Debuting in 1998, the popular Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six series involves an international team of anti-terrorists that goes head-to-head against terrorist forces. However, (not counting the 2011 mobile game) the series seemed dormant after its last game, of Rainbow Six Vegas 2, released in 2008. However, the franchise is looking to make a big comeback with Rainbow Six Siege, which is set to release this winter and offers a fresh take on the intense gameplay.
Rainbow Six Siege recently completed a closed beta, where new players could try out some of the game’s features and gameplay before it officially launches. Although betas are primarily held so that developers can spot problems and make adjustments, they are also great for promoting the game and spreading excitement.
[a]listdaily speaks to Dominic DiSanti, Public Relations Manager at Ubisoft, to gain more insight about how betas impact a game’s promotion, and what other plans might be in store for the upcoming game.
How have the Rainbow Six Siege betas helped to spread interest in the game
We’ve held two major test phases in the lead up to December’s launch, the Closed Alpha on PC back in March, and the Closed Beta on all platforms in September. Most recently with the Closed Beta, the main objective was to test the online infrastructure and matchmaking with the largest number of players we’ve had in the game to date. Testing these areas was a major help so we know exactly what needs to be fixed in order to provide the best possible experience when the game is released on December 1.
While the goals of the Closed Alpha and Closed Beta were first and foremost technical in nature, we’ve also seen a spike in interest for Rainbow Six Siege following both test phases, especially with the Closed Beta as players, press and online content creators were eager to share their gameplay footage in the form of Twitch streams and YouTube videos. It was quite infectious for all of us on the production and marketing teams to see the fun and genuine excitement that players had while playing the Beta. We even decided to extend the Closed Beta a few extra days in order to give more people added time to play it along with their friends.
How do you handle the risk of revealing a game’s developmental warts during a beta
Showing a game before it is complete is always a risk from a perception standpoint. Aspects of the game that aren’t totally finished or polished may not always work as intended, and there is a chance that players may think that the incomplete state of an Alpha or Beta is representative of the final quality of the game when in fact it is not.
However, we’ve found that the core consumer audience tends to understand the purpose of these pre-launch test periods and are willing to excuse some of the rough edges since they realize that their feedback will enable us to create a much better final product. Ultimately, allowing the public to play a key slice of the game and collect their feedback allows us to tweak and balance the game to create a much better experience for players at launch, an effort that will continue well after the game’s initial release.
Will there be any interest in promoting Rainbow Six Siege as an eSport after it launches If so, how do you intend to take on long established games like Counter-Strike
We’ve developed a game that we believe has the proper foundation to allow for eSports competition. This includes the choice to run at 60 FPS in PVP multiplayer and the creation of a spectating tool, the Spectator Camera. In the end, it will be up to the community, players and organizations whether to make it into an eSport title or not. If there is a desire for eSport tools and support from the production side, we will be more than happy to provide it.
Has the Rainbow Six name made marketing Siege easier, or does nostalgia clash with the new game style
The Rainbow Six video game franchise certainly has a rich brand legacy. Many players consider it to be the godfather of tactical shooters and fondly remember their experiences playing previous Rainbow Six games, from the exhilaration of planning and executing a successful breach with their squad, to the thrill of teaming up with their friends to take down an entire team of enemies in a Terrorist Hunt match.
From the start of the project, we wanted to tap into the core elements of what made the Rainbow Six brand so special for long-time fans — high lethality, tactics, team play, and intense action — while also introducing the innovative new aspects of Siege, the asymmetrical confrontation of destruction versus fortification, and procedural destruction that allows players unprecedented freedom to destroy environments in realistic and meaningful ways. Rainbow Six fans have long been eager for a new entry in the series and we’re absolutely thrilled to deliver Siege to them and newcomers to the series this December.
How do you ensure that Rainbow Six Siege remains in the forefront of people’s minds amid rival competitive shooters like Star Wars: Battlefront and Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
This is undoubtedly one of the most crowded holiday seasons in recent memory with the slew of AAA shooters that are set to be released. We feel good about how the core elements of Rainbow Six Siege — the high lethality, tactical destruction, team play, and tension — differentiate the game from the competition and offer shooter fans a breath of fresh air. We’ve also seen this sentiment reflected time and time again in press coverage, from when it first won the Game Critics Award for Best PC Game at E3 2014, to the most recent round of previews.
We’ve specifically designed several marketing tactics to keep Rainbow Six Siege top of mind amid the crowded FPS marketplace. This summer, we held a competitive tour called The Siege Games at major gaming events around the United States including San Diego Comic-Con and PAX Prime where thousands of gamers formed teams and battled for the highest score in Rainbow Six Siege. Winners from each of The Siege Games events will assemble in Los Angeles on November 23 to show off their skills at our big launch celebration, Siege Day, which will be live streamed on twitch.tv/rainbow6.
At our E3 2015 press conference, we revealed that Academy Award-nominated actress Angela Bassett will take on the role of Six, the commander of Team Rainbow, in Siege. Mrs. Bassett’s involvement added a level of artistic credibility to the game and generated a tremendous amount of attention from both mainstream and endemic media during the game’s second E3 showing to ensure that it remained firmly entrenched on everyone’s collective radar.
Additionally, our partnership with Extra Life, a Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals fundraising program, had a total impact of over $80,000 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals throughout North America in 2015. Anyone who donated $6 or more to Extra Life received a code for guaranteed access to the Closed Beta. Donations help sick and injured kids in local communities and fund medical research and training, purchase life-saving equipment and pay for uncompensated patient care. It was a great way to channel the passion of the Rainbow Six fans for a great cause.
We also have other surprises in store that will be sure to grab consumer’s attention in the lead up to launch on December 1.