Ubisoft weighs in on Rainbow Six Siege’s divisive two-second defender exit window

Nathan Lawrence 11 April 2017

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Creative director Xavier Marquis and brand director Alexandre Remy weigh in on Rainbow Six Siege’s divisive defender out-of-bounds timer.

Ubisoft Montreal admits that it’s taking a closer look at the two-second free-pass window in Rainbow Six Siege when defenders are leaving their defensible structure.

Part of the appeal of Rainbow Six Siege’s highly competitive multiplayer is its asynchronous nature. Defenders are tasked with protecting one or two rooms of interest in a structure, plane or luxury yacht, while attackers try their best to assault those rooms. Attackers start outside and defenders are completely blocked from exiting the structure they’re defending during the preparation phase.

Once the attacking phase starts, though, defenders are free to leave the structure they’re defending and they’re not identified to attacking players until two seconds later. By combining some speedy-exit know-how with latency realities, these two seconds can technically be stretched a bit longer. Considering Rainbow Six Siege is a high-lethality shooter with a low time to kill, seconds can be the difference between digital life and death.

While the "defender leaving the structure" mechanic has clearly been designed as a risk/reward tactic that can make for exciting play, it’s also currently being used for unintended spawn killing. Defenders can take a gamble on choosing the attacker’s randomised (between fixed points) spawn zone, exit a window or door closest to that area and lob C4 over objects to potentially score free and cheap kills that the attackers have little chance of counteracting.

Given the divisive nature of the tactic among the Rainbow Six Siege community, we were eager to know what creative director Xavier Marquis thought about it. Here’s what he had to say:

When the game first came out, there was a five-second window where you were allowed to leave as a defender before you were spotted. That was changed to two seconds. I’ve noticed in more mainstream (non-hardcore) games, that it's still considered to be quite controversial. That people feel that defenders should stay in the building. What are your thoughts on it? Have you talked about changing it, or are you happy with where it’s at now?

No, no, no, no. Today, still, internally, we are thinking about a lot of things. You have no idea of all the potential topics we are exploring. We also have a lot of phases, for instance, specifically for this feature. “But why not have no time at all?” So that as soon as you get out, you can be detected and stuff. Yes, but we need to be patient. It’s something that we learnt from a different point of view.

We learnt that, oh, okay, it’s better to take a bit of time, play test it internally, do a lot of tests instead of trying it directly on the community. We want to take the time and release it so it’s meaningful for the community. And doing some tests that – yes, trust me, we are exploring tonnes of things, even on the operators, a lot of tests on things we are noticing every day that we want to explore. The operator system, trust me, it’s insane for that.

At the end of our interview with brand director Alexandre Remy, he asked what we’d like to see changed in Rainbow Six Siege and we mentioned the two-second timer. Here’s what Remy had to say on the topic:

We’d like to see some changes to the timer for defenders leaving the building, mainly because of defenders that run outside to spawn kill at the start of the round. It’s tough, this one. Maybe we should go see the research lab and ask them about exactly that. If there are any sort of learnings we can get. Because these are purely opinions on pros and cons. But when I say, “Yeah, it’s super cool because certain defenders roam and change the state of the match by roaming outside, taking a high risk and it’s a high reward." At some point at some times, it happens to be, like, “Guys, come on!” Especially at the point where it’s almost spawn killing.

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