Rainbow Six Vegas 2 with Clarence Lim
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is set for release later this very month, and given the success of the original shooter we thought it apt for a sit down with Clarence Lim, Community Developer at Ubisoft.
Why Vegas 2 so soon after the original Rainbow Six Vegas was released?
We have the same team that worked on the first RS Vegas, so we're bringing all of the things we learned from that game and applied them to RSV2. We knew exactly what we wanted to do for the sequel and had a list of features that never made it into the first game. The experience gained by working with the Unreal 3 engine combined with the latest updates, we were able to work efficiently and really optimize the engine for our game.
Was there anything in particular the team were itching to expand or change with number two?
As team leader of Rainbow Six, you have a more refined control over your AI teammates than ever before. Your teammates can be ordered to throw grenades where you want them to, and you can also request a thermal GPS scan from your intel officer, Sharon, which allows you to see heat signatures of nearby enemies on your tactical map.
Working on a sequel allowed us to build upon and polish the RSV gameplay, such as the addition of a Sprint button. This allows you to run from one cover to another and provides you with a small burst of speed sufficient enough to move away from the blast radius of a frag grenade.
The setting obviously helps enhance tension and atmosphere, what are the drawbacks of a confined locale, versus the globe-trotting exploits of other competing titles?
Las Vegas is such a big city and we really only scratched the surface in the first game.
For RSV2, we wanted to create a visually different Las Vegas. That means you will explore the grittier and darker side of Las Vegas rather than the sprawling casinos. It's the Las Vegas you see when watching CSI. The action takes place in dark alleys and industrial rooftops, as well as residential areas.
How has the all-important multiplayer experience been further honed from the first release?
I'm very proud of the efforts we put into the multiplayer portion of this game. We've added 2 new game modes and 13 new maps. The first game mode is called Demolition, part of the Attack & Defend family. It's a team-based adversarial game mode where one team must plant the bomb at one of two target sites while the other team tries to defuse the bomb.
The second new game mode is called Team Leader. Each team is assigned a team leader. As long as the team leader is alive, players of that team can respawn next to him. When the leader dies, the team can no longer respawn. The game can be won in two ways: eliminate the enemy leader and his team, or escort your leader to the extraction point.
We've also added Join in Progress to all of our multiplayer and cooperative game modes. This feature allows players to jump right into the action, without having to wait until the round is finished. This avoids having to wait and gets you into the game, playing, so much quicker.
What can you tell us about your persistent identity in Vegas 2, which we'll be carrying both on and off-line?
The game lets you create your own hero with many different options; male or female, black or white. You evolve throughout the story with this character and continue to evolve him when you play other game modes, online and offline. Your character evolves by earning experience points (XP) and ACES. As your character evolves, you unlock new weapons and equipment. The new gear can be used anytime you play the game, whether in story mode or against other players online.
The ACES is a huge addition to the game that rewards you for playing tactically. You earn ACES points, which unlock new weapons and bonus XP. Therefore, the more you use your tactics, the faster your character will evolve in the game.
There are 3 categories of ACES:
Marksman: Earn marksman points by performing headshots and long range kills. Points in this category go towards unlocking Sniper Rifles and accurate Assault Rifles.
Close-Quarters (CQB): Earn CQB points by neutralizing enemies that are blinded, or killing enemies at short range. These points will unlock shotguns and sub-machine guns.
Assault: Assault points are earned by shooting enemies through cover using the bullet penetration system, as well as killing enemies using explosives. Assault allows you to unlock Light Machine Guns and Assault Rifles.
It's not important what you use to perform the actions, as long as you do the action. For example, you can use any weapon you want to get a headshot, and it will count towards Marksman points. We didn't want to force players to use a particular type of weapon.
With co-op said to be an integral part of Vegas 2, what impact does this have on the design of the game, the levels, etc?
The cooperative Story has been completely rebuilt from the ground up to offer a true, undiluted story experience. In Coop Story all of the dialogs, characters, events and objectives remain intact. The game will actually seamlessly transition from singleplayer to cooperative when you invite a friend to play. Playing cooperatively with a friend has never been this easy. Both players will actually unlock scenes and checkpoints that can then be continued offline at any time.
The story campaign levels were designed with co-op gameplay in mind. Meaning, there will be multiple entry points that will avoid everyone from using the same door or passage way so you can set up better strategies with the AI teammates and your co-op partner.
Will the game looks visually better than the original? Has the PS3 been the "challenge" some developers describe it as?
The game will look visually better. As already mentioned, we have the latest Unreal 3 engine updates and plenty of experience working with it. As for the PS3, it hasn't really been a challenge since this is the second Rainbow Six game we have developed for the PS3.
How important is AI to the overall experience, and how do you think Vegas 2's enemies compare with other titles?
Part of the whole counter-terrorism experience has to do with your interaction with the enemies. The enemy AI are intelligent and certain elite terrorists can actually recognize tactics being used on them and therefore attempt to counteract those tactics. For example, some enemies have access to thermal vision, enabling them to use it to see through smoke grenades. Enemies also used ballistic shields, forcing you to either flank the enemy or precisely take fire at exposed body parts.
Any plans for another confined setting, Vegas-style, with future RS releases? Or are you looking forward to exploring more diverse locations?
RSV2 is the last Rainbow Six game that takes place in Las Vegas. As for future locations, nothing has been planned or confirmed.
Any DLC plans for post-launch?
Nothing has been announced yet, and in fact at this point in time there is no DLC planned for RSV2.
Lastly, how far has the long-running Rainbow Six series come to reach this (high?) point, and where do you see the game heading in the future?
Right now, we are so focused on finishing RSV2, that there are no defined plans for any future Rainbow Six games.