Ubisoft officially announced that Rainbow Six Mobile was in the works back in April this year, and followed that up by announcing in August that Android users will be able to access the beta version of the game soon. The game has been developed by Ubisoft Studios in Montreal which developed the PC and console version and has been assisted by Kyiv, Winnipeg, Pune, Quebec, Chengdu, Halifax, Shanghai, Owlient, Redlynx and Bucharest studios as well.
The closed beta of Rainbow Six Mobile went live back in September with additional rounds of beta and players being added in the following days. With the beta version of the game live, the initial impressions of players were out and most congratulated the team for translating a versatile and complex FPS like Rainbow Six Siege to a platform like Mobile which has its limitations in terms of controls.
The game brings limited content from the PC and console version and has only three maps including Bank, Border and Clubhouse and nine operators each in Attack and Defence including the generic Recruit. The modes available are also limited at the moment.
These initial impressions also posed a lot of questions in the minds of players. I have been a long time player of Rainbow Six Siege and was able to play Rainbow Six Mobile Beta as well. I was presented the opportunity to place my questions about the game to Creative Director, Justin Swan, and Lead Game Designer, Olivier Albarracin. And here are the questions I placed to them and what they replied back.
I’ll begin by asking about one of the most basic questions and concerns and that is about how difficult was translating the game from a versatile platform like PC and console to Mobile? And what were the main concerns when developing for a platform like Mobile?
The two biggest challenges were around tech and design. From a tech perspective Siege gameplay is just incredibly demanding from both a memory and CPU demand. Large complex maps, 5v5 real time PvP with 10 unique operators, and procedural destruction are a very demanding recipe! Thankfully we have an amazing team of engineers who have worked magic to bring the game to life on a large range of devices. Regarding design challenges, there are a few things that make the mobile experience different from a PC or console experience that we had to take into account.
From a gameplay perspective we wanted to make the battlefield as clear as possible to accommodate the smaller screen, some of which will be covered with the players fingers. This means creating brighter operator skins with more differentiated silhouettes, adding outlines to enemy operators so they stand out on the field, and overall de-cluttering the maps and reducing very fine details like thin bars across windows or railings on stairs. We also have worked to reducing the session length as much as possible by shortening round length, speeding up some animations, and defaulting to a best of 3 match.
Destructibility of the environment is one of the hallmark features of an FPS like Rainbow Six Siege. While playing the beta variant of the game for Mobile, we noticed that destructibility had been toned down to just soft walls, why is this the case?
We do also have many destructible floors in our maps as well, but we do have less overall
destruction than Siege. A major reason for this is because we wanted to do destruction on mobile right, which means it had to be fully procedural and give as much player autonomy as possible. This also means that it’s a very CPU intensive feature, and in combination with the unpredictable and long lines of sight that can be opened up with destruction, we had to mildly reduce some areas to achieve our device support goals. That said we have been very careful with any map changes made to ensure the same deep level of strategy and tactics is still present for every single objective location.
The operators available currently are a mix of those that were introduced to the game initially and those introduced in later operations. What was the policy when selecting the initial operators for R6Mobile?
As with many decisions we make in designing the game this came down to three components – The community sentiment, actual player data, and the dev teams own intuition. This led us to choosing a mix of operators that are the most beloved and iconic, the most played with good W/L ratios, and the best for our “starter” gameplay balance.
While Operators on the PC and console version of the game can be unlocked by paying, this is not the case for R6Mobile where players need to earn tickets and expend them to fully unlock Operators. What was the thinking behind this approach?
In future releases of the game players will have the option to simply purchase any operator immediately with in-game currency. We feel that the “try before you buy” approach, and the ability to unlock an operator permanently with enough tries, is a great new way for players to experience the full breadth of the game with no need to monetize.
The game is in beta and is understandably bare bones, but we notice that there are no skins for weapon and operator available in the game. Any plans of introducing those with the full launch of the game?
You can expect to see a fully features weapon and operator customization system to be coming in future releases!
While playing R6Mobile, we did come across players who are clearly bots, have they been added to the game to just be part of the beta version or will they be present in the main version of the game?
Onboarding new players into the game was a major focus during our development. Considering the challenging and unique gameplay of Siege we believe that having a more safe environment for players to get the hang of core mechanics would allow more people to become advanced level players instead of being turned off by quickly losing their first several games. Because of this we do have some bot matches for very new players. What we clearly see, and know ourselves though, is that fully staffed 5v5 matches with all human players is by far the most enjoyable and rewarding way to play, so our goal is to quickly have players getting both fast matchmaking and non-AI matches going.
R6Mobile currently has a mix of modes with the extended multiple attack and defense rounds mode being only available on weekends? Any plans to introduce extended multiple round modes like competitive on R6Mobile?
We are very excited about the live operations capabilities and gameplay flexibility we have built into Rainbow Six Mobile! The weekend modes you are seeing now is just a taste of what we have to come so expect to see all sorts of cool game modes from the fun and quirky to the hard core and competitive.
I will end on a general note, the game currently feels like it still needs more work in terms of the finesse that we Rainbow Six Siege players are used to. Given that, are we looking at an extended beta timeline? And when can we expect the game to launch for everyone?
While we cannot comment on the world wide release date yet, we can say that there are countless improvements and optimizations still in the works and coming to the game in future releases. The team is super passionate and focused on “quality of quantity” and want to ship as polished of a gem as possible in the near future. We also believe that Rainbow Six Mobile is a living breathing game and once we are live it will be in large part up to the community where the game goes and what sort of additions and improvements the dev team makes.