

“Sometimes we release operators to counter others, but this time [with Operation Chimera] that’s not the case. It’s really 2 mechanics that we have never had before which are global abilities. It is a family of gameplay mechanics that I really want to have in the game. It’s my job and goal to have mechanics which are insane in terms of potential.”

“When a team is owning, they can pick Tachanka as a kind of handicap to say, ‘I’m so good, that I’m going to beat you with Tachanka’. We have a lot of debates about Tachanka. But also have to consider that he is a kind of God, for a reason that we never decided. Honestly, it’s not on our side, it was a community pressure on this character, so we were very surprised to see this. Never did we imagine that Tachanka would become this type of symbol of the game.”

Balance updates and gameplay changes are an important aspect of the recent games of a service push. The Rainbow Six: Siege team feel that it is vital to communicate as clear as possible about what updates are going into the game, which is why they have some of the best patch notes you’ll see.

“Transparency is always important, it’s a specific philosophy we have on this project and we don’t want to differ the communication that we do internally and externally,” Marquis said. “If we are saying something internally we should be able to say the same thing externally. So patch notes is something for the community, but it is also something very much for us because they are milestones in our development. So yes we are trying to talk equally to community, the same way we would talk to our developers by using the same words and the same communication.”

Esports is very much apart of Rainbow Six: Siege and will be here to stay for a while with Ubisoft confirming support for the next two years of competitive play. One of the big changes which will be introduced soon in competitive matches is the new pick and ban phase of the game, something which was influenced from DOTA.

“It’s been my dream since I released the game. We didn’t have the time to do it back then and it would have been a bit too extreme,” Marquis said. “When we shipped in 2015 hero shooters weren’t really a thing, there were I think maybe 2 that existed. There were some which were in development but they have not stuck around, it’s really only us and Overwatch that are making an impact at the moment. We were also the only ones with a unique pick. Because I come from the DOTA culture I added the unique pick since the beginning. I imagined that we would have picks and bans in the game but at that stage it was too early.”

The road map for year three has already been set out. We know that after Operation Chimera, six more operators will be deployed but unfortunately no Australian’s are on that list – even though the Rainbow Six: Siege team made the mistake of saying they’ve got operators from every continent. So where are the Australians, and what does this weird map in the Ubisoft office look like which is missing one the largest countries in the world?

“I’m sure it will happen,” Marquis said. “I have no doubt about it. I don’t know when, but we will do it.”

Rainbow Six: Siege and its latest update, Operation Chimera, are available now on Windows PC, Xbox One and PS4.

Luke Lawrie travelled to Montreal for the Rainbow Six: Siege Invitational 2018 as a guest of Ubisoft.