By Trenton Smith Posted February 19, 2012
Canadian studio Ubisoft Montreal (the Canadian office of French studio Ubisoft) is attempting to come back into the modern-first person shooter market with their first game in three years. And they are going to make it bigger and better than ever before.
Ubisoft Montreal is making one of the most groundbreaking and controversial storylines for a game in the history of the gaming industry. Patriots will ask you a question that will blow a crater in the gaming world forever: “Can you turn the weapons of war on your own countrymen?” This game won’t come out until 2013, but I can already tell that, as far as storylines go, it will be able to unseat events in games like the bombshell of a plot twist at the beginning of Batman: Arkham City (Hugo Strange knowing the true identity of Batman) and the betrayal in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (General Shepard ordering the annihilation of Task Force 141).
The base of said storyline is a mixture of actual facts and fictional characters. The fact is that the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that there was a massive increase in militias in just four years. In 2007, there were 43 militias in the United States. That figure increased massively in 2010. After four short years, the U.S. was home to nearly 300 different anti-government paramilitary groups. This has caught the attention of such government agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, the National Security Agency (NSA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and, of course, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). All of these agencies think that this increase could threaten the nation’s stability. The only thing keeping all of these different militias from being an actual threat is the one thing that Ubisoft Montreal is adding to make all of this information a single plot; one person to unite all of the paramilitary groups. And in Patriots, he is more dangerous to the U.S. than Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden were to the world combined.
This figurehead is known only as Tredway. He has seen government treachery firsthand and has information that proves it lies to its people. He has brought together all the different militias and called them the True Patriots. How is he more dangerous than Hitler and bin Laden? Because, with a single text, he can set off anything from a small bar fight to a massive riot anywhere in the U.S he wishes, anytime he wishes. He can basically put the United States into chaos with the push of a button. He is the U.S.’s equivalent to the world nightmare known as Vladimir Makarov from the “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” series. Only instead of causing a war between the U.S. and Russia, it’ll probably be just a second American Civil War. Slightly less horrible…it’ll have to do, I guess.
The creative director of Patriots, David Sears, lost his entire 401k in two days, so he is among the (real-life) people who are angry. However, instead of joining one of the militias like a lot of people, he is using it to the advantage of the game. That’s right, Rainbow 6 is going to make sure that the player sees as many angles of the story as possible. For the first time ever, the player will be able to take the role of one of the terrorists. Unlike the controversial “No Russian” mission in “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,” a lurid mission where players acted as an undercover CIA agent during an airport massacre, Ubisoft Montreal isn’t just interested in generating shock value. The team wants to create context around these True Patriot members to give you insight into what led them to join this group. According to Gameinformer magazine “These people all have mothers,” Sears told Gameinformer. “They want to be loved on some level, so we’re actually stepping back and letting you get to know some of these people. It’s very important to understand why they are doing the things they do, so we’re taking the time to present it in a thoughtful way so that by the end of the game you’ve experienced a terrorist event from multiple angles.”
Given the state that the shooter market is in, Rainbow 6 has a lot to catch up on. We haven’t seen action since 2008, and Call of Duty and Battlefield have always been fighting for the top in the genre. So far, Call of Duty has the title, but not by much. These two juggernauts have consumed the majority of the gaming industry. Call of Duty: Black Ops has currently sold at least 23 million copies. That’s the entirety of the Rainbow 6 franchise. Ubisoft Montreal knows that if they want to “return the franchise to prominence” (as Gameinformer put it), they will have to make the Big Bang all over again. One way is obviously to make an awesome single-player campaign with a great story. They have made a great story so far and have always done well (critically) as far as the actual campaign goes. Another way to do this is by appeasing the people who only play online: recapturing the multiplayer crown. Even though it has been 4 years, Ubisoft Montreal is dead set on taking it back. They know they have some stiff competition, but they have a new trick up their sleeves; they are giving you your own HQ. This is a high-tech virtual space that serves as an interactive, fully rendered pregame lobby. From here you can invite friends, sharpen your skills at the firing range, tinker weapon load-outs, launch matches, and even explore squad tactics. You can access these tactics through the sand table. This will be a holographic environment in the multiplayer HQ. From here, you will be able to explore the various maps with or without friends, mark favorite camping spots, make a note to throw a frag through that door before entering, etc.. “You can explore the multiplayer environments without having the stress of competing or having other players shooting at you,” says lead multiplayer designer Simon Larouche.
Either way, Rainbow 6: Patriots will be a new contender in the modern shooter genre. Even if they don’t reclaim the multiplayer crown or be known for having the best single-player campaign, they will give Call of Duty and Battlefield a run for their money. However, the True Patriots will have to wait to start their chaos, as the game does not come out until 2013.