Earlier this month, Ubisoft Montreal informed the Rainbow Six Siege community that all versions of the competitive first-person shooter would be censored to comply with Chinese regulations. The community, in turn, informed Ubisoft Montreal that it was extremely upset by that decision. Now, developers say they’re changing course by “reverting all aesthetic changes” made to the game.
The controversy began on Nov. 2, when Ubisoft Montreal issued a short statement about the expansion of Rainbow Six Siege in Asia. China looms large in that market not simply because of its size, but also because its government demands unusual accomodations when it comes to video games. Rather than create a separate version of the game, Ubisoft Montreal said it would instead push those changes out to everyone around the world.
Those changes included the removal of blood spatters and skulls from the game’s textures and art files, as well as the removal of sexualized neon signage and slot machines.
“None of these changes,” it stressed, “will have an impact on gameplay.”
“Having the same people working on a singular global version of the game ensures we only need to do the work once,” the post continued. “In addition, we can guarantee that any future changes are aligned with the global regulations we are working towards.”
“Make a totally uncensored build for everyone outside of China, it’s that simple,” said kungfukai on Reddit. “Valve does it with Dota 2 and CSGO, you guys can do it with R6S.”
Ubisoft Montreal seems to have heard them loud and clear and has vowed that all of the changes will be rolled back.
“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,” the developers said.
The next update, referred to as Year Three Season Four, will see the majority of these changes returned to their original look. The Moroccan-themed expansion will also feature three new characters and a new map. It’s expected to launch in early December on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.
How this will impact a Chinese version of Rainbow Six Siege is not clear. For now, Ubisoft Montreal says that “players in Asian territories can continue enjoying the same game” as everyone else.