Ubisoft is changing Rainbow Six Siege so that it can expand in Asian markets, and not everyone is happy about it.
Rainbow Six Siege fans are in an uproar over proposed changes that would allow Ubisoft to sell the game in Asian markets (ie. China). Various in-game aspects, from icons to graffiti on the walls, will be changed in order to appease Asian officials.
Certain parts of the game being changed, such as slot machines or nude women on posters, are explicitly banned in China, while depictions of skulls and blood splatter are being removed to better the game’s chances of approval. Although skeletons and blood aren’t technically illegal to portray in games (according to techinasia.com), the rules surrounding game content are worded extremely broadly, and foreign game developers typically attempt to abide by those broad rules as much as possible.
Additionally, China has a history of using their broadly worded content laws to give domestic developers a leg up. If two games are competing in the same market, with one being domestically developed and the other a foreign import, Chinese officials can point at the inclusion of a skull as something that promotes cults or “superstitions”, getting the foreign game taken down with an order to be revised for the local market.
But having multiple versions of the same game can be an expensive hassle, and Ubisoft is looking to streamline their development. As such, all versions of Rainbow Six Siege will remove skeletons, blood spatter, and drug paraphernalia to remove any possibility that China’s Ministry of Culture would deny the game’s sale within the country.
Rainbow Six fans are raging on Reddit, accusing Ubisoft of censorship just so it can enter into the largest game market on Earth. The uproar became so loud that an Ubisoft community manager admitted that there would in fact still be two separate builds of the game and that the Chinese-only build will be region-locked.
Ubisoft has so far declined to add how many of the changes in their development post will be only for the Chinese market versus the North American/Europe markets.