Ubisoft is reversing changes done in recent Rainbow Six: Siege updates that players say “censored” the game.
Earlier this month, Ubisoft announced they would be making several drastic changes to Rainbow Six: Siege in order for them to expand into Asian markets. The planned changes were to better adhere to local regulations that prohibit things like excessive gore, religious symbols, or drugs.
This meant that vast swaths of the game’s aesthetic had to be rebuilt, changing graffiti to no longer include things like skeletons, and removing slot machines and drug paraphernalia from certain maps. Additionally, blood spatter was also removed almost entirely so the game could be as benign as possible.
While there is some debate whether these changes are even necessary for a game to be approved in the Chinese market, Ubisoft made it clear that they wouldn’t make a separate regional build and instead made the changes across all versions of the game.
To say that Siege’s core audience was angry would be an understatement. Ubisoft’s forums erupted in calls of “censorship” and the Rainbow Six: Siege subreddit took a page out of Blizzard’s handbook and accused the French developer of creating an “out of season April fool’s joke.”
The outcry became so intense that Ubisoft is now reversing course, removing the implemented changes in their next patch.
In a statement on the Rainbow Six: Siege blog, Ubisoft said they heard players’ complaints loud and clear.
"We have been following the conversation with our community closely over the past couple of weeks, alongside regular discussions with our internal Ubisoft team, and we want to ensure that the experience for all our players, especially those that have been with us from the beginning, remains as true to the original artistic intent as possible."
What effect this will have on Ubisoft’s planned Asian expansion remains to be seen. The Chinese Ministry of Culture has been known to deny the sale of games that don’t adhere to their guidelines, which means Siege might have a problem in the future.
Then again, destroying your core audience to gain a potentially larger one in a different part of the world isn’t a great business plan. Ubisoft took the safe bet over the risky play here, and we can’t blame them.