With just four months remaining until the proposed release of Rainbow Six: Siege we finally learned about Ubisoft's plans for the single player and co-op component of the game. Yes: Terrohunt is returning. Rainbow Six: Siege is getting its own take on a solo/co-op campaign with missions and a storyline where you're hunting an enemy called White Mask under the guidance of Six (voiced by Angela Bassett).
On the surface Terrohunt mimics the intensity of multiplayer, even follows the same design principle of no respawns. It is naturally less harsh as far as being penalised for your mistakes (unless you really crank up the difficulty), and should allow newcomers to the series a less stressful introduction to the gameplay beats of Siege, but it was still notable how well the multiplayer experience translated into the cooperative mode.
"We want it to be a different experience, but with the same DNA," says game designer Andrew Witts. "So that's why there's a crescendo right now when you play Disarm Bombs."
The idea is to creative a series of components that when combined with procedurally generated fortifications and enemy spawn points and types as well as advanced AI, means you'll never experience the exact same scenario twice. With 11 locations that can be played either during day or night, each with multiple points of entry, four game modes (where Disarm Bombs was playable at the show), you pick the ingredients and with them in place a scenario is generated.
What's interesting about Disarm Bombs is that it's a mode with multiple scenarios. You begin by selecting your load out - during the demo we saw the developers take a cautious approach, opting for a drone to help locate the first bomb without being detected. We decided to go with breach equipment for our hands-on, which allowed us to blow up walls to create new points of entry.
After you've located the bomb you have to defuse it. It takes 60 seconds and unlike the preceeding attack phase (where enemies have been carefully placed in key locations) the game will spawn a massive wave of enemies that will swarm on your location in an attempt to set the bomb off. Each round this process repeats as there are two bombs to defuse.
One of the main points Ubisoft wanted to convey was how advanced the AI in the game is. But to be honest, outside of the initial scouting there wasn't much time to gauge just how advanced it was. Most engagements with the enemy are over within a second, such is the pace of this very intense tactical shooter. What we did notice is that the AI will throw different challenges at you, especially during the defusing (and defensive) part of Disarm Bombs, when you'll need to cover multiple points of entry.
"The AI is particularly challenging this time around," says Witts as we talk to him following our hands-on session. "They're able to breach. They're able to fortify. They're able to do a lot of stuff, so it's our quest to make a really, really interesting tactical and hard challenging AI for players."
During the 60 seconds it takes to defuse the bomb (you'll trigger this yourself and so you can make preparations) a horde of enemies spawns, assaulting you from all sides - including holes you may have opened up yourself, windows, etc. This idea of being both attacker and defender within the same scenario offers a number of interesting choices for the player. Both in terms of load out, and how you choose to tackle traps and cover as you're on the attack, as you try and keep the defensive element in mind. Do you blow up a wall and enter that way knowing it may very well make the defensive part more challenging?
The horde-like onslaught of the defensive part of Disarm Bombs is something that runs the risk of becoming a bit predictable, but we suspect that in the context of the four other modes and with the variation of maps and bomb locations there should be enough variation overall. And sure at times the AI was on the blink, looking at walls or shooting at nothing, but there's still time to tweak things ahead of release.
One mode that wasn't shown but talked about was the Protect Hostage mode that is similar to the Rescue Hostage PvP mode, although here you'll need to protect the objective from waves of enemies.
Soloing Terrohunt is going to be very difficult, as it should be. After all, it's only in movies they'd ever send a single agent in to deal with multiple terrorists in order to disarm bombs or extract hostages.
"It's kind of this extra difficulty we put in there," says Witts. "So if you want to be a lone wolf and go in and move through the map and try to complete it yourself you can. We're all about team-play, which is why it's never been easier to be matched with other players if you want to play with somebody else, but if you want to play solo it's you versus the AI."
Rainbow Six: Siege is set to arrive on PC, PS4, and Xbox One this October. And there is a closed beta planned to kick off on September 24 - a mere three weeks out from release, but as a result should at least offer Ubisoft a last minute server test.