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People attend the Electronic Arts (EA) World Premiere: E3 2014 Preview press conference at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, June 9, 2014. (DAVID MCNEW/REUTERS)
People attend the Electronic Arts (EA) World Premiere: E3 2014 Preview press conference at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, June 9, 2014. (DAVID MCNEW/REUTERS)

Ubisoft retools Rainbow Six series for next-gen consoles Add to ...

Next-generation consoles aren’t just opportunities for brand-new game franchises to be launched, they also provide a good chance to reboot existing series. Or so Ubisoft believes with the upcoming reimagining of its long-running Rainbow Six property.

Aiming for a 2015 release, Ubisoft’s key Montreal studio is now working on Rainbow Six: Siege, a primarily multiplayer shooter focusing on close-quarter encounters.

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“If you look at long-range battle, you will find Battlefield. If you’re looking for short- to medium-range battle, you will find Call of Duty,” said creative director Xavier Marquis at a press preview event at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. “In the short range, no one exists but us.”

Siege will pit two teams of up to five players each against each other in tightly confined building interiors. Teams will either have to defend a stronghold, which they can fortify with barricades, explosives and traps, or they’ll have to scout out the building and breach it.

The matches will also have modifiers in the form of additional goals, with one team having to defuse a bomb or rescue a hostage, for example.

The stars of the game will of course be the Rainbow teams, or elite counter-terrorist units comprised of soldiers from around the world. Their opponents will be – who else? – the terrorists.

While previous entries in the series focused on single-player-controlled squad combat, the reboot is being designed first as a multiplayer experience. The solo campaign will be added once that core gameplay is working, Mr. Marquis said.

The action will be fast-paced and dynamic, he added, with the beefed-up horsepower of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles allowing for fully destructible environments.

That will make for frenzied combat as players will be able to breach rooms through floors or walls, rather than just pre-ordained doorways or other entry points, as has been the case in previous-generation games.

Mr. Marquis, who has previously worked on the Killzone series for Amsterdam-based Guerilla Games, has had a team at Ubisoft Montreal working on Rainbow Six: Siege for the past year and a half.

The game is currently in pre-production, with 150 staff working on it. Full production will ramp up over the next few months, he said.

Paris-based Ubisoft has made a habit of unveiling surprises at E3, with the announcement of the open-world hacker adventure Watch Dogs two years ago and the unveling of Tom Clancy’s The Division, an action-adventure role-playing game, at last year’s show.

Montreal-developed Watch Dogs recently set a record as the company’s fastest-selling original game while The Division, in production at the Ubisoft Massive studio in Sweden, is scheduled for a 2015 release.

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